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Hay fever is a seasonal allergy that causes itchy, watery eyes and sneezing. It’s also the most common type of allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the nose). The symptoms are caused by pollen, mold, and other allergens. There are many treatments for hay fever, including antihistamines, decongestants, and anti-inflammatory medications.
For individuals who suffer from seasonal allergy problems, what makes spring so lovely is also a source of pain. Pollen is released by freshly cut grass, blossoming trees and flowers, and weeds, causing seasonal allergies (commonly known as hay fever) in 40 million to 60 million individuals each year, or up to 20% of the population in certain countries.
According to surveys, seasonal allergy symptoms may become unpleasant if left untreated, impacting day-to-day activities and even triggering asthma episodes. Around 80% of individuals with asthma, for example, also suffer from seasonal allergies.
Asthma-related hospitalizations and crises may be reduced by treating hay fever symptoms.
What are your strategies for dealing with seasonal allergies? The good news is that natural allergy therapies may be just as successful, if not more so, than allergy drugs.
Making dietary adjustments to minimize common allergens and inflammatory foods, taking immune-supporting supplements, and clearing your environment of allergy triggers are all excellent choices for controlling seasonal allergy symptoms.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Hay fever and seasonal allergies impact the nasal passages, and allergic rhinitis is the medical name. The presence of inflammatory cells inside the mucosa and submucosa characterizes this disease.
When does allergy season begin? The individual’s unique triggers determine the year in which someone suffers from hay fever. Allergic rhinitis may strike at any time of year, not only in the spring but also in the summer and autumn, depending on the individual.
While hay fever is most often associated with children, it may affect anybody at any age. In addition, seasonal allergy symptoms may diminish with time, only to resurface later in life.
If you have allergic rhinitis in one place and then relocate to another with different kinds of flora, your symptoms may improve or worsen.
One of the major causes of seasonal asthma is pollen. Pollen is produced by every tree, flower, and plant, but not everyone is sensitive to it or has an allergic response.
It’s essential to pay attention and identify which factors cause your hay fever symptoms. For example, cottonwood trees and ragweed are an issue for some individuals, while the grass is a problem for others.
According to studies, ragweed allergies affect approximately 75% of individuals in the United States who suffer from seasonal allergies. In addition, ragweed pollen is typically most significant in the autumn, unlike grass, trees, and flowers, which produce pollen in the spring and summer.
Nearly a third of people with ragweed allergies also have allergic reactions to specific foods. Cucumbers, melons, zucchini, sunflower seeds, bananas, and chamomile tea are among them. (See the “Foods to Avoid” section below.)
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
What are the signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies? The following are the most frequent allergic rhinitis symptoms:
- Stuffy nose/stuffy nose
- Nasal drip (post-nasal drip)
- Excessive mucus production
- Runny nose
- Eyes that are itchy and watery
- Throat irritation
- In the ears, there is a tickle/irritation
- Concentration and attention have deteriorated
- Reduced ability to make decisions
- Sleep disturbances and exhaustion
- Swings in mood
- Blood pressure that is too low
- Infections of the middle ear
Hay fever may mimic the symptoms of a typical cold or sinus infection, but colds and sinus infections last far longer than seasonal allergies. Allergies typically last until the pollen has gone dormant.
Seasonal allergies provide the same difficulties year after year for those who suffer from them. When pollen, mold, or another airborne material is the allergen, symptoms usually appear in the lungs, nose, and eyes.
On the other hand, food allergies frequently affect the mouth and stomach and may result in rashes on the skin.
Researchers disagree on why the issue has worsened over the last 30 years, but they all agree that allergies to pollen, mold, and certain foods are rising.
One of the health consequences of climate change is increasing pollen counts; pollen counts peaked at 8,455 grains per cubic meter in 2000. That number is expected to rise to well over 20,000 by 2040.
What is the best way to tell whether you have severe allergies?
The same pollen and allergens that produce seasonal allergy symptoms may also induce more severe asthma attacks, including wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and breathing difficulties. Thus, Allergy-induced asthma, or allergic asthma, is the name given to this disease.
Those with weakened immune systems, COPD, and other respiratory diseases must manage their seasonal allergy symptoms to avoid additional problems. Dietary modifications, natural supplements, essential oils, and lifestyle adjustments may all help. Still, if you have several issues that impact your breathing, it’s also a good idea to see a doctor.
As previously stated, the following are examples of allergy triggers that may induce hay fever symptoms:
- residues from flowers and plants
When the weather is dry and warm, these factors are more likely to cause rhinitis symptoms.
Our bodies release histamine in reaction to an allergen, which causes allergy symptoms. Since a result, a robust immune system is essential for combating seasonal allergies, as it helps regulate histamine release.
Did you know that your chances of developing seasonal allergy symptoms skyrocket? For example, asthma, uncontrolled stress, a deviated septum, nasal polyps, recent trauma or sickness, pregnancy, and even food allergies may all increase your risk.
Allergies, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, are immune system diseases. The body generates antibodies to fight innocuous things when it overreacts to them. This is the source of the signs and symptoms.
If you have any of the following conditions, you’re more likely to have hay fever.
- Immune system dysfunction
- Surgery or physical trauma
- Illnesses under the surface
- Emotional and physical stress is at an all-time high
- Sleep deprivation
- You’re expecting a child
Stress plays a vital role in maintaining immunological systems, and uncontrolled pressure may exacerbate allergic responses.
Pregnant women, including those who have never had allergies before, are more susceptible to allergic rhinitis. In reality, one in every 100 pregnant women develops asthma, and many more suffer from hay fever.
It’s challenging to manage allergies safely during pregnancy since most over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription allergy medicines aren’t deemed safe for pregnant or nursing women. However, many excellent natural treatments are safe for children, pregnant women, and the elderly, to name a few.
Limiting your time spent outside may help alleviate hay fever symptoms, but it isn’t the ideal option. Who wants to be cooped up indoors throughout spring, summer, and fall?
Allergies can’t always be avoided, but allergic responses may usually be avoided – or at least minimized. Therapy aims to prevent coming into touch with the allergen; however, this may be very difficult depending on your lifestyle. Treating allergies usually requires a multi-pronged approach that considers your food, lifestyle, and natural remedies.
During allergy season, stay away from the following foods:
All foods to which you are allergic or sensitive should be avoided. If you’re not sure how widespread your food sensitivities are, an elimination diet may help you figure out which foods aggravate your allergies.
The following are some of the most prevalent food allergens:
- Dairy in its traditional form
- Sweeteners made from artificial sources
- Foods that have been processed
- Sunflower seeds
- Citrus juice in a bottle
Aside from the ones listed above, several popular food preservatives, such as sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium sulfite, and artificial sweeteners, may aggravate allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Dried fruits, bottled citrus juice, shrimp, and other highly processed meals should be avoided. Many individuals find comfort by eliminating items that promote mucus production – and mucus is caused by more than simply dairy.
Dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeinated drinks, and other foods you have sensitivities may aggravate your response.
If you have a ragweed allergy, you should avoid melons, bananas, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, echinacea, and chamomile since they may cause allergic reactions. The aim of restricting foods to which you are allergic is to reduce the total load on your immune system and enable it to perform at its best.
The Best Foods To Eat
The foods to avoid list may seem daunting, but several delicious meals may help alleviate your symptoms while also boosting your immune system, such as:
- Raw honey from the area
- Foods that are hot and spicy
- Broth made from bones
- Foods high in probiotics
- Vinegar made from apple cider
- Veggies that are organic and fresh
- Meats raised on grass
- Fowl that has been let to roam freely
- Fish captured in the wild
For a good reason, local raw honey is at the top of this list. According to randomized, controlled research published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, patients who drank honey had substantially better control of their allergies than those who used standard allergy medicines.
Local honey relieves symptoms by containing local pollen that causes allergies and aiding the immune system in dealing with it. A couple of teaspoons each day may help with itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, and other hay fever symptoms.
Heat things by consuming hot, spicy meals if you’re dealing with excessive mucous. Hot, spicy meals assist in thinning the mucus and make it easier to expel.
Garlic, onion, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper are all good additions to your dishes.
Bone broth made from chicken, cow, or lamb bones aids in the relief of respiratory issues and removes excess nasal mucus. It also aids in the reduction of inflammation.
Probiotic-rich meals help maintain a healthy gut, enhance digestion, and boost energy levels, among other benefits. During allergy season, consume probiotic foods like:
- Kimchi or sauerkraut
- Cheese that has been left uncooked
Consume raw, organic dairy products if you have a lot of mucus since the pasteurization process eliminates the enzymes your body needs.
In addition to high amounts of vitamins B, C, and other essential minerals, the enzyme bromelain present in pineapple may help decrease your allergic response. During allergy season, consume the core of fresh, ripe pineapples because it has the greatest concentration of vital nutrients.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) promotes gut health by breaking up mucous and aiding lymphatic drainage. Drink one tablespoon of ACV, one tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a half tablespoon of local raw honey three times each day.
Fresh, organic vegetables, such as Swiss chard, cabbage, beets, carrots, and yams, rich in quercetin, may help you prevent allergic responses. Dark green, yellow, or orange veggies have the highest nutritional density during allergy season.
Clean proteins are also essential, such as wild-caught salmon, free-range chicken, and organic grass-fed cattle and lamb. Vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, vital minerals, and, of course, protein abound in wild salmon.
If you haven’t already made the transition to clean proteins, allergy season is the ideal time to do so.
Ginger, garlic, horseradish, and onions are some more foods to enjoy during hay fever season. Ginger is especially beneficial since it warms the body and helps to break down impurities in the system.
Supplements That Help
To begin taking vitamins 30–60 days before allergy season for the most significant effects. In addition, Spirulina, butterbur, and phototherapy have shown potential in alleviating the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
- 1 teaspoon spirulina per day: Spirulina inhibits the release of histamine, which produces symptoms. In double-blind, placebo-controlled research, spirulina consumption was found to substantially reduce symptoms such as nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion, and itching.
- Quercetin — 1,000 mg per day: Quercetin, the flavonoid that gives fruits and vegetables their vibrant color, has been shown in studies to inhibit the synthesis and release of histamine. Please be aware that quercetin may interact with some medicines, such as antibiotics, cyclosporine, and other liver-dependent treatments.
- Butterbur — 500 mg per day: Butterbur has been used to treat bronchitis, excess mucus, and asthma for centuries. It was also shown to be equally helpful as other allergic rhinitis medicines in a recent trial of hay fever patients. Butterbur supplements should not be taken by young children or pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- 50 billion international units (2–6 pills) of probiotics every day: Probiotics alter gut flora, aid immune system function, and promise to treat and prevent allergies. While further research into probiotics is needed, another study published in the European Annals of Allergy and Clinical Immunology backs up previous results that probiotics may be an effective allergy therapy.
- Vitamin A — 2,000 milligrams per day: Vitamin A has antihistamine effects and aids in the fight against inflammation.
- Bromelain — 1,000 mg per day: Bromelain, a pineapple enzyme, helps alleviate hay fever symptoms by reducing swelling in the nose and sinuses.
- 30 mg of zinc per day: Zinc aids in treating adrenal exhaustion induced by prolonged stress.
- 300–500 mg twice a day of stinging nettle: Antihistamine and anti-inflammatory qualities of stinging nettle assist in decreasing the body’s generation of symptom-causing histamine. If you use lithium, sedatives, blood-thinning, diabetic, or high blood pressure medication, be warned that stinging nettle may create adverse reactions.
Natural Complementary Treatments
When combined with a balanced diet and vitamins, these complementary methods may help you feel better overall.
- Neti Pot – Using a Neti pot to drain mucus is highly effective. Flush your nasal passages with warm, filtered water or distilled water with a pinch of salt once or twice daily for relief.
- Diffusing essential oils such as menthol, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint oil open up the nasal passages and lungs, increase circulation, and reduce tension. Try this DIY vapor rub when you have a lot of mucous and congestion.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture may help decrease the symptoms of seasonal allergies without having any adverse side effects. Consult an acupuncturist before allergy season to identify the best course of action.
Allergy Season Lifestyle Changes
- Keep yourself hydrated. Each day, drink eight to ten glasses of pure water. Any mucus you have will become considerably more difficult to evacuate if you get dehydrated.
- Keep your exposure to a minimum. For example, limit your disclosure on days with a high pollen count or days that are incredibly dusty or windy. If you are unable to restrict your time outside, use a mask.
- Before going to bed, take a shower. Pollen and dust that has accumulated on your skin and in your hair overnight may aggravate your symptoms.
- Clothing and bedding should be washed. Freshly washed bedding and clothing assist in minimizing allergy exposure.
- Clean up after your dogs. Pollen is tracked inside the house by pets that spend time outside. Limit your pollen and dust exposure by wiping them down with a wet towel.
- Hard-surfaced flooring should take the place of carpeted sections. Carpet collects and holds dust and pollen, making vacuuming almost impossible. However, replacing your carpet with an easy-to-clean surface may be beneficial if you suffer from severe seasonal allergies.
- De-clutter. Clutter may increase the amount of dust and allergens in your home, exacerbating seasonal allergy symptoms. To get the most significant effects, get rid of clutter, particularly in your bedroom.
- Close all doors and windows. Keep your doors and windows closed when pollen counts are high or on dusty days to reduce exposure.
Side Effects and Risks
Doctors often prescribe antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants, and various OTC allergy medicines like nasal sprays and allergy injections to counteract the effects of histamines generated by the body. They do, however, have adverse effects, and they may take weeks to start functioning.
The following are the most frequent allergy medication adverse effects:
- Performance issues
- The eyes, nose, and mouth are all dry
- Distress in the abdomen
- Bruising and bleeding that is unusual
- Palpitations in the heart
Side effects in children include:
- stomach ache
- Impaired mental abilities
Pharmaceutical allergy medications like nasal sprays and allergy injections aren’t for everyone. Remember that they only treat the symptoms of allergies, not the cause. As a result, many aren’t advised for pregnant or nursing women and people who have high blood pressure, heart illness, kidney or liver disease, glaucoma, or thyroid issues.
- Allergic responses, such as allergic rhinitis and food allergies, have risen significantly in recent decades.
- A stuffy nose, sinus discomfort, headaches, tiredness, itchy throat, watery eyes, and other hay fever symptoms may occur.
- Medications may offer some comfort, but they seldom compare to the effectiveness of natural treatments. Furthermore, they do not address the fundamental problems.
- Allergy treatment requires perseverance and a variety of strategies. So start right now by eliminating items that make you sick, eating foods that strengthen your immune system, controlling stress, and integrating supplements and complementary therapies into your daily routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best treatment for hayfever?
A: For hayfever, the best treatment is to avoid triggers such as pollen and dust. In addition, taking a hot shower or bath can help relieve symptoms.
Is hay fever a seasonal allergy?
A: Yes, hay fever is a seasonal allergy. Its caused by pollen and other allergens in the air.
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