Pharmacies see influx of hayfever sufferers

MICHELLE SUTTON
Last updated 13:00 21/12/2012

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Hayfever sufferers are turning to honey, natural remedies and medicine as they seek relief.

Pharmacies told the Nelson Mail they have seen an influx of customers sneezing and suffering irritated eyes and runny noses in the past month.

However, the severity of this year's hay season varies depending on the individual - some say it is the worst ever while others say it is slightly milder.

At Nelson's Unichem Pharmacy retail manager Renata Schrader said she thought the season was not so bad this year. Her own hayfever was under control and customer complaints seemed no worse than previous years.

"My prevention is working. I'm taking high doses of Vitamin C ... and I've eaten quite a bit of honey," she said responding to another theory that local honey built immunity to local pollen.

"Normally I'm taking an antihistamine day and night, but this year I haven't taken any."

However, pharmacy medication was the store's biggest seller and the normal remedy for most, followed by homeopath remedies then vitamins, Mrs Schrader said.

On the other hand, Unichem counter manager Jennifer Hatton said this year was the worst hayfever season she had experienced in Nelson in the past three years.

Pharmacist Jason Wright, of Nelson's Prices Pharmacy, said hayfever seemed to be a lot worse this year.

"In the last few weeks the worst of allergies have picked up, especially lot of eye issues for young kids."

As a sufferer himself, he used pharmacy medicine along with preventative treatment such as nasal spray.

There were also theories on desensitisation which were administered by health professionals and involved exposing a person to small doses of the allergy until they built up immunity, Mr Wright said.

There was also an in-store homeopath offering natural remedies such as horseradish, which acted as a decongestant, garlic and vitamin C.

Golden Bay Pharmacy manager Wouter de Maat said hayfever medication started flying off the shelves about a month ago, but he expected that at this time of year, about the same time as the wattle trees in the area began to flower.

"People say it's worse every year ... certainly the pollen is being blown around out there at the moment, making it bad but it's the same each year," he said.

Motueka's Unichem Pharmacy store manager Trish Ross said hayfever sufferers had been hit hardest in the past few weeks when there had been dry weather.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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