Understanding Allergic Rhinitis (Hayfever) and Asthma

If you’re confused about the difference between allergies and asthma, you’re not alone. The two are often related, have similar symptoms and can be triggered by the same things.


So how do you know whether you have allergies, asthma, or both?

Well, first and foremost, see your doctor. Your GP can run tests to ensure your diagnosis is an accurate one.

If you do happen to suffer from both allergies and asthma, it’s especially important, as effective treatment for allergic rhinitis can help to keep your asthma under control. Your pharmacist can best assist in managing your symptoms and treatments once you know what you’re dealing with.


What exactly is allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis is a medical condition caused by allergy to substances breathed in the air (allergens) including: house dust mites, pets, pollens, moulds and cockroaches. Allergic rhinitis is commonly known as hayfever when it occurs seasonally – during spring and summer, when pollen counts are highest.

Most people with allergic rhinitis have a blocked or runny nose. Other symptoms may include: (and you may not have all of these)

  • itchy, runny or blocked nose
  • itchy or watery eyes
  • sneezing
  • frequent sore throats
  • breathing through the mouth
  • snoring, and more.


Can allergic rhinitis make asthma worse?

It may not make it worse, but it can certainly make it harder to control. The things that trigger your asthma may also trigger your allergies – allergens, cold air, cigarette smoke – keeping your allergies under control may reduce the severity of an asthma attack, and help your lungs to work better.


Still confused? Don’t despair.

Your GP and your UFS pharmacist will have all the best advice and be able to help you manage your allergies and asthma. You can also find up-to-date, helpful information online by visiting these websites: www.nationalasthma.org.au, www.asthmaaustralia.org.au and www.allergy.org.au


Fast facts:

  • Allergy and asthma are common
  • Allergy affects around 20% of the population.
  • Asthma affects around 10% of the population.
  • Around 80% of people with asthma test positive for allergies.


At a glance:

Common triggers for asthma include:

  • Allergens
  • Infections
  • Exercise
  • Cold air
  • Changes in temperature
  • Cigarette smoke.


Source: www.allergy.org.au