When working well, our immune system protects us from the bacteria, viruses and toxins that enter our bodies. With hay fever though, something goes horribly amiss and it starts to over-react to harmless substances such as pollens, grasses, and animal dander. This allergic response results in a cluster of symptoms that make life miserable such as sneezing, stuffy or running nose, itching, headaches, asthma, watery eyes, post nasal drip and fogginess.
While hay fever may seem to be about surface symptoms only, it is really a deep-seated complaint. Commonly prescribed sprays and tablets that suppress hay fever symptoms may bring temporary relief but they never get to the root of the problem. They are also associated with side effects and are the least helpful option for long-term improvement.
Simple Steps for Managing Hay Fever
There are several self help measures that cost very little which you can do yourself to help with hay fever. They are:
- Drink plenty of water. When you’re well hydrated the mucous membranes of your nose remain moist to expel allergens more easily.
- Consider using a neti pot. These small pots can be filled with a warm sea salt solution and used to flush your nasal passages and expel irritants.
- Coat your nostrils. Lightly smear a non-absorbent ointment, such as paw-paw ointment, onto the inner surface of your nostrils to provide a protective barrier that traps allergens.
- Know your triggers. Most hay fever sufferers are affected by the wind but some are worse indoors while others itch and sneeze when outside. Avoid your triggers when pollen counts are high.
- Use Food as your Medicine.
Healthy fats and oils such as olive oil, fish oil and even moderate amounts of animal fats are important for a healthy immune system. Studies show that those who eat mostly polyunsaturated and trans-fats, as found in many margarines and processed foods, are more likely to suffer allergies.
Onions and garlic can be used for their homeopathic effect – the symptoms they cause, they can also treat. Both contain natural compounds that reduce the inflammation of hay fever. Add them liberally to your meals or, if you are up to it, eat them by themselves to reduce nasal irritation and streaming eyes.
Local raw honey can be used as a crude form of homoeopathy to desensitise yourself to local pollens from which the honey was produced. Start by taking a small amount each day before the start of hay fever season, gradually increasing to a teaspoon or more. Continue right through the season for best results.
Spices such as horseradish, mustard, chillies and fenugreek also help through a crude homoeopathic effect – they can relieve the very hay fever-like symptoms they produce. Add them liberally to meals or take them alone to thin mucus and expel irritants.
Getting to the root of the problem.
Although Hay Fever feels like an acute complaint it usually indicates an underlying deeper problem. We can use remedies to get through the symptoms but at some point it it worth looking further into the complaint and having it treated constitutionally. This means a Therapist will not only look at your hay fever symptoms but your general level of health and how you are feeling in yourself. Therapies that will help:
Acupuncture really makes an enormous difference to some hay fever sufferers’ lives. There is good evidence that acupuncture is better than medication at treating hay fever and it doesn’t have the nasty side effects that medication can cause. The World Health Organisation states ‘In controlled studies, it has been shown that acupuncture is more effective than antihistamine drugs in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Acupuncture’s lack of side-effects is a distinct advantage in treating this condition..’(Analysis of Controlled Trials of Acupuncture)
Maxine Smillie is our Acupuncturist and offers appointments on a Tuesday and Friday in Abergavenny, Monday in the Wye Valley and Thursday in Cardiff.
As well as being useful for treating the acute symptoms such as runny or blocked nose, sneezing and streaming eyes, Homeopathy can most importantly treat the underlying condition. A Homeopath will look at symptoms of your general state of health as well as your Hay fever. The Homeopath will then prescribe a remedy particular to you! Not only will your Hay Fever be treated but also your whole system, mental, emotional and physical.
To book into see any of our Therapists please contact us or give us a ring on 01873 858391.