As temperatures climb and the air settles (hopefully), up to 20% of us will be plagued by the dreaded hayfever
SO WHAT IS HAYFEVER?
Most people know it’s an allergic reaction to pollen. This pollen can come from a variety of sources. The time of year gives a clue as to the source of your foe. If you suffer only in early Spring, then the likely culprit is tree pollen. If you suffer mostly at the end of spring into the beginning of summer, the culprit is grass pollen. If you suffer all the way through Spring and Summer its likely that weed pollen is your problem.
Whatever your source, the symptoms are pretty much universal; sneezing, red itchy eyes, runny or blocked up nose. In general you feel a bit rubbish and fed up. I should know as I previously suffered for over 20 years…
HOW CAN YOU TREAT IT?
1. Head for the sea. We are fortunate in living so close to the sea. If the winds are blowing on-shore, then head to the beach to get some relief. If you can’t make it to the beach you may have to stay holed up in your house or sealed in a car with a pollen filter – neither are fun options on a hot summers day.
2. Nasal Sprays: Steroid nasal sprays work by reducing inflammation and swelling and thereby alleviating the effects of an overactive immune system. Whilst steroids themselves can be harmful to the body and mind, nasal sprays are less damaging as they are only absorbed locally into the nasal tissue.
3. Anti-histamines: If you are taking these regularly please take a moment to reflect on a recent US study suggesting chronic use of anti-histamines may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. In particular those people taking a daily dose of 1st generation anti-histamines such as chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine are at the highest risk and may want to consider switching to an alterna-tive or looking for another option.
4. Neti Pot/Salt Water Sprays: These can be great for some patients. The mild salt water soothes inflamed mucus linings and can clear out excess mucus. Don’t go crazy though. Continual irrigation of the nasal passage can remove mucus membrane designed to protect the nose… and always use sterilized water to avoid intro-ducing more bacteria or parasites into your nose.
5. Diet. Try moving towards a diet high in fruit and vegetables and eliminate processed and junk food. Eliminating mucus forming foods such as dairy, starch and sugar and focusing on foods with anti-inflammatory properties is a good starting point.
6. Acupuncture: Trials of acupuncture for hayfever have been generally positive. Acupuncture may work by stimulating the nervous system and deactivating those areas of the brain involved in processing pain. In addition needling around the sinuses can increase local blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
Interested in learning more? I’ll be opening my doors from 10am-11.30am at The Lazy Frog, Uplands on Tuesday12th May and Thursday 21st May. Pop in for a chat to see how acupuncture may be of help to you or you can contact me at email@example.com