As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, late Spring and early Summer can be invaded by fits of sneezing, teary eyes, and runny noses. Yes, for those of us with hayfever, Summer brings with it a more sinister tone…
What causes hayfever?
Hayfever, or pollen allergies, come about every year, in response to pollen levels in the air, naturally released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle.
There are different types of pollen that influence your symptoms: tree pollen (in Spring), grass pollen (late Spring/early Summer), and weed pollen (late Autumn), you can be allergic to one or several of these. You are more likely to develop hayfever symptoms if you are allergy-prone, or if you suffer from asthma or eczema, but hayfever affects approximately 1 in 5 of us, which can make Spring and Summer times at points extremely difficult.
Hayfever can be caused by exposure to tobacco or pollution in early childhood, which weakens the cells on the inside of the nose, mouth, and eyes, which react to the pollen particles, and causes them to release histamines when they come into contact with pollen, which worsens hayfever symptoms.
When the pollen particles settle onto the inner layer of the nose, eyes, and mouth, they irritate and provoke an allergic reaction which translates into sneezes, coughing, a runny nose, and itchy, dry eyes, as well as occasional headaches and soreness around the sinus area. Anyone who suffers from hayfever knows just how irritating and painful hayfever can be, resulting in a lack of sleep and unproductiveness. A recent study revealed that 1 in 3 people who suffer from a pollen allergy see their productivity reduce during the Spring and Summer months.
So hayfever invades our personal, professional, and domestic lives. But how can we manage it? How can we make the Spring and Summer months easier?
How do we treat hayfever?
There are some conventional treatments for hayfever, as well as some non-medicinal remedies. In general, a combination of the two is most effective to avoid the woes of Spring.
Before anything, make sure to check the pollen levels! This will keep you informed about the different types of pollen and their levels on a given day, in a given area. On days when the pollen level is high or very high, try to keep windows closed to minimise the level of pollen inside your home, change your clothes and take a shower when you get back home after having been outside, don’t hang your clothes to dry outside, all of this will allow you to eliminate any residual pollen on your body, and prevent you inhaling it and reacting to it throughout the day.
If you go out, you can apply a little balm, like our 100% natural Loving Balm, underneath your nose to prevent pollen particles from entering your airways. This balm will also soothe a nose that is sore and dry from too much sneezing.
Most often, you can take antihistamines or hayfever-specific tablets to soothe your symptoms. In general, you take these once a day. Another popular treatment that your can find in all good pharmacies is a plant-based nasal spray, which protects the inside of your nose and throat against threatening pollen particles, which helps to clear your airways and sinuses.
But there are also other methods, natural remedies, to help reduce the effects of hayfever.
1. One popular method, which a lot of people swear by, is to take bee pollen or eat local, unfiltered honey. This method strengthens your immunity to pollen, and reduce its effects on your body. You can eat the bee pollen or honey straight, or mix it into yoghurt or smoothies. Start by taking less than the recommended dose, to ensure that you aren’t allergic, and then increase the dose until you’re taking a teaspoon of bee pollen every day. Some people say that this can completely rid you of your hayfever symptoms!
2. Increase the quantity of vitamin C in your diet! As for a common cold, the severity of your symptoms is linked to the strength of your immune system. Eat lots of oranges, grapefruits, red berries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and leafy green vegetables, to boost your levels of vitamin C completely! Vitamin C is also antioxidant, and so a great way to repair damage caused by free radicals, for example from exposure to pollution or tobacco fumes. This can also contribute to the strengthening of the protective layer inside your nose and throat, and control the effects of hayfever.
3. We also recommend that you carry floral water in spray format with you when you’re out and about. You can regularly apply a few sprays onto your face, concentrating on the area underneath and around the nose, and wiping it in with a reusable cotton pad, this will get rid of all of the residual pollen particles that have been sitting on your skin.
If your allergies don’t improve with the use of conventional medication, antihistamines, or any of the alternative treatments detailed here, it might be good to seek advice from a doctor or allergy-specialist. You may have a more serious allergy, which requires a prescribed treatment.
This post is also available in french.