Hay Fever: Prevention and Management

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Spring into action - get a plan to address your hay fever 

Spring is  upon us and this means that hay fever season is around the corner. If you, like lots of other Melbournians, are dreading the warmer weather and the pollen it brings then it's time to take action and address the underlying cause of the condition - not just the symptoms it brings. 

Hay fever is a condition that affects almost 1 in 5 Australians. Victoria is the 3rd highest affected state or territory in the country. 

What is hay fever?

Seasonal hay fever is usually triggered by an allergic response to an inhaled allergen - in Melbourne it's usually pollen from plane trees and rye grasses. When inhaled these particles cause inflammation in the nose, mouth, sinuses and throat which can lead to a scratchy throat, itchy nose, watering eyes, constant sneezing and other unpleasant symptoms. 

What can I do to manage it?

Many foods in our diet can help to manage the inflammation of the condition and provide the cofactors needed to reduce the excessive immune response. Make sure you're eating plenty of these foods:

  • Quercetin: Onions - have some chicken soup 
  • Bromelain: gnaw on some fresh pineapple, especially the core
  • Papain: eat some fresh pawpaw
  • Vitamin C: include fresh kiwi fruit, strawberries, red capsicum, broccoli, lemon and kale in your daily diet
  • Other goodies: ginger, turmeric, horseradish and nettle - make a cup of tea from slices of ginger, turmeric and nettle, served with a slice of lemon.

Prevention is better than cure

Know what your triggers are! If you think dust is the main culprit then make sure you have a regular cleaning plan in place to minimise the amount of dust in your home (especially your bedroom).

If you suspect that pollen is causing the problem then you can apply an ointment to your nostrils to reduce the amount of pollen you are inhaling. We recommend using paw-paw ointment or sesame or coconut oil for this.

At the end of the day you can clear out your nostrils and sinuses with a neti pot. This will irrigate your nose with salt water and remove any debris that might be causing your hayfever symptoms  - here's a You Tube video explaining the process behind this: How to Use a Neti Pot

If you're unsure what your triggers are, get in touch with our team to find out how we can help with testing or identifying potential triggers in your diet and environment that may be contributing your hay fever.

What's my digestive system got to do with it?

There are lots of approaches you can make to maange your hay fever. As naturopaths we commonly address what is referred to as "leaky gut" or "intestinal permeability". This is the theory that a damaged digestive system allows partially-digested food partials to enter through the walls of the intestines and triggers an immune response. 

You can use probiotics and herbs such as Golden Seal, Echinacea, Baical Skullcap, Nettle and Fenugreek to manage the "leaky gut" and reduce the over-reactive immune response. At Westside Wellness always recommend that you seek the care and advice of registered naturopath before using any of these therapies. These are powerful medicines and can have interactions with other supplements, herbs and medications, not to mention negative consequences for your health if used improperly. 

Want to find out how Westside Wellness can help overcome your hay fever? Book a free 10 minute phone assessment to find out more.

References:

Medscape 2017, "Allergic rhinitis", updated 10th April 2017, viewed 1st September 2017, <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/134825-overview>.

The Conversation 2014, "Hay fever survival guide: why you have it and how to treat it", updated 17th November 2014, viewed 1st September 2017, <https://theconversation.com/hay-fever-survival-guide-why-you-have-it-and-how-to-treat-it-34000>.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011.