It’s hay fever season – here is how to control your symptoms

Spring may be one of the most beautiful times of the year, but the season can also be a difficult time for many hay fever sufferers.

Allergic Rhinitis (commonly known as hay fever) affects nearly 20% of people in Australia. In Victoria, hay fever is mainly caused by the nose and or eyes coming into contact with environmental allergens such as pollens, dust mites and animal dander.

Hay fever can occur year-round or may start or worsen at a particular time of the year, like springtime. Symptoms such as itchy ears and throat, a runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes can impact your day and make it uncomfortable to wear necessary PPE.

Your sleep can also be affected by hay fever, increasing tiredness and affecting concentration.

During springtime, you can also be at risk for thunderstorm asthma if you suffer from hay fever and asthma. If you’re vulnerable to thunderstorm asthma, it’s recommended you see a doctor and have an appropriate asthma action plan in place and rescue medications on hand.

Here are some tips on how to control your hay fever symptoms:

  1. For springtime hay fever, it is best to start using nasal steroid spray now. These can be found over the counter at your pharmacy.
  2. Use a saltwater rinse. For all-year-round hay fever, do this rinse in the morning, and for seasonal hay fever, do this in the evening.
  3. Use non-sedative antihistamines when symptomatic.
  4. Check the Melbourne Pollen Count App, which will alert you to the pollen count for the day.
  5. On high pollen count days, it’s recommended you stay indoors, wear sunglasses outside, keep your windows closed in your car and home and use recirculated air conditioning in your car and at home.

Employee Allergy Clinic

To assist employees who suffer from allergies such as hay fever, Monash Health offers a free clinic for employees to help them in controlling their symptoms.

For more information about the clinic and the booking process, visit the Employee Allergy Clinic page.

Allergies vs COVID

COVID-19 and seasonal allergies have many similar signs and symptoms, such as a runny nose. Understanding the differences in symptoms is important to ensure they are treated effectively.

To help, we’ve prepared a symptom checklist below to identify your symptoms and help determine what health issue you may be suffering from.

It’s important to consider whether your symptoms are the same as what you typically experience with seasonal allergies such as hay fever.

If in doubt, please take a COVID Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). If symptoms worsen, please take a RAT or a PCR Test.


  • Itchy nose, eyes, mouth or inner ear
  • Glands are not swollen
  • Do not have aches, pains or fever
  • Symptoms respond to antihistamines
  • Allergy symptoms tend to persist unless treated


  • Fever and or muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or diarrhea


Approved by Susan Brown.

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