"Every season can be allergy season, depending on what you're allergic to." Clara Chung
What are hayfever and seasonal allergies?
Hayfever or seasonal allergies are allergic reactions caused by environmental triggers: pollen, dust, mould, pet hair or other microscopic particles. Anything you inhale can be a trigger for hayfever. Some people are affected by many different allergens; others only get symptoms when exposed to a particular specific allergen. Around 20% of the population have suffered from hayfever at least once in their life. You can find out exactly what is causing your hayfever by getting an allergy specialist to do a skin prick test. They scratch the top of the skin on your arm with various potential allergens. Anything that causes your skin to become red or welted would most likely cause you hayfever if inhaled.
What are the symptoms of hayfever?
The symptoms can be very debilitating. It might start with lots of sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, an itch on the roof of your mouth. Over time, the sinuses become blocked which causes a nasty headache and neck ache; your eyes become red and swollen, and your head feels like its stuffed full of cotton wool. Some people have difficulty sleeping due to their symptoms, but also get extremely tired. Some people get a rash. The symptoms seem very similar to the common cold. It is difficult to carry on with work and regular life while suffering from a nasty hayfever attack. It is known medically as a hypersensitivity reaction.
Why do I get hayfever?
From a microscopic point of view, when a particle of something you are allergic to enters your body (nose, lungs, eyes), an antibody called Immunoglobulin E attaches to that tiny particle, and it sets off an allergic response by releasing a chemical called histamine. Your body is on a mission to get rid of that allergen (the particle) anyway it can. The histamine in your body attaches to particular cells called receptor cells which leak fluid. Your blood vessels also swell and become permeable. That is why you get a runny nose and watery eyes. The extra fluid blocks up your sinuses. Swollen blood vessels and blocked sinuses cause a headache. Histamine also causes 'sensory neural stimulation' which means you might feel itchy and your nose is more sensitive, so you sneeze often.
There is a theory that people suffering from extreme stress or have other underlying issues that could compromise the immune system are more at risk of suffering from hayfever.
So I'll just take an antihistamine medication....
Yes, there are plenty of choices of antihistamine medications available to treat hayfever and allergies. Antihistamines work by preventing histamine from attaching to the receptor cells, so they stop the leaking fluid. It dries up a runny nose & watery eyes.
The problem is that both the histamine AND the antihistamine are circulating in your body until they get detoxified in your liver (your liver is your body's filter). With regular use of antihistamines, the liver gets less efficient at breaking down your natural histamines, creating a need for more antihistamine medication and creating a cycle where you need to increase your dose of the drug or you'd have to regularly change to a different type of antihistamine to get the same relief.
Also, antihistamine medications may suppress the immune system making it more likely that you might develop an infection.
Basic Natural Remedies for Hayfever
Firstly, try to stay away from the allergen particles. If you know you are allergic to pollen, try to stay indoors on high pollen count days. If you are allergic to dust, animal dander or mould... clean and vacuum often.
Drinking plenty of water helps. Saline sprays which are available from the pharmacy can break up the mucus and relieve the congestion. Make a sterile salt water solution to gargle or rinse your eyes to clear away the allergen particles.
Another non-medical natural remedy for hayfever is to put a small amount of vaseline just inside the nostrils to prevent allergen particles from being inhaled.
Foods to Avoid
- Foods with artificial colours, flavours & preservatives, deep-fried foods, and sugar can increase the histamine effect, making hayfever worse.
- Caffeinated beverages
- Dairy Products can cause an increase in mucus production, which could make nasal congestion and blocked sinuses worse.
Natural foods that assist the relief of hayfever
- Some foods contain bioflavonoids which slow down the body's the allergic response. The best-studied bioflavonoids are called quercetins. Foods which contain high amounts of quercetins and other bioflavonoids are onions, garlic, spring onions, citrus, apricots, cherries.
- Anti-inflammatory chemicals reduce the redness and swelling around your eyes, nostrils and sinuses. Natural anti-inflammatory molecules include Carotenoids (The foods with the most carotenoids are: carrots, apricots, pumpkin, spinach.) Bromelain (Pineapple), Curcumin (Turmeric) Omega 3 (oily fish).
- Foods with natural antibiotics can prevent secondary infections from occurring if your body is weakened from fighting the allergen. Foods with natural antibiotic properties include: include garlic, honey, cabbage,
- Unprocessed honey sourced from your local area is a good natural remedy for hayfever because it contains small amounts of pollen from plants in your local environment which could act as a type of vaccine if it is a pollen that is causing your allergy.
- Horseradish and spicy peppers help clear out the sinuses.
- Fermented foods such as raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar and kombucha contain plenty of beneficial microorganisms that will live in your digestive system. When you have a healthy, diverse intestinal microflora, your body will have a less extreme response to invading allergens (like pollen) and easily fight off pathogens (like cold and flu viruses).
When to see a doctor....
- If you get a fever or your mucus is green or yellow. This could be a sign you have a secondary infection which may need to be treated with antibiotics.
- If you have difficulty breathing. Your hayfever may have triggered asthma.
- If your hayfever does not improve with any of these remedies. Your doctor might need to give you prescription medication.
- If you try any of these remedies and your condition gets worse. You might be allergic to one of these remedies.
The Alternative Advisor (book), Published 1997, TimeLife Inc.
Hayfever Remedies Buying Guide: Top Rated Products for 2018
There are plenty of natural remedies to choose from but where to start? As each person is different, what works perfectly for some people may not work as well for others. Luckily though, you can often use different types of natural remedies at the same time. I have researched many of the available products and checked out the reviews. The table below summarises my findings.
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Do you have any experiences with any of these natural remedies?
Do you have a different natural remedy that works for you?
Please share here.
The information on this page is for general purposes only. If you are concerned about your condition, it is best to see a doctor or health care provider to give you a diagnosis and treatment plan. Also check with a medical practitioner before taking any natural remedies if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or taking any other medication. This information should not override the advice of your doctor.
While plenty of research has been done to provide accurate information, the publisher of this site is not liable for any injury, damage, loss or costs incurred in relation to following any of this advice.
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