What is Australian Hay Fever that's in the news, and how is it treated? An explainer

Early on Sunday morning, spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev, 61, announced in Australia that he was down with hay fever.

"Believe me, the damn thing can really knock you down… But thanks to modern medicine, despite the Australian hay fever, I am still able to perform all that is expected of me," said the founder of the Isha Foundation, in a three-minute video from Melbourne.

Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, fungal spores, dust, mites, animal dander or pollution. It affects the inner lining of the nose and produces symptoms like tiredness, runny or blocked nose, persistent sneezing, itchiness in the throat and watery eyes. Often, the symptoms are so pronounced that it’s hard to get through business as usual.

 What is Australian Hay Fever thats in the news, and how is it treated? An explainer

Representational image. News18

"Nasal corticosteroids can provide relief for a runny, itchy or swollen nose. Sneezing and runny nose can be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. And for a stuffy nose, decongestants can help patients breathe easier," said Dr Archana Nirula, medical officer, myUpchar.com. "As a rule, though, you should talk to your doctor before taking any of these. They can also prescribe blood tests and skin tests to help you identify the allergens that make you sick," Nirula added.

Allergies are the body’s abnormal reaction to otherwise harmless substances like pollen. The world over, the incidence of allergies is rising. According to a study published in the International Journal of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery in January 2017, allergic diseases are now among the top 10 reasons for doctors’ visits globally. In India, 20 to 30 percent of the population suffers from at least one allergic disease — allergic rhinitis being the most common. In some cases, allergic rhinitis can exacerbate conditions like asthma, sinusitis and nasal polyps. It has also been associated with middle ear infection.

While diet and exercise can’t cure an allergy, health practitioners say that healthier people cope better when allergens do get to them. They advise lots of fluids and a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals and Omega 3 fatty acids to fight the infection and build up the body’s immunity — something the Sadhguru also talks about in his video.

“We need a culture of health,” he said. “When we get an infection from the outside, it is an aggression by another organism for which we need medical help. But 70 percent of the world’s ailments are manufactured within us — the chronic ailments. For this, one has to develop a culture of health: the way we sit, the way we work, the way we breathe, the way we eat, the way we experience our life here determines how healthy we are. It is very important (that) we develop a culture of health.”

This article is brought to you by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest online resource for verified medical information. Visit www.myupchar.com/en for more articles

Updated Date: Aug 09, 2019 15:33:44 IST