HAY fever season is starting to be upon us in Ballarat.
Be prepared is the key advice for people who tend to experience hay fever and asthma as the community continues to juggle the coronavirus pandemic.
UFS chief pharmacist Peter Fell said the golden rule this season was for any suspicious symptoms, heavy symptoms or doubt, then get a COVID-19 test and isolate.
While there are symptoms that overlap between COVID-19 and hay fever, like a sore throat or runny nose, Mr Fell said itchy eyes and sneezing were not typically a sign of the virus and any temperature was not a sign of hay fever.
Mr Fell said for any uncertainty, people could also contact a COVID-19 fever clinic or pharmacy for advice.
But hay fever season in Ballarat is starting and it was important to be alert.
"We're just starting to see an up-tick in people presenting with hay fever symptoms," Mr Fell said. "I encourage people who know they tend to have difficulty with hay fever to get in hard and act fast - start treating now."
Mr Fell urged people to speak with their pharmacist about appropriate preventative measures, like nasal sprays or anti-histamines or a combination of the two, and how to best manage prevention the next 10 to 12 weeks. He said it was also important to note different sprays treated in different ways too.
IN OTHER NEWS
Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton also reiterated the need for COVID-19 testing amid hay fever season. Professor Sutton said a survey of compatible symptoms this cold and flu season showed less than 50 per cent of people with mild to moderate symptoms were not getting tested.
"There will be some people where it's an itchy nose for some time in the morning that, totally resolves within minutes and there's no ongoing symptoms. There's no cough, there's no fever, there's no headache, there's no fatigue - that doesn't require testing," Professor Sutton said.
"For people who have ongoing symptoms, even if they might think it's their hay fever, if they're compatible symptoms with coronavirus we would ask them to get tested because if they're developing coronavirus they will have those symptoms and it will be hard to tease out for the individual."
Creswick pollen count observations will re-start on October 1. This program, led by University of Melbourne, is a key catchment area for monitoring grass pollen forecasts, weather observations and data including wind changes, temperature, rainfall and grass coverage.
Meanwhile, anyone with asthma is urged to keep an up-to-date asthma plan with their general practitioner.
Restrictions on puffer and preventer medications were tightened amid the first Victorian lockdowns to prevent panic buying, largely among people without a prescription.
People with sever asthma are also at an increased risk of serious illness should they contract COVID-19. This sever level is defined as "people with asthma who use 20 miligrams or more prednisolone per day for two weeks or more to control their asthma symptoms", according to Asthma Australia.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.