Hay fever facts :
- Around 12 million people have hay fever in the UK
- 95 per cent are affected by grass pollen, but many suffer from the tree pollens that are abundant from the spring.
- Silver birch is the most prevalent hay fever trigger from trees, and it releases pollen as the temperature goes up.
More and more people are getting hay fever and age is no barrier – you can start getting it at any age. Ali Cullen, nutritional therapist at A. Vogel suggests some nutritional changes:
• Eat foods with anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties: including carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocado, mango, apricots, peaches, nectarines, papaya, pears, pineapples, blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, blackcurrants, prunes, plums, raisins, figs, herring, salmon, sardines, trout, and pilchards.
• Cut down on foods that trigger inflammation such as: caffeine and refined sugar.
• Avoid mucus-forming dairy foods – milk products – to help to reduce catarrh.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen or mould which the body reacts to as alien substances. It causes numerous symptoms:
• Runny, red and itchy eyes
• Blocked nose
• Itchy throat
• Headaches and tiredness
• Sleep problems
Although it’s unpleasant the body is dealing with the alien substance by trying to get rid of it through sneezing and runny nose and eyes. Not surprisingly all this makes people feel very run down and unwell for as long as it lasts.
What else could it be?
Different people react to different pollens such as grass pollen, tree pollen and mould spores. Some weeds like nettle can affect people who are sensitive and often sufferers also react to house dust mites, animal fur and chemicals in household products and furniture.
Where you live
If you live in the south-east, the Midlands, north-east or central Scotland, particularly in a city you are more likely to suffer than people in most of Scotland and Wales, the north and the west country. The pollen season is shorter in Scotland and Wales and places like Devon or the Lake District benefit because of mountains and moorland.
What can you do about it?
Most people use anti-histamines, but they can make you drowsy. There are some great natural remedies including a nasal wash – with a tiny bit of salt in warm water, or beetroot juice (if you can bear it) to clear out the nostrils. You can buy neti pots that enable you to do this easily – it has a little spout. This isn’t a pleasant experience and you might prefer one of the nasal sprays below.
A few tips
- Avoid caffeine as it triggers histamine release – green teas and herbal teas are better.
- Stay away from grassy areas particularly in the early evening when the pollen count peaks.
- Cut down on dairy as it can increase the production of mucus.
- Refined sugar makes blood sugar levels rise and fall, resulting in a surge of adrenaline which releases histamine.
- Inhale steam with a few drops of basil, tea tree in to soothe nostrils.
- Rub some olive oil, Vaseline or HayMax on the inside of your nose to trap pollen.
- Keep windows closed where possible. Net curtains can trap the pollen.
- Wear sunglasses to keep pollen away from eyes
• Luffa is little known but believed by nutritional experts such as Alison Cullen from Ayrshire to be the ‘number one treatment’. Clears a blocked or runny nose, and watery red eyes but has no side-effects, and children can take it. Start two weeks before the hayfever season is in force.
• Echinacea can be taken from one month before the hayfever season and then combined with Luffa.
• Euphrasia as a herbal tincture can ease watery sore eyes.
• Nettle for people who get skin rashes as well – a natural antihistamine.
Quercetin is a substance found in onions that is believed to stabilise the body’s cells that produce histamine and cause the allergic response (sniffing, sneezing, wheezing). It is enhanced by Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, which is said to help the absorption of quercetin into the body.
Homeopathic remedies for hay fever
Susanne Haar, Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacist recommends trying a homeopathic consultation. Homeopathy can be used to help with the symptoms of hay fever and useful remedies include:
• Nux vomica: for a runny nose during the day, which is dry at night; irritable and impatient mood; a person who feels worse in the morning, better in open air.
• Euphrasia: for watery irritated eyes.
• Allium cepa: for sneezing; runny nose; irritated eyes; when a person feels better in cool open air.
|Euphrasia homeopathic tablets 30C||Ainsworths||120||£7.12|
|Pollinosan||A. Vogel (Bioforce)||120 tablets||£10.29|
|Luffa Tincture||A. Vogel (Bioforce)||50ml||£10.95|
|HayMax Pollen Barrier Balm triple pack||HayMax||3 x 5ml||£12.49|
|Pollenna homeopathic tablets||Nelson’s||72 tablets||£5.10|
|Nux vomica||Nelson’s||84 tablets||£4.97|
|Vitamin C||BioCare||90 x 1000 mg capsules||£20.45|
|Quercetin Plus with Quercetin, Bromelain, Nettle, Vitamin C||Biocare||90 capsules||£22.96|
|Get 15% discount at www.superfooduk.com with the promotion code: HSoul1|