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How to cope with the sneezing season

Many people refer to Spring as the sneezing season, and with good reason. Those who suffer from allergies get a good long break from their symptoms during the cold winter months, and then, as soon as Spring hits the air, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) starts to raise its nasty head again.

Let’s face it, the symptoms of Spring hay fever are not pretty. They range from continuous sneezing to nasal congestion, from watery and itchy eyes to a dreadful dry mouth and scratchy throat. In extreme cases, one could also experience wheezing and have difficulty breathing.

Children, especially those between 12 and 17 years of age are especially susceptible to seasonal allergies and for those who also suffer from asthma, Spring can spell complete disaster.


Allergies are caused by allergens. These minuscule substances are harmless BUT our body tries to fight them off. In fact, hay fever symptoms are an abnormal immune reaction to these allergens. One of the most common allergens is pollen, which is released by trees and grasses, especially during Spring. Pollen is released in the form of powdery particles that are easily inhaled from the air. Other allergens come in the form of dust, ragweed, and mould spores.

In most cases, symptoms are so typical that doctors do not need to run any tests to confirm the diagnosis of hay fever. However, if symptoms do not subside with common medication, and especially if they cause severe breathing problems, finding out what exactly you are allergic to is a must. Severe allergies can have devastating and long-term effects and might need more specific medication.



Treatments used to alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms vary. The most common ones are oral antihistamines that work by suppressing a chemical that is produced by our bodies which triggers symptoms such as sneezing and coughing. This chemical is called histamine, and oral antihistamines aim to subdue it.

2. NASAL SPRAYS Other medications include nasal decongestants that can usually be bought over the counter without a prescription. Nasal decongestants work by causing the blood vessels in the nostrils to shrink thus offering short term but much welcome relief.


Nasal steroid sprays and eye drops are additional options that help with seasonal allergies. Nasal steroid sprays can only be bought with a prescription, and they work by reducing swelling and the overproduction of mucus in the nasal passages. Eye drops work in a similar way - by combining a mast cell inhibitor with an antihistamine, thus reducing swollen, itchy, and watery eyes.


As any hay fever sufferer will tell you, there’s very little one can do to avoid allergens entirely, especially in Spring, however, there are some precautions that one can take, to alleviate the situation.

1. KNOW YOUR POLLEN Pollen is very light and powdery, which means that wind can carry it for long distances. The amount of pollen in the air changes according to season and geographic area. This website gives a daily indication of the pollen count in Malta. If you are particularly susceptible to seasonal allergies, knowing when to avoid the outdoors could be useful.

2. PURIFY YOUR AIR Air purifiers can be of great help because they remove airborne particles from your atmosphere. By using an air purifier and keeping your windows shut you could reduce your exposure to the minimum.


Closing access to airborne allergens is probably the most effective way of avoiding them. Keep windows closed whenever possible, especially whilst driving. You should also shut the vents to avoid allergens reaching you as much as possible.

4. SUCK IT UP And by that, we mean vacuum as often as possible. By removing pollen and other allergens such as dust and dander from your home, you’ll be reducing your exposure to them.

5. GO TO BED CLEAN Make sure to shower before you go to bed because whenever you’re outdoors allergens settle on your hair and your clothes. By removing them before going to bed, you avoid a night’s long exposure to them.

6. HANG CLOTHES INDOORS OR USE A CLOTHES DRYER During high allergy season avoid drying your clothes outdoors. Pollen and other allergens very easily land and settle in fibres only to trigger your symptoms as soon as you wear your favourite t-shirt.

Although there is no cure for seasonal allergies and hay fever, you don’t have to live with the symptoms. Speak to your medical practitioner today for more information.

In the meantime, do not neglect your overall health as this will determine your quality of life. Regular medical and blood screening is key for such diagnosis and we recommend annual screening tests for effective diagnosis to ensure that you can maintain your quality of life. If you would like information contact us today on +356 21221355, +356 9985 2404 or send an email on

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