pollenDefinition – What is Hayfever?

Hayfever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a common condition that shows symptoms and signs similar to a cold with congestion, sinus pressures, runny nose, and sneezing. It is caused by an allergic reaction to airborne substances like pollen – unlike a cold, which is caused by a virus. The substance that causes the allergic reaction  is known as an “allergen”.

For those people who do not suffer from hayfever, these substances are not allergens, as their immune system does not react to them.

Types and Causes of Hayfever

There are two types of allergic rhinitis – seasonal and perennial. Seasonal hayfever occurs just during that time of the year when some plants pollinate. Perennial rhinitis occurs anytime throughout the year.

If you suffer from hay fever during the spring seasons, then you perhaps are allergic to the tree pollens. During the summer months you might be allergic to the weed and grass pollens. Weeds may be causing your problem during Autumn, and from late March until November fungus spores can cause allergic reactions. This can however be present all through the year as well.

Those who suffer from perennial rhinitis are generally allergic to some allergens present indoors. This includes feathers, animal dander, dust mites, which can be present in the bedding, in pillows, upholstery, carpeting and heavy draperies. Mould is yet another common allergen that is generally found present in damp areas like basements and bathrooms.

Let us now get to discover some of the most common causes of this sometimes distressing and uncomfortable condition.

House dust has various inorganic and organic compounds like hair, dust mites, fibres, dirt, mould spores, insects, pollen grains, animal dander, and also excreta and secreta from pets, mites and insects. All such compounds are found present in bed bases, mattresses, upholstered furniture and carpets. Though they are found all through the year, their numbers increase during the humid periods.

Household pets, particularly dogs and cats, are important sources of domestic allergens which remain present in house dust and animal’s fur. Such allergens can stay airborne for a long period of time, and those who are allergic to these pets can also react to allergens from animals like rabbits, guinea pigs and horses.

 
dandelion seedTrees, flowers and grass, and other plants produce
pollens.

to fertilise the female flower so that plant species can be reproduced. The number and type of pollens varies depending on the vegetation, temperature and climate of an area. Pollens from plants that are insect pollinated are too heavy to stay in the air and thus poses little risk.

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Fungi, like mould, reproduce by spores and they can release lots of allergen spores into the outdoor and indoor areas. Indoor moulds are linked with dampness, while outdoor moulds are found present in all types of conditions.

Hay fever symptoms can be caused and worsened by occupational irritants like fumes, gases and vapours, dust, wood dust and chlorine. Some allergens found in workplaces include natural latex rubber, allergens like wheat, enzymes and mites that may be present in stored cereal and so on.

Natural Treatments and Remedies for Hayfever

If you do not want to depend on drowsy drugs to treat the sneezes and sniffs caused by hay fever, then natural treatments can prove to be of great help. So, let us now get to discover some simple natural remedies that may help and give relief.

Honey is able to cure hay fever owing to the presence of bee pollen in it, which desensitises their body to other types of pollen. If you increase your daily consumption of honey then it will prove to be immensely helpful in minimising hay fever symptoms. Try to use local honey from your area to enjoy the best results.

  • Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine which can be found in lemon, grapefruits and oranges. It also contains bioflavonoids, which has amazing anti-allergy effects. Combination of bioflavonoids and vitamin C creates a natural antihistamine and decongestant which helps relive  symptoms effectively.
  • Hot Chilli Peppers and red peppers contain an active component known as capsaicin. When you eat these peppers it opens nasal passages,  reduces congestion , and alleviates the symptoms greatly.
  • Carotenoids are naturally present in plants and they act as strong antioxidants helping reduce inflammation in airways and improve the immune system. Some rich sources of carotenoids are carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, spinach and apricots.
  • Chamomile Tea is an antihistamine and an antioxidant, contains flavonoids, and acts as a great anti-inflammatory agent. Though it is best to take a cup of chamomile tea during the day, you can also use it as an eye compress. The compress will offer a great cooling effect to red, swollen eyes caused by hayfever.

Try to add more Garlic to your diet as this will boost the immune system of your body, and also act as a decongestant, thus helping to alleviate some  symptoms. It is also anti-inflammatory and a natural antihistamine.

Steaming helps break up congestion greatly. Take a bowl of hot water and add few drops of eucalyptus oil to it, and inhale this steam carefully. This will surely offer great benefits.

Make a cup of Ginger tea and drink it few times through the day. Ginger is rich in natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce nasal swelling and other associated hay fever symptoms.

Onions , (especially the red variety) are rich in flavonoid quercetin, which is a strong antioxidant, natural antihistamine, and has anti-inflammatory properties. You can eat raw onions or even add them to salads, sandwiches or in cooked dishes.

Green tea helps block production of histamine and makes the immune system strong. So, make sure you drink few cups of green tea through the day to experience some relief.

You can consume the extract of stinging nettle, as it increases the body’s natural defence against allergens. It is rich in natural anti-histamine, which proves very effective against hay fever. If you take nettle extract regularly, you can also avoid future attacks of hay fever.

As per researches, acupuncture can reduce symptoms of hay fever like itchy eyes and runny nose dramatically. In this case sterile needles will be used on particular areas of your body, which will help relieve the symptoms .

Check out some more self help ideas here …..