If you suffer from hayfever, the seasonal sounds of summer – chirping birds and next door’s lawnmower can be the thing of nightmares. According to Allergy UK, around one third of adults and up to a quarter of children in the UK are affected by hay fever symptoms.
Symptoms of hay fever can include itchy eyes, runny nose, headaches, sinus problems and fatigue that are triggered by pollen. The reason why people can be affected at different times of the year is down to what pollen they tend to react to. Some people react to tree pollens, others to freshly cut grass.
The reason for hayfever hitting is your immune system has been primed to release histamine in response to exposure to pollen, leaving you feeling snotty, sneezy, itchy and swollen. Not a pretty picture.
Prevention better than cure
As usual, prevention is better than cure, so be prepared and take action well ahead of your usual hayfever season.
The key is a combination of anti-inflammatory, immune-balancing, decongesting remedies.If you are using nutritional supplement to help manage symptoms, it is worth noting that taking them a few weeks before you are expecting symptoms to manifest is the best course of action.
Luckily, Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeve for you to try.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared for days when the pollen count is higher. This might mean staying indoors or timing your outdoor activity for early morning or late afternoon, when pollen counts tend to be lower.
- Try applying a barrier cream on the inside of your nostrils. For a natural alternative to petrolleum gel, try a beeswax based product with essential oils. The ideas is that the pollen sticks to the gel, stopping it going up your nose and making you sneeze.
- Sunglasses aren’t just a style statement – wraparound sunglasses can help keep eyes free from irritants that can make symptoms worse.
- A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a specific combination of probiotics – lactobacilli and bifidobacteria could help reduce symptoms of mild to moderate hay fever.
- There are a few key nutrients with anti-histamine effects. Vitamin C, bromelain & quercetin have been found to help support the immune system and balance the body’s histamine response. There are plenty of nutritional supplements that provide these 3 nutrients as a balanced combination.
- Eat some foods to balance congestion. Some foods, like horseradish, chilli, ginger, pepper, thyme, garlic and curry may help balance mucus production and congestion.
- Support your immune system. Alongside vitamin C, elderberry syrup is a very tasty way to balance your immune response. It is great for kids too.
- Keep well hydrated.
Some foods can make symptoms worse
Foods that have been found to exacerbate hay fever symptoms for some people include alcohol, sugar, caffeine, dairy products, chocolate, peanuts, wheat, citrus fruit, so an elimination diet could help manage symptoms.
Please note, these ideas are not designed to replace medical treatments from your GP or Pharmacist. Please consult your GP for further advice.