We are well into the spring season and some allergy sufferers will begin to experience the first twitches, itches, sneezes and other symptoms of hayfever or allergic rhinitis.
I'm going to offer some remedies for this seasonal allergy. I don't know if they will all be effective. They do provide you with a choice. Take a look and read through them below.
Hayfever - The Stats
Many people suffer intensely from this allergic condition especially during the summer months. According to the UKs National Health Service (NHS) 2 in 10 people suffer this allergy. 12 million people in a population of 60 million is a lot of potential customers for the pharmaceutical industry. I'm one of those customers.
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a 2007 survey, stated 16.9 million adults diagnosed with hayfever and 10% or 7.4 million children were reported with symptoms.
Local doctors known in the UK as general practitioners (GPs) offered injections years ago to counter the allergic reaction, until people began collapsing in the surgery waiting rooms. Now pills and nasal sprays are popular and homeopathic and herbal preparations.
I am not a doctor and have no medical training. Over a 30 year period, I have used and enquired about different remedies for their effectiveness.
What causes Hayfever?
The causes of this are primarily pollen from trees, grasses, weeds and spores and can be exacerbated by pollution, smoking, asthma, stress. As I understand it, pollen enters the body and if it makes the body over-react by producing an antibody, a person may experience some or all the symptoms below.
What are the symptoms?
The Eyes: Itching, watering, inflammation and redness.
The Nose: Congestion (blocked nose), sneezing, itching, 'running' or 'dripping' nose
Throat: Rawness, itching, rasping sound when breathing.
Caution: Any remedies herbal or pharmaceutical, should always be considered with caution regarding dosage and your current health condition. Consult your doctor or medical/treatment specialist before you mix any drugs or herbal remedies.
The list is given for you to investigate various remedies sensibly and with care, for their effectiveness in reducing allergic symptoms of hayfever. Much of these have no long term or conclusive research results. Much is anecdotal and that's a good starting point to explore your well being and decide for yourself what works best.
The Pharmaceutical Remedies
1. Antihistamines - taken as tablets, nasal sprays blocking the inflammatory effect of the body's histamine chemical which is released when in contact with the allergen - pollen.
2. Corticosteroids - nasal sprays and drops performing similar actions against the body's chemical messengers to prevent inflammation after exposure to allergen pollens.
Natural and 'Alternative' Remedies
3. Nasal balms can be spread on the inside of the nostrils. These often contain ingredients like beeswax, seed oils, aloe vera juice extracts ans essential oils. Using a petroleum based jelly like Vaseline works well too. Both remedies are useful for me.
4. Eating locally produced honey is a common remedy suggestion (if available). Begin eating on a daily basis starting one month before your symptoms usually begin and continue through the period. I've not yet tried this so can't comment any further.
5. Reduce dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt in your diet to help reduce nasal congestion. This remedy has a positive result for me each time.
6. Check out some herbal hayfever remedies containing extracts of the Butterbur plant (Petasites hybridus). I've recently been told of Butterbur Petasin and never tried it myself. A quick search on google showed many and retailers. I have also heard anecdotal evidence of it's effectiveness. Good for alleviating migraines according to some websites.
7. Sublingual Immunotherapy desensitises the sufferer with vaccinations of pollen before the season starts, by placing drops under the tongue. This prepares the body for the high level of pollen commonly found across April - August. There are strict guidelines to it's use as there is some concern over severe side effects. Be warned.
8. Homeopathy is very popular and I've met people claiming it helped reduce hayfever. I have not yet used it regularly before or during the season to notice it's effectiveness. I'll check it out soon.
9. Qu-Chi acupressure band has recently been touted as useful for some people. The band is placed over the elbow along the Qu-Chi meridian line which runs from between the forefinger and the tip of the nose. There are also Acu-pressure bands to place around the wrist to prevent nausea from pregnancy, travel, post surgery and chemotherapy.
10. Acupuncture has plenty of anecdotal evidence to support it (and from myself). I used it once when I was 15 and it alleviated my symptoms immediately.
11. Eucalyptus is great for clearing the nose and helping breathing. I've used it in saunas and steam rooms to relieve congestion. It's fast acting by inhaling the fragrance to clear the nasal passages.
12. Air purifiers clear pollen, dust and other potential allergens from the air in the home or office. They usually combine filters and ionisers to refresh the air. I found this to be useful and the air does feel and smell different.
13. Liquorice root can help ease the nasal symptoms of hay fever. It's believed to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that assists the immune system.
14. Gingko biloba is popular in health food stores and is believed to inhibit the effect of the body's response to allergens.
15. Relaxation techniques can be useful for alleviating conditions of hayfever. It works for me. Self Hypnosis has been said to reduce the allergy for some people although I don't know the 'content' of the techniques used.
16. Drinking fresh nettle tea and even taking nettle capsules from the health food store are occasionally recommended. Don't know if they work but fresh nettle tea with honey is refreshing and that's coming from a coffee lover.
17. Vitamin C has allegedly helped relieve hay fever symptoms with a lowering of sensitivity to allergens, mucus production and wheezing.
18. Green tea has claims to contain powerful antioxidants called catechins that have antihistamine effects and is also said to help maintain the immune system.
19. Nasal air guards are a barrier to reduce the ability of allergens like pollen to irritate the nasal lining. Fitting into the nose they provide extra protection when outdoors if pollen levels are high.
Plenty of choice here and if you're in any doubt re-read the caution above and exercise your own common sense. Have fun!
Thanks for reading