Fight nature with nature to beat hayfever symptoms

Hayfever season usually kicks off around the middle of spring, often heralding a world of discomfort and unpleasantness for hayfever sufferers.

Allergies

asktheexpert
Sonia Chartier
@AVogel_ca


17 April 2017

Fight nature with nature

Do you suffer from hayfever and find it hard to enjoy being outdoors during the spring and summer months? At the beginning of the season, hayfever sufferers can start to use natural healing methods to build their immunity and stay sneeze-free.

Hayfever symptoms are caused by histamine levels in the body rising as they react to pollen. Although nature is the cause of most hayfever symptoms, it can also be a sufferer’s best defense to help keep the reaction under control.

Here are some things that will help prepare your body by providing a natural source of antihistamine:

Be full of C – Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, so take small doses regularly throughout the day. You can also boost your intake of foods containing natural sources of vitamin C to include fresh fruits such as apples, kiwi fruit, raspberries, blueberries and citrus, as well as peppers, tomatoes and green, leafy vegetables.

A+ your food – Eat lots of foods containing vitamin A as this vitamin helps keep mucous membranes healthy. Foods such as carrots, tomatoes, dried apricots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, spinach and watercress are full of beta-carotene which your body uses to make vitamin A.

Go herbal – Avoid or at least cut down on tea, coffee and other caffeine products, as these trigger histamine release. Instead, drink plenty of herbal teas, such as chamomile or ginger tea, both of which are reputed to relieve hayfever symptoms. Green tea also bolsters the immune system and acts as a natural antihistamine, while peppermint relieves nasal and sinus congestion.

Get nettled – Nettles can be effective in reducing histamine-type reactions, including frequent ‘prickly heat’ type symptoms. You can drink nettle tea or try a tincture of urtica (nettle) leaves.

Herbal helpers – A useful herb to take if symptoms are affect the eyes and nose is luffa. It helps relieve a blocked and runny nose, as well as watery and itchy eyes and a scratchy throat. It isn’t contraindicated with other medication including other hayfever medication and is available as a nasal spray and also in tablet form.

Now you know what to take, how about what you should avoid?

As stated above, caffeine is a big trigger of hayfever symptoms, as are alcohol, refined sugar and dairy products, so try to reduce your intake of these as much as possible.

Avoid smoky atmospheres, wearing too much perfume and using household cleaning products such as air fresheners, all of which can further aggravate your hayfever symptoms.

Stay one step ahead

Pollen counts are great for measuring the amount of pollen in the air, which will allow you to determine how bad your symptoms might be on any given day. To help you to avoid pollen hotspots, look on weather network websites or download their app. Specify your location to get tree, grass and weed pollen level forecasts.