Health Tips: Hay Fever Relief

Treatment of a common illness. The best way to fight this condition is to identify what causes your symptoms.

Hay fever or, as it is medically known, seasonal allergic rhinitis. It is a common allergic reaction to pollen and the spores released from trees, grasses and plants. Being carried by the wind they are inhaled and the body's immune system register it as a foreign body and so produces a number of chemical such as histamine. Other allergens may include house-dust mites, cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and horses.

Common symptoms experienced during an attack are sneezing, runny nose, tickly throat, itching and watery eyes.

Allergic reactions are a sign that your immune system is not working properly. Practitioners aim at building up the body's defences before the pollen season arrives.

Natural remedies may be used to treat hay fever. For example cranial osteopathy uses manipulation of the skull, thus allowing the body to rebalance itself. It also helps to regulate the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which helped relieve congestion.

Acupressure developed in China, works on the principle that illness is due to blocked energy in invisible meridians (believed to run throughout the body). By apply firm pressure to certain areas over the body one stimulates the bodies natural healing powers. Acupuncture works on the same principles but instead of pressing on the meridians needles are inserted under the skin. It is advised to start the course in late winter or early spring so as to build up your immune system. A self-administered treatment, which is very useful, is to press firmly on the side of the bridge of your nose for a couple of minutes.

Herbal medicines, which have been found to work, are horehound to dilate your airways; wild cherry bark to soothe the nose after an attack and echinacea may be used to strengthen the immune system. Elderflower may be used also to help relieve sneezing and blocked noses and eyebright is useful in treating sore, itchy eyes. Cooled camomile tea bags will also help relieve sore eyes.

A proper diet is also an important step in helping your body fight off hay fever. Certain foods may cause an allergic reaction resulting in hay fever. Therefore, it is best to identify, if any, which foods affects you. Three of the most common substances that people are allergic to are pollen, wheat and milk. Alcohol may also lead to an attack of hay fever.

Homeopaths believe in introducing a copycat illness into the body in order to clear out the original one: the idea is that it will then disappear by itself.

Useful avoidance skills that can be used to prevent hay fever from starting include closing doors and windows especially when pollen count is higher. Avoid going out as much as possible especially in peak pollen season (on a still day the worst times of the day to suffer an attack are early morning, late afternoon and evening). Avoid cutting the lawn, especially on hot days. If you have been out walking or gardening, it is advisable to take a shower and change clothes. Clothing should be dried in a tumble drier. Your eyes can be flushed out with cold water to soothe and cool. Vaseline smeared inside the nose will help stop the pollen from settling in the nose. Finally, one should not smoke, since this irritates the eyes, nose, throat and airways.

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