Spring is in the air

Dr Aaron Chambers and Dr Dan Chambers from Allergy First Clinic are the self-confessed allergy brothers.

General Practitioner Aaron knows a thing or two about why many of us become a snotty mess during spring. Specialist Thoracic Physician Dan is the go-to for asthma diagnosis, treatment and management.

Spring is commonly associated with hay fever, but Aaron says while the symptoms may be exacerbated in spring, hay fever is present all year round. Pollen is the most well-known cause of hay fever, but dust mites are everywhere all year and the number one cause of allergic hay fever reaction. 

Another misconception that Aaron wants hay fever sufferers to know is that flowers, in particularly the wattle, are not the culprit. The real hay fever offender is actually grass.

“Airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mite, mould and animal hair are common causes of hay fever symptoms,” Dr Aaron Chambers said.

“During spring, airborne pollen is typically responsible for seasonal hay fever, with grass pollen being the most common culprit.”

Identifying and managing symptoms of hay fever is simple.

“Don’t do expensive tests – a skin prick test is all you need,” he said.

“It’s cheap, easy and painless and we can usually tell what the allergy is as soon as a person comes in.” 

Those of us who suffer from hay fever, particularly in the spring months, only know to pop an antihistamine and carry on. According to Aaron there are also other treatments available. Nasal cortisone and desensitisation are easy ways to treat hay fever symptoms.

Desensitisation can often provide a cure for hay fever and sometimes asthma symptoms. Administered by a doctor, the procedure involves putting a small amount of a pure substance that is the source of an allergic reaction.     

While asthma is not usually considered a seasonal condition, weather and seasonal changes can affect the severity of an asthma sufferer’s symptoms.

“The most common allergens which cause seasonal asthma is pollen, especially grass pollens,” Dr Dan Chambers said.

“'Thunderstorm asthma' is caused by a sudden release of large amounts of pollen into the atmosphere during spring thunderstorms.”

Many people also don’t recognise asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. Undiagnosed asthma can lead to an increase in symptom flare ups and fatal asthma attacks.

Dr Dan said it was often the case that asthma sufferers not finding relief for their symptoms were using their medication incorrectly.

“It is almost impossible to avoid the inhaled allergens which cause asthma, so the first step in improving asthma control is to ensure that you are taking your asthma inhalers correctly and in the correct dose,” he said.