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Your ultimate guide to allergy treatments

Hayfever, or allergic rhinitis, affects around 18% of people in Australia and New Zealand. If you’re on of them, you’ll be very aware of how unforgettable and frustrating it can be to regularly experience symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, nose and throat, tiredness, puffy, watery eyes and nasal congestion.

Hayfever can actually strike year-round, although it’s most often associated with spring because of the higher concentrations of pollen in the air.

If you're suffering from hayfever, here's our guide to the treatments available at your local pharmacy:

Corticosteroid nasal sprays

Corticosteroid nasal sprays help to reduce nasal inflammation and congestion. They’re recommended for moderate to severe hay fever and are most effective with consistent use.

Corticosteroid nasal sprays do provide some relief within a few hours of use but can take several days to reach their full effect.

If you’re someone who gets year-round hayfever, you can use these products in the long term. This is different from “unblocking” nasal sprays which are designed for short term use. However, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist if you’re using a steroid nasal spray for more than six months.


Antihistamines come to mind first for many people when they think of allergy treatments. They work by blocking the action of the histamine (the compound that your body produces as part of your immune response to an allergen) and can help to soothe allergy symptoms like sneezing, an itchy or runny nose, and red, itchy, puffy, or watery eyes.

They are available as tablets, liquids or capsules, nasal sprays, and eye drops. The eye drops are particularly effective at helping to quickly provide relief for red, itchy, and watery eyes.

To manage mild, intermittent hay fever symptoms, use a non-drowsy antihistamine, such as Claratyne. And remember, particularly for kids, non-drowsy products are better for work and study,

Nasal saline

Nasal saline spray, drops or rinse can help to wash away pollen and other irritants in the nose. They're typically non-medicated, so can be used in conjunction with other treatments. However, if you're using a nasal saline spray or drops with a medicated nasal spray, use the saline first and wait about 10 minutes before using the medication.


Decongestant nasal drops or sprays can help to relieve a stuffy or runny nose by narrowing the blood vessels in your nose.

The method of delivery means that the product goes exactly where you need it, to provide fast-acting relief for up to 12 hours. These sprays are only designed for short-term use (a few days at a time)

Pain relief

If you have pain in your sinus area, it may require treatment with an analgesic such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen. You can take paracetamol and or/ibuprofen with an antihistamine medication.

Remember that some allergy treatments can make you drowsy. If you’re operating machinery or driving, you may need to avoid these products and choose other treatment options instead.

In addition to pharmacy treatments, there are some changes you can make to your everyday routine and lifestyle to help manage and treat your allergy symptoms:

● Download the Pollen Count app for your city, and take extra care to stay indoors on high-risk days.

● Fit the airconditioning systems in your home and car with an air-filtering system.

● Dust your home using a damp cloth, wear a mask when vacuuming and avoid sweeping where possible.

● Remove any plants that trigger hay fever from your home and garden.

● Keep your pets outdoors and particularly out of the bedroom.

● Wash your linen regularly using hot water, and hang sheets out in the sun to dry.

● Minimise the use of perfumes, spray deodorants and insect sprays.

● If you’re experiencing congestion, try inhaling steam from a vaporiser or hot shower.

● Use pillows to raise your head and shoulders in bed while you sleep.

It’s important to remember that symptoms and their severity can significantly vary from person to person, so it’s a good idea to consult your doctor or speak to your local Capital Chemist pharmacist to get personalised advice.

You may also be interested in the following:

Kids Allergy Care
Is it allergies or a cold?


Acknowledgement of Country

Capital Chemist acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live and gather as employees, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.