It’s wonderful to see spring’s changes to the trees and scenery — but I definitely get the itchy eyes and sneezing that goes along with it. Yes, it’s hayfever season yet again. Otherwise known as allergic rhinitis, this is usually a mild problem for people, but many can get severe symptoms and need to take daily medicines throughout the season.
Fortunately, a couple medicines which are over the counter are good for almost everyone’s symptoms: usually Clarityn (generic loratidine) as a once-a-day pill is enough. The older, more drowsy pills such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) may work even better, but they only last about 6 hours.
Those of you who take these and still have problems should definitely talk to your doctor; the once-a-day nasal sprays such as Flonase and Rhinocort are extremely effective but need a prescription.
And don’t forget the simple technique of nasal rinsing! Washing your nose twice a day with a salt water solution can dramatically reduce the symptoms for many.
Those of you here in Beijing for the first spring are already noticing all the fluffy pollen in the air. That’s known as catkin, which is the flower of the very common willows and poplars around Beijing. It can be quite dramatic and cause coughing and eye irritation. But as for its allergic (hayfever) properties, I don’t see many more hayfever people coming into my clinic during the peak days of catkin.
I’ve prepared a slide show on the basics of hayfever for Beijingers; you can watch it full screen below without downloading.
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