Natural Help for Hay Fever
What is Hay Fever?
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is an exaggerated immune-system response to otherwise harmless substances, most commonly pollen from trees, grasses and weeds.
When an allergic person inhales theses substances, or any other allergen, the immune system treats them as invaders and goes into overdrive to produce immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies attach to mast cells, which are found throughout most of the body's tissues, including the mucous membranes of the nose.
What are the symptoms of Hay Fever?
When an allergic person inhales an allergen, the mast cells produce a variety of chemicals, including histamine, to ward off the invader.
These chemicals cause the runny nose, watery, red swollen eyes, congestion and sneezing fits that make hay fever sufferers so miserable.
When do you get Hay Fever?
For most, Hay fever is seasonal, however some unfortunate people suffer from this condition all year round. In these cases (called perennial rhinitis) it is usually due to inhaling an irritating substance that is relatively constant in the environment e.g. mould, house dust, dust mites, animals dander (the tiny flakes of dead skin shed from animals' coats), or it may be due to an underlying food allergy.
Why do I suffer from Hay Fever?
The tendency to develop some form of allergy is often hereditary or atopic, but the specific allergy is not. Those who suffer from hay fever may also suffer from eczema or dermatitis and a number of hay fever sufferers develop asthma.
What treatments are there?
Various prescription and over-the-counter drugs are commonly used to treat hay fever. Drugs such as anti-inflammatory steroidal nasal sprays, decongestants and antihistamines may provide temporary relief - but at a price. Nasal sprays can cause local irritation of the delicate mucous membranes and decongestants commonly cause sleeplessness and irritability.
Antihistamines can cause nausea, headaches and dizziness. Some people experience such extreme drowsiness while using antihistamines that manufacturers urge users to avoid driving while taking them. Antibiotics are commonly associated with hay fever and sinusitis. However these pose a problem, as resistance to antibiotics is building.
There are drug-free ways to relieve your Hayfever symptoms!
Of course, the most successful means of preventing the symptoms of hay fever is identification and avoidance of the offending allergen. In some instances, this is easily established, however it often requires some good detective work in order to identify the culprit.
- Focus the diet on large amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables (preferably organic) and moderate amounts of protein.
- Drink plenty of water as this helps to keep the mucous thinner.
- Avoid mucous forming foods such as dairy products, wheat and white flour products.
- Sugar should be avoided as it reduces immune function and increases susceptibility to infection.
- Chemical and preservative laden junk foods may also be contributing factors, so keeping these to a minimum is advisable.
Around the home
- Allergies to dust or dust mites can be reduced by frequent vacuum cleaning.
- Wipe your furniture with a damp cloth and avoid feather duvets and pillows.
- Blankets and bed linen should be laundered regularly.
- Add 5 to 10mls of eucalyptus essential oil to your final rinse to kill dust mites.
- Dehumidifiers are another option for those sensitive to mould.