Seasonal allergic rhinitis is the medical name for Hay fever. It’s caused by pollen’s from flowering trees, weeds and grasses irritating the nasal passages of susceptible people.
Major symptoms are sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, ears, roof of the mouth or skin and even draining fatigue. Due to the severity of the symptoms, some first-time sufferers can often confuse hay fever with a virus.
Hay fever symptoms are due to an allergic reaction, our body’s cells releasing large amounts of a chemical called histamine. The only real way to prevent hay fever is to avoid the particular pollens that are causing the problem. As this isn’t always possible, naturopaths usually advise reducing your exposure to pollens, taking natural anti-histamines and reducing the body’s mucus.
Ways to reduce your pollen exposure:
Practical ways to cut back the amount of pollen you come in contact with daily.
- Keep windows closed at night when sleeping.
- Minimise the time you spend outside on high pollen count days. (To find out the pollen count on any day, Google ‘pollen count’ and your city).
- Wash your face after being outside.
- Dry washing inside or use a clothes drier on a high pollen count days.
- Use a saline nasal spray to rinse out your sinuses, at least twice a day.
- Invest in a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and vacuum frequently during the season, if you are sensitive wear a mask whilst dusting and vacuuming to limit exposure.
Natural antihistamine options:
- Vitamin C – the most effective natural anti-histamine. However you need a medicinal dose of 500-2,000 mg, rather than just eating a piece of fruit.
- Probiotics – these may reduce the frequency of seasonal allergies. If possible use a refrigerated capsule or powder.
- Fresh nettle tea or freeze-dried nettles capsules – these can also reduce histamine levels.
Decrease mucus during the allergy season
When the pollen’s are around try to avoid eating mucus producing foods such as wheat (flour), dairy products and processed sugary foods. Try drinking elder flower tea (1 teaspoon of dried flowers per cup) three times a day can relieve sinus congestion.