More than one in six Canadians suffer from hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis. Depending on what a person is allergic to, allergy season can start in the early spring and last right through to the first killing frost of the autumn. In some parts of the country, you could suffer from March to November.
An introduction to seasonal allergies
Seasonal allergies arise because your immune system reacts to an allergen, causing inflammation of the mucous lining of your respiratory system.
Hayfever is a type of seasonal allergies, where the allergen appears in the form of pollen. Although the most effective treatment for seasonal allergies is avoidance of the trigger, this is often not possible. However, home, herbal and conventional treatments have been developed and have shown to be helpful.
What causes seasonal allergies?
Whenever a particle enters the body, the immune system assesses it and decides if it is a threat. If it decides it is harmless, no response is triggered; if it decides it is going to endanger the body, the immune system triggers a response to kill it. It does this by causing inflammation of the mucous lining of the nasal passages and encourages secretion of thick, sticky mucus to trap the foreign particle.
However, the immune system sometimes mistakes harmless foreign bodies for dangerous ones. These are known as allergens. For example, pollen from trees and grass, ornamental flowers, house dust mites and flakes of dead skin from animals are common allergens giving rise to seasonal allergies.
What are the symptoms
The symptoms of seasonal allergies can be very similar to a common cold infection. They occur immediately after coming into contact with the allergen.
Initially you may begin to sneeze and your nose can become runny. Your eyes may begin to water and your throat and eyes can feel very itchy. If you are exposed to the allergen for a long time, your nose may feel stuffy as well as runny, and you may begin to lose your sense of taste and smell. Often these symptoms can cause difficulty sleeping, particularly if pollen is the cause.
Usually the symptoms ease quickly as you move away from the allergen. However, if the allergen is an airborne one, this can be difficult.
Seasonal allergies do not usually result in complications. However, it is possible for sinusitis or middle ear infections to develop.
How can herbs help?
If you can find out what triggers your seasonal allergies, this is the first step towards finding an effective treatment. The trigger can be found from simply observing when symptoms occur, or through tests from your doctor. There are certain home, herbal and conventional treatments you can take to ease your symptoms.
If your allergies are being caused by pets or dust mites, it is important to wash your pet or bedsheets regularly. Unfortunately, dusting is also top of the list. If your allergies are caused by airborne allergies such as pollen, washing your hands and clothes when you come indoors will help you to prevent the allergen spreading through your house.
Herbal remedies can help to lessen the enthusiasm of your immune system to trap and kill harmless particles. Alfred Vogel devised a herbal remedy for treating the symptoms of seasonal allergies and hayfever. It is a licensed medicinal product called Pollinosan Allergy Relief Tablets.
If your symptoms include nasal congestion, you may also find that a nasal spray helps to soothe and cleanse nasal passages, as well as remove allergens. Pollinosan Allergy Relief Nasal Spray may also help to protect against allergens entering through your nose as you breathe.
If your eyes give you bother with seasonal allergies, you may find that eyedrops are soothing and ease symptoms of redness. Euphrasia is a herb which has a long traditional use in treating eye conditions.
What about conventional medication?
If you do not find home and herbal remedies to be effective, or you suspect that complications of seasonal allergies have developed, you may need to discuss treatment options with your doctor.
He is likely to suggest anti-histamines, which reduce the release of the chemical histamine, responsible for causing your symptoms. These are available with or without prescription.
If symptoms are severe, a steroid nasal spray or tablets may be recommended.
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