What you need to know about hay fever and sinusitis

Many Australians live with hay fever and sinusitis, but a simple solution may be closer than you think.

About 4.6 million1 Aussies live with hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis), while at least 1.9 million2 live with sinusitis.

While that’s a lot of us, you may still be confused about these conditions, so here are some important things to know.

The lowdown on hay fever

In case you were wondering, hay fever isn’t caused by hay and doesn’t cause a fever!

Hay fever is an allergic response from your immune system that causes sneezing, runny nose and watery, itchy eyes. It can be triggered by seasonal allergens such as grass and pollens or year-round triggers such as dust mites and animal fur.3

Symptoms of hay fever can range in severity.

The lowdown on sinusitis

Sinusitis is the inflammation of tissue (known as sinuses) that lines the hollow spaces within your cheekbones, around your eyes and behind your nose. It can occur following a viral cold and happens when narrow tubes connecting the sinuses to the nose become blocked.4

There are a variety of common symptoms associated with sinusitis.5

Sinusitis can sometimes be a long-term condition, as a complication of allergies or nose structural problems.6

How to find relief

To reduce symptoms of hay fever, limit your exposure to known allergens and if pollen is the trigger, try and stay indoors, especially during high pollen counts, windy conditions or after thunderstorms. Wearing sunglasses and showering after being outside can also help.7

Check the Pollen Forecast Network for the forecast of pollen in your area.

If you suffer from sinusitis, it’s important to treat underlying problems, such as allergies, which can prevent the need for further support. Steam inhalation can also help. This involves using a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head, breathing in the steam to thin the mucus so it drains more easily.8

And, a final top tip: Keeping your nasal cavities clear of mucus and allergens using nasal irrigation is an age-old technique that doesn’t require medication.9

Using NeilMed’s Sinus Rinse Starter Kit

NeilMed’s Sinus Rinse Starter Kit has 10 sachets to help alleviate symptoms of sinusitis and allergic rhinitis.

To use, simply fill the supplied bottle with cool, filtered or previously boiled water and add the buffering powder (it’s cleverly buffered so there’s no stinging or burning sensation) from the sachet.

You may warm the water in a microwave in increments of five to 10 seconds to avoid overheating the water, damaging the device or scalding your nasal passage.

Then, over a basin or sink, keeping your mouth open and without holding your breath, apply the tip of the nozzle to one nostril, tilt your head sideways slightly and squeeze softly until solution flows freely from the other nostril.

Once you have used half, change to the other nostril and repeat, before blowing your nose gently. Easy, huh?

Next time you’re feeling the pressure, remember: A little rinse can make a big difference!

*This post is brought to you by NeilMed Sinus Rinse Starter Kit. Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your doctor or health care professional.

1 Parliament of Australia, retrieved June 2024 from https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Health_Aged_Care_and_Sport/Allergiesandanaphylaxis/Report/section?id=committees%2Freportrep%2F024422%2F72559#
2 Morcom et al, 2016, RACGP, Australian Family Physician, Volume 45, Issue 6, June 2016, Sinusitis, retrieved June 2024 from https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2016/june/sinusitis
3 Healthdirect, Hay fever (allergic rhinitis), retrieved June 2024 from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hay-fever
4 ASCIA, sinusitis and Allergy Frequently Asked Questions, retrieved June 2024 from https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever-and-sinusitis/sinusitis-and-allergy#
5 Better Health Channel, Sinusitis, retrieved June 2024 from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/sinusitis
6 Healthdirect, Sinusitis, retrieved June 2024 from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/sinusitis
7 Better Health Channel, Hay fever, retrieved June 2024 from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hay-fever
8 ASCIA, Sinusitis and Allergy Frequently Asked Questions, retrieved June 2024 from https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever-and-sinusitis/sinusitis-and-allergy#
9 Jin et al, 2023, Asia Pacific Allergy, 13(4): 187-198, retrieved June 2024 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10715746/