Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an allergic reaction to environmental allergens. It is very common and often occurs during spring, when there is many airborne pollens, dust, moulds and animal hair particles in the air, but some individuals can devlop hay fever at any time of the year. This is influenced by exposure to a triggering allergen that an an individual has developed a sensitivity too. Farmers are at increased risk of hay fever as their work environments produces pollens, dust, moulds and animal hair.
Common symptoms of hay fever include:
- Blocked or runny nose
- Itchy ears, nose and throat
- Itchy red watery eyes
When to get help
Sometimes hay fever will clear up without treatment. If it doesn’t you should seek help if:
- Your hay fever makes it hard for you to concentrate, work or sleep
- You feel tired, miserable and unwell
- You start producing thick green mucus. This could indicate you have sinusitis (an infection in your sinuses) which needs treatment
Where to get help
You can ask your local pharmacist or doctor for medication. Make sure you tell them the type of work you do on the farm. Some hay fever medications can make you drowsy and increase the risk of accidents and injury when operating farm machinery or driving!
- Reduce exposure to dust and pollens.
- Wear an Australian Standards compliant P2 dust mask if you are working in a dusty environment or with mouldy organic materials such as hay, grain or silage.
- When slashing or mowing large dry areas of grass on a tractor with no cabin – try to avoid the dust load or wearing a P2 dust mask.
- Ensure the P2 dust mask has two straps and fits correctly. The fit of the dust mask is essential, as the presence of facial hair and beards can reduce the effectiveness of the mask.
- Hose down dusty areas such as sheep or cattle yards prior to mustering stock to reduce the amount of dust.
- To purchase a P2 dust mask visit our safety shop.
References used for this topic page
Last updated: 25th January, 2018