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Coping with Hayfever

Hayfever is a common problem usually encountered in the spring and early summer. It is also known as Allergic Rhinitis – allergies to airborne substances which lead to inflammation in the lining of the nose, throat and eyes. It is estimated that one in five people in the UK suffer with Allergic Rhinitis and it is increasing yearly.

sneezeAbout Hayfever
Hayfever is a seasonal allergic reaction to pollen from grasses, weeds or trees, carried in the air. An allergic reaction happens when your body’s immune system reacts to an allergen because it mistakes it for a harmful invader, such as a virus. Hayfever occurs when your immune system overreacts to pollen allergens, which are normally harmless to most people. This reaction triggers the release of chemicals from certain cells in your nose, throat and eyes. One of these chemicals is histamine, which sets off the symptoms of hayfever.

Symptoms of Hayfever
• sneezing
• a blocked or runny nose (rhinitis)
• itchy eyes, nose, throat and roof of your mouth
• headaches caused by a stuffy nose
• Dry Cough
• Irritability and poor sleep
• Asthma can also be triggered or made worse during the pollen season.

If you have hayfever symptoms all year round, you may also be allergic to house dust mites, pet hair and moulds. This is called perennial allergic rhinitis.

Hayfever treatments
• Antihistamines in tablet or nasal sprays – These are available from your doctor. Some may be obtained, without a prescription, from your local pharmacy
• Steroids or other anti-inflammatory medicines
• Nasal sprays and eye drops for irritated eyes – these help to soothe the tissues, helping to wash away pollen
• Decongestants – these can be useful in relieving stuffy noses
• Herbal and homeopathic medicines – There are many natural remedies available and some work really well. Its best to ask your Herbalist, Naturopath or Health Store advisor to recommend a suitable product for your needs.

Ways to help yourself reduce symptoms.
One of the obvious ways to prevent hayfever is to either avoid, or reduce the amount of pollen one comes across. In general, pollen counts peak at mid-morning and early evening on dry days. Sunny weather means more pollen and counts are higher on a windless day.
Avoid coming into contact with pollen by steering clear of fields and parks (lots of grass), or sitting next to a bunch of cut flowers
Keeping your windows shut when pollen count is high, especially bedroom windows
Drive with your windows shut. If your car has air-conditioning, use it
If you have been outdoors, shower and change into clean clothes as soon as you get indoors
Wear wrap-around glasses to protect your eyes, even on a dull day
Do not dry washing outside – pollen may get trapped in the fibres of clothes and bed linen
Finally, keep an eye on pollen counts using weather reports. There are also several Free Pollen Count Apps to download.

The pollen count
The pollen count is the average number of pollen grains in one cubic metre of air over 24 hours. There are pollen counts for grass, tree and weed pollen and fungal spores. Weekly pollen forecasts predict how high the pollen count will be.
Don’t suffer in silence – If Hayfever is a problem to you speak to your doctor or Natural Health Practitioner.

Health & Peace to you all – Jules

For more information about this article, Naturopathic advice or Allergy Testing contact Jules Button (BSc) Email:
jules@rainbowapothecary.co.uk or www.rainbowapothecary.co.uk or call 01394 386777 or pop into Rainbow Apothecary 6E Church St, Woodbridge IP12 1DH

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