Hayfever claims Rotorua victims

By news@dailypost.co.nz, Teuila Fuatai

Rotorua's hot summer weather is causing major problems for hayfever sufferers.

Local pharmacist Alwyn Chan of Central Pharmacy Rotorua said about 30 people came in each day with prescriptions for hayfever medication.

"That excludes people coming in to just buy over-the-counter medicine."

Severe symptoms such as sneezing and itchy eyes also place victims at increased risk of crashing while driving, and can cause problems for singletons, an expert warns.

Mr Chan said lots of people seeking relief during the hayfever season, which usually began in late spring and lasted through the summer months, frequented the pharmacy.

But some people might suffer from hay fever through to May - depending on the weather, he said.

Allergy specialist Dr Allen Liang said symptoms caused a multitude of problems.

"If you sneeze a lot, it can be dangerous for the driver and the public as well because you are actually temporarily blinded when you sneeze."

Constant rubbing of itchy eyes can also damage the cornea, he said.

Interactions with the opposite sex may also be threatened.

"For example, whenever somebody came near a highly fragrant female and started to sneeze their head off then they cannot kiss properly," Dr Liang said.

It could also distract people from work and cause sleeplessness.

About 40 per cent of Kiwis are estimated to suffer from the condition, according to the Auckland Allergy Clinic.

Dr Liang said hayfever usually referred to a variety of allergens. People could react to pollen, dust mites and even animal dander - not only hay.

"It should be called allergic rhinitis, which means the allergic reaction of the lining of the nose.

"This actually is a body defence to try to wash out the things that irritate the body."

Sufferers should see their GP and, if needed, a specialist to ease symptoms, he said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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