Preparing for the 2020 grass pollen season

Oct. 2, 2020

The grass pollen season brings a seasonal increase in asthma and hay fever. It also brings the chance of epidemic thunderstorm asthma. Thunderstorm asthma can affect those with asthma or seasonal hay fever. Having both asthma and seasonal hay fever and poorly managed asthma increases the risk further.

Protect yourself this pollen season and be COVID aware.

The best way that those at risk can protect themselves, is to have good control of their asthma and hay fever by having an up-to-date asthma action plan or hay fever treatment plan, learning asthma first aid and avoiding storms during the grass pollen season, including the wind gusts that precede them.

All those with asthma, including those with mild asthma, should see their GP to develop or review their asthma action plan and make sure any associated hay fever is well managed.

Remember hay fever does NOT include symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath or chest tightness, which are asthma symptoms and if present you should see your doctor to make a diagnosis.

Remember only very few people aged 12 years and over should be on a ventolin puffer or equivalent reliever therapy alone. The new updated asthma handbook offers alternative treatment options to those with mild asthma. See your doctor today.

More than ever before, this year it is important to manage any hay fever or asthma symptoms, as these conditions can produce symptoms that are similar to coronavirus (COVID-19) such as a runny nose, cough or shortness of breath. While good management can help prevent these, it is critical to get tested for coronavirus if these are different to your usual symptoms.

People with asthma and hay fever symptoms may also touch their face more frequently, increasing their risk of being infected or transmitting coronavirus if they are not practicing appropriate hand hygiene.

Wearing a face mask, maintaining at least 1.5 metres of physical distance between yourself and others and practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene remains critical as people who are sneezing and coughing from their hay fever or asthma may produce more droplets and, if they have coronavirus, may be more likely to spread it to others.

If you have questions about COVID-19 call the dedicated hotline 1800 675 398 – open 24 hours, 7 days, or visit the DHHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) website at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

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