Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever is a common condition affecting around 18% of individuals in Australia during spring and summer. Despite its name, hay fever is not caused by hay and does not result in a fever. Instead it is caused by the noses and or eyes coming into contact with environmental allergens such as pollen, dust mites and animal dander.
Hay fever symptoms vary between individuals and symptoms may be worse some years than others.
Common symptoms include:
Although hay fever cannot be cured by conventional western medicine, there are effective methods to improve the symptoms and provide some relief. Treatment of hay fever can include medications such as:
Please see your medical practitioner.
 Australiasian society of clinical immunology and allergy (2019, April) Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever) allergy.org.au/patients/allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever-and-sinusitis/allergic-rhinitis-or-hay-fever
 Health Direct (2019, June) Hay fever symptoms healthdirect.gov.au/hay-fever-symptoms
 Healthy WA – Department of Health. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/F_I/Hay-fever-allergic-rhinitis
Allergies are the body’s reaction to substances in the environment which are not harmless. That is, the body overreacting or being hyperactive to an allergen or ‘trigger’ that is ‘typically’ harmless.
Allergies are very common with 1 in 5 people in Australia experiencing an allergy. Typical allergens include foods such as:
Symptoms of allergies depend on the allergy but may include the following:
Regular western medical treatment of allergies typically involves medications such as antihistamines, intranasal cortiocosteroid nasal sprays (INCS) or a combination of both. In cases where symptoms are not relieved, referral to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist may be useful for further investigation and advice.
 Queensland Health (2018, April) What are allergies and why do they develop? health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/what-are-allergies-develop-diagnosis-testing-treatment
 Health Direct (2014, August) Allergies and hypersensitivities healthdirect.gov.au/allergies-and-hypersensitivities
 Better Health Channel (2017, April) Allergies explained betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/allergies
 Australasian society of clinical immunology and allergy (2019, May) What is Allergy? allergy.org.au/patients/about-allergy/what-is-allergy
Asthma is a common and chronic medical inflammatory condition affecting the airways, in some people from time to time, while more frequently in others. It is relatively common in children. Due to the inflammation of the airways, it results in narrow airways causing periods of:
The precise cause of asthma is unknown but the strongest risk factors for developing asthma are thought to be from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. These environmental factors can include:
Although there is no cure for asthma, it can be well controlled with prescription medication. There are two main types of asthma medications:
1. Relievers. This acts to quickly relax the muscles around the airways causing the airways to open up to make it easier to breathe
2. Preventers. Taken daily and acts to reduce inflammation inside the airways
 National Asthma Council Australia (2019, March) What is asthma? nationalasthma.org.au/understanding-asthma/what-is-asthma
 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Asthma nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma
 World Health Organisation (2017, August) Asthma who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma
 Health Direct (2018, June) Asthma healthdirect.gov.au/asthma
 Better Health Victoria (2018, August) Asthma explained betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/asthma
Bronchitis refers to the inflammation in the major airways (the bronchial tubes) of the lungs. Bronchitis commonly affects both males and females and is predominant during winter seasons (particularly during influenza (“flu”) outbreaks. The most common cause of bronchitis is through a viral infection but it can also be caused by environmental factors such as smoke and air pollution, bacterial infections or originate from other lung conditions such as asthma.
Symptoms of bronchitis include:
As most bronchitis cases are caused by a virus, medicines such as antibiotics are not needed. Furthermore, as it is generally a viral infection, there are no specific conventional medical treatments for bronchitis. Medical professionals recommend drinking plenty of fluids, rest and may advise to take pain relievers to ease the symptoms.
 Lung Foundation Australia (2018, August) Acute Bronchitis. lungfoundation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Factsheet-Acute-Bronchitis-Aug2018.pdf
 Health Direct (2017, December) Bronchitis. healthdirect.gov.au/bronchitis
 Better Health Channel (2012, July) Bronchiolitis. betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/bronchiolitis
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic condition primarily affecting the lungs and digestive system. Due to a malfunction in the exocrine system (the system responsible for producing sweat, tears, saliva and mucus), people affected with CF produce abnormal amounts of thick and sticky mucus within the lungs, airways and digestive system. This leads to common symptoms such as:
In Australia, a baby is born with CF every four days.
Although there is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis, therapies available focus on improving the quality of life as well as managing symptoms. This includes salt and vitamin supplements, exercise, daily physiotherapy, enzyme replacement to aid with digestion, aerosol mist inhalations to help open the airways and inhaled medications to help breakdown and clear the mucus in the lungs.
Cystic Fibrosis Australia. What is CF? cysticfibrosis.org.au/about-cf/what-is-cf
 Better Health Channel (2019, April). Cystic fibrosis (CF) betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cystic-fibrosis-cf
 Healthy WA. Cystic fibrosis. healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Cystic-fibrosis
Our bodies produce a certain amount of energy each day to enable normal cellular body functions to be carried out. One critical function performed is by the immune system in fighting off ‘foreign invaders’ such as viral, bacteria, fungal and yeast infections.
Multiple external influences, such as rapid and dramatic temperature changes may affect our immune systems. This can weaken the body and make us more susceptible to colds and flu. External chemicals and pollution of our modern society, can weaken the immune system because vital body energy is used to metabolize and process these toxins that we inhale, eat, drink and in some cases, inject.
Influenza ‘Flu’ viruses are prevented (in theory) by vaccination. This often fails as the virus which we are currently dealing with have morphed and the vaccinations are for last seasons’ influenza virus. Overall, only less than 30% of all people vaccinated have some protection each season.
Antibiotics are not helpful in these cases as they only act against bacterial infections, and the overuse of antibiotics causes an increase in the strength of the viruses, making it dangerous for our entire society if there is increase antibiotic resistance of infections.
Influenza and respiratory tract infections may be treated by your medical practitioner with conservative and supportive management.
Pleuritis (also known as pleurisy) is a chest pain condition caused by inflammation of the tissues that separate your lungs from your chest wall. Our lungs are covered by a thin membrane called the visceral pleura and our inner wall of the chest is lined by the parietal pleura. Between the visceral and parietal pleura, there is a thin layer of fluid which allows the lungs to slide across one another in order to expand and contact during breathing.
In pleurisy, where there is inflammation of the pleura, there is a loss of this smooth sliding movement, resulting in a sharp chest pain that is worse with deep breathing and coughing. Common signs and symptoms of pleurisy may include:
Typically, viral infections cause pleurisy via infection in the lungs but other causes may include:
It is important your health care professional identifies the source of inflammation in order to determine the correct and most suitable treatment. Over-the-counter medicines may be taken under advice from your medical practitioner to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. In cases where bacterial infections are causing pleurisy, antibiotics may be prescribed.
 Better Health Channel (May,2018) Pleurisy betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/pleurisy
 Health Direct (February, 2019) Pleurisy healthdirect.gov.au/pleurisy
 Mayo Clinic (January, 2020) Pleurisy mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pleurisy/symptoms-causes/syc-20351863
 Johnson (October 2018) Pleurisy healthline.com/health/pleurisy#symptoms
Sarcoidosis is a condition in which abnormal formulation of cells appear in the body causing lumps. The most commonly affected areas are the:
Symptoms vary greatly depending on the organ. However, if you do have symptoms you may experience:
Although the exact cause of this disease is unknown, it is believed that exposure to an infection, chemicals or dust may be possible triggers. In some cases, it may be hereditary
While most people recover within1-3 years from the first onset of the disease, in some cases the disease could last for years leading to serious problems such as organ damage.
Sarcoidosis can be a difficult disease to diagnose and are usually detected when X-ray or checkups are performed for other reasons. If suspected, Professor Yoland Lim Health Care doctors will be able to arrange for relevant tests. Although there is no known cure, some treatments are proven to relieve the symptoms associated with this disease. According to research performed by The Institute for Traditional Medicine, acupuncture assists in resolving inflammation through drainage of excess phlegm.
 Health Direct (2019, February) Sarcoidosis. healthdirect.gov.au/sarcoidosis
 Lung Foundation Australia lungfoundation.com.au/
 Institute for Traditional Medicine. itmonline.org/
Sinuses are hollow cavities found behind the eyes, in the forehead and cheeks that connect with the nasal cavities (via narrow channels known as ostia) to help moisturise the inside of the nose by producing mucus. Sinuses also function to warm and filter the air in the nasal cavity as well as help vocalise certain sounds.
Problems can occur when there is production of too much mucus or when there is swelling of the lining of the sinuses. In these cases, often due to allergy, colds or polyps, the sinuses become blocked and the environment becomes favourable for bacteria growth. This can then lead to what is known as sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).
Sinusitis or sinus infection is a common condition typically confused with and mistaken as a cold. This is because many of the symptoms in sinusitis and a cold overlap.
Symptoms of sinusitis include:
It is important to note that sinusitis is commonly caused by bacteria whereas colds are caused by viral infections. Regular medical treatment will vary between the two conditions. As sinusitis is classified by how long it lasts (acute and chronic), treatment typically begins with simple remedies such as bathing nasal passages daily, drinking lots of water, inhaling steam and sleeping with your head elevated. Antibiotics may be prescribed if preventive drainage strategies are not helping. If symptoms persist or linger, evaluation by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist is recommended.
 Australasian society of clinical immunology and allergy (2019, May) Sinusitis and Allergy allergy.org.au/patients/allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever-and-sinusitis/sinusitis-and-allergy
 Better Health Channel (2011, June) Sinusitis betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/sinusitis
 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Sinus Infection acaai.org/allergies/types/sinus-infection
 NHS (2017, December) Sinusitis (sinus infection) nhs.uk/conditions/sinusitis-sinus-infection/
 Harvard Medical School (2020, January) What to do about sinusitis health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/what_to_do_about_sinusitis
Snoring is common with around 20% of the population snoring at night. With a greater prevalence in men than women, snoring isn’t physically harmful to the person but may be irritating to anyone kept awake by the noise. However it may be a sign, or related to underlying medical conditions.
Snoring occurs when the pharynx (part of your throat) vibrates due to the muscles holding the pharynx open relaxing when you sleep.
Some factors that contribute to snoring are:
There are multiple strategies to treat snoring. Self help strategies and lifestyle changes can include avoiding alcohol closer to sleeping, treating allergies, losing weight, increasing exercise and sleeping on your side. If self help solutions are not effective, there are medical options available. One type of treatment is called Mandibular Advancement Splint, post review by a registered specialist orthodontist.
Management aims to widen the airways by pushing the lower jaw forward.
Other procedures recommended by health care professionals may include:
 Better Health Channel (2014, August) Snoring betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/snoring
 Sleep Health Foundation (2011, October) Snoring sleephealthfoundation.org.au/snoring.html
 Health Harvard (2015, July) Snoring solutions health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/snoring-solutions
 Health Direct (2018, August) How to stop snoring healthdirect.gov.au/how-to-stop-snoring
 Help Guide. How to stop snoring helpguide.org/articles/sleep/snoring-tips-to-help-you-and-your-partner-sleep-better.htm