Hay fever used to mainly occur for most in Spring and then subside for most of the year. Yet over the past few years here in Victoria, there’s been a steady rise in the severity and longevity of hay fever symptoms. Even people who’ve never suffered allergies are beginning to show symptoms, so why is this? Well there are many factors involved. With the recent break in the drought there’s been a steady increase in rainfall and warm weather, which means there’s a lot more plant growth. Combined with the floods up north and the wind blowing all that accumulated pollen down south, there is a vast increase in irritants floating in the air.  As a result, this can cause chronic inflammation of the sinus cavity and mucosal lining, leading to prolonged hay fever symptoms.  While antihistamines can provide temporary relief, they are not a good long term solution to live off everyday all year long.  A simple alternative is to use nasal irrigation on a daily basis. This involves either using saline spray (from the chemist), or a Neti Pot.  Whilst I prefer the latter option- both provide a means to physically flush out the pollens and allergens which are directly irritating the sinuses.  Another option of course is acupuncture, which is proven very effective in reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system to fight off environmental influences.  Combining these two methods can help provide long term relief for chronic hay fever sufferers.  As we can all see the weather forecasts are showing plenty of rain, so relief isn’t likely to be here any time soon.