I think we can all agree that this year's hay fever season has been a nightmare. We've been inundated with questions about itchy eyes, bunged up noses and scratchy throats...
What are the first signs of hay fever?
The first signs are different for each person but can include symptoms such as:
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Itchy Nose, Throat, or Eyes
- Watery Eyes
- Difficulty breathing through the nose (due to the inflammation caused by hay fever)
How do you get rid of hay fever?
You can’t necessarily cure hay fever but you can do a lot to manage the symptoms!
You want to support the immune system as the symptoms of hay fever are caused by an overactive immune response, which causes the body to release the inflammatory compound histamine.
So, you want to work at supporting the immune system to work optimally not over react by:
- Supporting the gut: by supplementing with probiotics and eating fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi. 70 % of our immune cells are found in our gut!
- Eating an anti-inflammatory diet: to help to lower overall levels of inflammation in the body. Eat 8-10 portions of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables daily.
- Focus on healthy anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats: found in oily fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Anchovies. Herring. As well as flax seeds and chia seeds.
- Eat vitamin C rich foods: such as strawberries, kiwis, peppers, citrus fruits. As vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine.
You could also try to physically avoid exposure to pollen by:
- Staying indoors and keeping windows shut when pollen counts are high.
- Dusting and hoovering your home or investing in an air purifier to try and reduce indoor exposure.
- Showering and changing your clothes after time outdoors.
What months does hay fever start?
Hay fever is usually worse in March and September as that is when pollen counts are high, it's also worse on sunny and windy days.
It also depends on which type of pollen you are reacting too, as to when your symptoms will be worse:
- Tree pollen season - Feb- May.
- Grass pollen - May to September. June and July are the peak times.
- Weed pollen - June to early September.
What are the worst symptoms of hay fever?
All of the above can be awful! Difficulty breathing and wheezing are things to watch out for (then we recommend going to see the GP).
Fatigue can be a debilitating one as well.
Hay fever natural remedies suggestions
There are lots of hay fever natural remedies that support symptoms.
Natural antihistamines include:
Other natural remedies to try include:
- Local honey - contains small amounts of pollen to help to train the immune system not to over react. Best started a few months before hayfever season starts to allow the immune system to build up a tolerance.
- Bee pollen - helps the immune system to build up a tolerance to pollen. Again, it best started before you get symptoms.
- The supplement NAC - this helps to break up mucus levels in the body.
By Catherine McClory, Resident Nutritional Therapist at Wild Oats
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