Hay Fever Symptoms and Prevention
Author: Emily Seddon Date Posted:12 September 2016
Say hello to Spring, goodbye to hay fever.
Spring marks the arrival of hay fever season. It's time to find out if you are suffering from allergies, and what you can do about it!
What is hay fever?
Allergic rhinitis is an acute inflammation of the nasal passages that is often caused by pollen or other airborne allergens that are inhaled.
It got its common name - hay fever – not because it produces a fever but because symptoms strike around hay harvesting season, when extra pollens are in the air.
Why do you get hay fever?
If you get hay fever, a specific type of allergic reaction is occurring when you breathe in certain pollens. The body mistakenly thinks the pollen is harmful, and produces histamine (and other chemicals) in response. This leads to the symptoms we know as hay fever. Pollen from grasses, weeds or trees are the most common causes of hay fever.
Pollen seasons is most noticed during spring, but they can remain present for several months and exposure is often hard to avoid. However, there are several things you can try to prevent or reduce your symptoms.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
- Runny nose.
- Nasal congestion.
- Itchy eyes, nose or roof of mouth.
- Sinus pressure and facial pain.
- Sleeplessness & fatigue.
1. Know your allergens:
Particularly if you suffer from severe symptoms, head to the doctor for an allergy test. The sooner you know what’s affecting you, the better equipped you are to avoid it! This applies for any allergies – be it pollen, dust, moulds, animals, etc.
2. Cut the sugar:
Aim to limit mucous-affecting foods such as dairy, highly processed products and those full of refined sugar. Instead indulge in wholesome, unprocessed foods, fruit and vegetables of all the colours of the rainbow.
3. Eat pineapple:
Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory, anti-edema and mucolytic effects in nasal passages. Bromelain is found in highest concentration in the harder core of the pineapple.
4. Spice up your life:
Incorporate spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic and onion into your meals for extra anti-inflammatory effects.
5. Move that body:
A survey in the UK found that exercise can improve your hay fever! It found that people who exercise regularly (150min per week or more) experience the mildest symptoms.
Any supplements that can help with allergies?
Vitamin A is needed for healthy mucous membranes in the respiratory system, including sinus passages of the nose, throat and ears. It’s also necessary for proper immune function, helping to prevent secondary respiratory conditions following allergic reactions.
Vitamin C & Garlic
Vitamin C has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine activity which helps to reduce the symptoms associated with hay fever. Garlic also contain properties to fight allergies, including anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects.
Like Vitamin A, both also support the immune system to produce an appropriate response to any foreign bodies entering the body, including allergens and microbes.
Horseradish has been traditionally used as a decongestant and as such may help with immediate, symptomatic relief of hay fever symptoms. Have you ever eaten too much wasabi and felt the effects on your sinuses!
The active ingredient of turmeric has been found to have anti-allergy properties, which prevent mast cells in our immune system from releasing histamine. Is there anything this herb can’t do?
Ensuring a healthy balance of bacteria in our gut supports our immune system and the severity with which it reacts to allergens, especially in allergic rhinitis.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish demonstrate an ability to reduce inflammatory chemicals that are produced in reaction to allergens, such as pollen. A high content of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet has been associated with a decreased prevalence of allergic sensitivity, including rhinitis.
Tea to try:
- Our very own Flu Brew contains ingredients to help soothe and ward off any nasty bugs looking for the opportunity to wreak havoc!
- Licorice tea contains demulcent properties, may provide relief from irritation to the respiratory system.
- Nettle root tea may also help relieve inflammation to ease nasal congestion, sneezing and itching of the nose!
|Written by Emily Seddon|
Emily (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath with a love of science. Growing up with a hippy mum and dad, Emily grew used to thinking outside the box for her own health. She has since completed a degree in Health Science, majoring in Naturopathy, combining that passion for healthy living with scientific and traditional evidence to help others to live happy and healthy lives.
She loves using herbal and nutritional medicine to treat ailments and lives by the philosophy of "there is no such thing as too much tea."