The one thing (other than a botched reno) that brings The Block judge Darren Palmer to tears

And it affects more than 3 million Australians.

By Bettina Tyrrell
Fact: Channel 9’s The Block judge Darren Palmer knows his way around a dusty renovation site. But for longer than he can remember, the esteemed interior decorator and renovator has severely suffered from a common, allergy-incited condition that has directly impacted his ability to do his job.
That condition? Hay fever.
And hey, we’re not just talking about a pesky itchy nose and the occasional sneeze – hay fever can be extremely debilitating, affecting as many as 3 million people across the country.
Not only that, but according to Better Health Victoria, hay fever can impact someone so adversely that they lose sleep, their concentration levels drop, and it can also cause them to feel unwell and tired.
Between filming our favourite home-reno show and putting his decorating touch on his own renovation projects, we caught up with the newly appointed Hay Fever Help ambassador to ask what really gets up his nose - and how he prevents it.

Filming The Block must be hard with all the dust from renovating, how do you keep your hay fever under control while on screen?
It’s dust mites in dust that get me the most and The Block’s rooms are almost always immaculately clean. That said, if I’m filming and I put on a jumper or clothing that hasn’t been worn since the previous winter, the reaction is instant and intense.
What are your hay fever symptoms?
I recently found out I have a deviated septum which exacerbates the issues associated with hay fever. It’s bad enough when your sinus’ swell and your nose gets blocked or partially obstructed. But for me even a slight change to the lining of my nose makes it impossible to breathe through one side.
I met with a GP and was advised to remove all rugs, curtains and dust from my bedroom, which doesn’t really compliment my interior aesthetic of layered and textured luxury!
Do you have any common triggers?
Besides dust and mould, pollen from the plane trees around my studio in Woollahra could be a nightmare before I got it under control.
Luckily I’m not allergic to dogs – I have three myself!

Can you remember a time your hay fever was really bad?
At the start of winter I was filming some videos with a corporate partner of mine and the changes in the shoot called for a few wardrobe changes. When I grabbed something to put on that was from last season I immediately started to sneeze, my nose started to run and my eyes went red. All of that was whilst I was in the middle of filming; literally in the middle of a full day shoot so we had to break while I took something to alleviate the effects to get back to work.
That’s when I thought to myself: ‘There has to be a better way!’
What’s your game plan for tackling hay fever heading into spring?
Like a lot of people, I used to attempt to self-manage my symptoms when it affected me, but with minimal relief.
Now, I make sure I know what my triggers are and I feel confident going into spring because my doctor has helped me ensure I’m getting proper treatment and have a management plan in place.
Any advice for fellow hay fever sufferers?
It is really important for people affected to visit their doctor to chat about their symptoms. My GP gave me advice on appropriate long-term management and treatment and it was great to be able to stop running to the pharmacy trying the same things every time I was affected. Having that management plan in place makes sure my life is getting interrupted on – or off – screen.
People can also visit Hay Fever Help to check the daily pollen count, find a GP in your area and find out more information about how to manage hay fever.

Darren’s tips to manage hay fever in peak pollen seasons:

Keep the windows in your home closed to limit the amount of pollen coming inside and triggering symptoms.
Dry clothes and sheets inside rather than outside on a line to avoid airborne pollen becoming stuck to the fabric.
Use sunglasses while outside on windy days to help minimise pollen irritating the eyes.