Don’t let the hay fever stop you enjoying nature and hugging that favourite tree of yours.
As temperatures are rising this week, many of you cannot enjoy the glorious weather and sitting by nature because of your hay fever symptoms. Named Spring fever!! Typical symptoms are sneezing, red, itchy or puffy eyes, sometimes surrounded by dark circles, swollen nasal passages, a runny nose with a clear discharge, an irritated throat and fatigue. Some of you may also experience itching deep in the ears.
Why?? I hear you ask. I’m going to answer below and also give you some great remedies that should help these symptoms and even prevent them occurring next spring/summer.
Well hay fever is a seasonal allergy condition triggered by various species of trees, grasses, weeds and other plants whose particles are carried by the wind rather than by insects during late spring and early summer. The pollen particles enter the system and the body does what it can to deal with the allergens and ejects them out of our nose, ears and eyes. The body produces IgE antibodies, which attach themselves to immune cells in the body called mast cells that release histamine and other chemicals to triggering mucus production and inflammation. This reaction is accompanied by the localised symptoms you experience and they begin within two hours of exposure to the allergen, or the reaction can be delayed by as much as eight hours and this still causes misery to many. Symptoms that continue all year are called perennial allergic rhinitis and commonly relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets and indoor moulds.
Grass pollen is the most common allergen, which affects sufferers at the specific times of the year when grass pollen is released (May-July). However, some people become allergic to tree or weed and shrub pollens, and will therefore be affected at different times of the year (February-June for trees; September and October for weeds). The most common trees being birch, alder, hazel and horse chestnut.
Pollen-food allergy syndrome
Also known as oral allergy syndrome is when hay fever sufferers react to certain fruits, vegetables and nuts. Sufferers of birch tree pollen may find they also react to many foods including celery, raw tomato, raw carrots, apple and pears, peaches, hazelnuts, which leads to a tingling sensation in the mouth and an itchy throat. This is because these foods contain proteins of similar structure. When the food is cooked or canned, the reaction doesn’t appear to occur as cooking, processing and digestion inactivates the allergens.
Remedies to keep the fever at bay
Medications such as antihistamines and decongestants and steroids may provide short-term symptomatic relief however in some they can cause side effects and are not recommended for long-term use. Managing the symptoms of hay fever with nutrition and supplements positively strengthens the immune system naturally. Thereby providing a greater defence to fight of the pollens and reducing the risk of picking up colds and infections.
1) There are plenty of antioxidants in FRUIT and VEGETABLES. Antioxidants are nutrients in our which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body, caused by free radicals from the environment. The best foods to consume are blueberries, blackberries, red, orange and yellow fruit and vegetables, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, green peppers. These all contain vitamin C & flavonoids which prevent the release of the inflammatory chemical histamine from immune cells and promote openness in the airways, boosting the immune system.
2) QUERCETIN: is a powerful antioxidant, and functions as a natural antihistamine, so stabilises the mast cells involved in the release of histamine. It is best taken in a supplement form where complexes are often combined with vitamin C and BROMELAIN which is a protein- digesting enzyme found in pineapples and papaya. In high doses it can reduce sinus pain and enhances the absorption of quercetin.
The supplements below are my top picks for the relief from sneezing, congestion and itching.
- Higher Nature’s Quercetin with Bromelain tablets away from food. Take with vitamin C capsules to aid absorption of quercitin. OR
- BioCare’s Quercitin Plus with Quercetin, Bromelain, Netttle & vitamin C
- Vogel’s Pollinosan Luffa Hayfever Tablets and Luffa nasal spray– a homeopathic medicine made from seven tropical plants.
3) GREEN TEA contains catechins and is richer in antioxidants. ELDERFLOWER AND NETTLE tea and can also be tried. They are anti-allergenic; in the respiratory system they help clear congestion and relieve allergy symptoms. Redbush or Rooibos tea is also a great anti-oxidant tea.
4) Omega 3- Essential Fats. Research suggests that may they omega 3 may reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body which makes it very effective in combating the symptoms of hay fever and treating the causes. Foods that abundant in beneficial omega 3 are: mackerel, salmon, haddock and trout, flaxseeds, chia seeds and nuts.
3) GARLIC is extremely anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral, boosts the immune system.
5) Some swear by local HONEY. There is no strong evidence that taking honey decrease allergies. Ingesting local honey throughout the year may help by creating immunity to the allergens. I’m a big advocate of manuka honey which is naturally anti-microbial and great for sore throats.
6) Herbal remedies are also available and homeopathic formulas. I am not qualified in this to advise however speaking to a specialist in these field may help, especially if your symptoms are severe allowing you to add on an additional remedy or two to the nutritional remedies above.
- Wipe down your dog or cat with a damp towel after they have been outdoors. They may have picked up pollen from the air.
- Before you go to bed, take a shower to remove any pollen that is stuck to your body or hair.
- Try to stay inside during peak pollen times (7-9am and 3-7pm) and keep windows and doors closed. Try to keep your bedroom window shut to avoid exposure overnight.
- Steaming produces excellent results to break up congestion. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and carefully inhale the steam. Avoid eucalyptus if you are taking homeopathic remedies as it voids their action.
- Calendula also known as pot marigold diluted in water makes an excellent eye wash to soothe itchy eyes. Use non-alcoholic calendula. Add a dropper full of colloidal silver to enhance the anti-microbial action and reduce inflammation.