Hayfever symptoms on the rise

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 05:00 01/01/2014

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Sneezy season is upon us and Timaru residents are trying to combat those running noses.

Pharmacies are selling an increasing amount of antihistamine at this time of year, as well as more of the products people are buying to prevent hayfever symptoms.

Unichem Timaru pharmacist Amy Gilbert said people were finding they needed to add something else like eyedrops or nose spray on top of the daily tablets.

She said the pharmacy was seeing new hayfever sufferers and needed to convince people that the symptoms they were suffering were in fact hayfever rather than a common cold.

The symptoms for hayfever are typically sneezing, an itchy palate, runny or blocked nose, tiredness, headaches, and sinus pain, although they can vary from person to person.

The pharmacist at Ashbury Pharmacy, Mohamed Osman, said it was common for people to get hayfever at this time of year with constant changes in the weather. An increase in pollen in the air could also be a factor.

Although it appears to be a regular pollen season, retired botanist and honorary researcher at Massey University Dr David Fountain said it was probably heavier in South Canterbury regions because of higher agricultural production after last year's drought.

According to the MetService pollen forecast, the most common pollens in the air at the moment were grass and the weeds nettle and plantain.

However, there was good news for hayfever sufferers.

Dr Fountain said that the pollen season was beginning to tail off as grass went to seed and pollen production was gone.

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