Chinese medicine for hayfever in the time of COVID-19

Spring is bringing sunshine and warmth (hurray!) but unfortunately the extra pollens and grasses on the wind can trigger sneezing, itchy and watering nose, and eyes. It’s hayfever time! 

Add to this the social discomfort of blowing your nose in public. “It’s not COVID” you say in answer to your neighbour’s suspicious sideways glances. Sigh.

Hayfever, or allergic rhinitis, is inflammation of the nose triggered by allergens.  It affects 15% of Australians. 

So if you are currently (or soon expect to be) suffering from hayfever and need treatment to help manage your symptoms but no one will let you through their door while your nose is running and you are sneezing, what do you do?

Last year I would have said “come and have acupuncture!”  A systematic review published in 2015 found that acupuncture is effective in reducing hayfever symptoms and reducing the use of anti-allergic medications.  This is great news, particularly as acupuncture comes without the drawbacks of intranasal corticosteroids and oral antihistamines – which often need to be taken for long periods of time and have side effects including nose bleeds and septal perforation.

In addition, because acupuncture is a wholistic treatment, we are working to bring balance and health to your body as a whole and you might also experience improvements in other areas. What’s not to love.

HOWEVER, whilst you are symptomatic and sneezing and blowing your nose, right now I cannot welcome you into my clinic room. We need to be vigilant to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and keep everyone visiting our clinics safe and well.  

So my recommendations to you this year are:

  1. If you are asymptomatic, come in NOW for acupuncture treatment before you start to react to the pollens.  According to research studies the best results come from twice weekly acupuncture sessions for 6-8 weeks.  This treatment can then achieve a reduction in symptoms for several months.
  2. If you are symptomatic already, make a telehealth appointment where I can prescribe some Chinese herbs to help relieve the symptoms of hayfever. It may also be worth taking a COVID test – seek advice from your GP on this.
  3. If you have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (fever, cough, running nose, sore throat, shortness of breath) get a COVID test and self-isolate.
  4. If in doubt, seek advice from your GP or call the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

Call me on 0432 014 131 if you’d like further information or to make an appointment.  You can also book online


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2011). Allergic rhinitis (‘hay fever’) in Australia. Cat. no. ACM 23. Canberra: AIHW.

Feng, S., Han, M., Fan, Y., Yang, G., Liao, Z., Liao, W., & Li, H. (2015). Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy, 29, 57-62. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2015.29.4116

Taw MB, Reddy WD, Omole FS, Seidman MD. (2015). Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 23(3), 216-220. doi:10.1097/MOO.0000000000000161