See Katelaris and Davies “Hay fever survival guide: why you have it and how to treat it”

Also see the Australian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy information for patients, consumers and carers “Pollen Allergy”

Antihistamines can be taken as a first-line treatment for those with mild or occasional hay fever. They are also safe to use in the long term. Opt for the newer, non-sedating varieties of antihistamines. The older drugs, which are still available, cause drowsiness and have been shown to contribute to workplace accidents in adults and impaired learning in children.

Antihistamines in general are good for itching, sneezing and watering symptoms, but do not relieve nasal blockage very well. Decongestant tablets and sprays relieve these symptoms but do not resolve the underlying inflammation. Overuse of decongestant nasal sprays can lead to longer-term problems with nasal blockage.

“For people with moderate to severe and persistent symptoms of hay fever, the most effective medications are the intranasal steroid sprays. These sprays have a “preventative” action and are most effective when use begins before the pollen season. They have also been shown to reduce allergic eye symptoms.”

“For people with severe and prolonged symptoms or who can’t gain adequate control with available medications, allergen-specific immunotherapy is available. This should be prescribed by an allergy specialist who determines the correct “vaccine” for the therapy. The immunotherapy program may extend over three to four years and is the only therapy that can provide long-lived benefit.

If you suffer from regular hay fever symptoms and medications don’t seem to be working, talk to your doctor. They can help guide you to the safest and most effective treatment option.”