Hay Fever

It's that time of year again when we look forward to warmer weather, getting into the garden, cutting the grass, planting-up our tubs and hanging baskets, and having picnics in the countryside. But not everyone looks forward to warmer weather and sunshine. For some of us, Spring and Summer means the start of the debilitating allergy hay fever, or to give it it's formal title: seasonal allergic rhinitis.


According to the NHS: one in three Britons suffers from an allergy, half of those affected are children, and (surprise, surprise) the number of us suffering from allergies has become worse over the last 10 years. A significant proportion of these individuals, (20% of the population) suffer form hay fever, typically between the months of March and August.


Most people with hay fever suffer from symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, a runny nose, headaches, fatigue, and itchy watery eyes, and what should be the best time of year, can be the most miserable for hay fever sufferers.


But what causes hay fever and how can we get relief from the symptoms.


The main cause of hay fever is pollen, which is normally harmless until it enters our bodies as we breathe-in the warm summer air. To most of us, pollen is quite harmless, but when it enters the nostrils of the hay fever sufferer, the immune system kicks in and releases the chemical histamine. The effect of this is cold like symptoms which is actually an allergic reaction to the pollen.


In order to give sufferers more warning, most weather forecasts now contain a forecast of the pollen count for the following day. This forecast can be useful, but most sufferers are aware that the pollen count can be five times higher in the countryside, and even those living in the city can be just as badly affected by the heightened mixture of pollen and pollution from excessive car fumes.


If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from hay fever, you probably have a stock of tried and tested remedies that work for you, but for those of you still looking for remedies, try some of the following to combat the symptoms of hey fever:

  • keep doors and windows closed when the pollen count is high
  • stay away from grassy areas where there is more pollen, especially in the early morning and late afternoon/evening when the pollen count is highest
  • wear wrap-around sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes
  • take a shower and wash your hair after going outside when the pollen count is high
  • do not dry washing outside if the pollen count is high, as pollen may get trapped in the fibers of clothes and bed linen
  • put Vaseline on the inside of your nostrils to prevent pollen from entering your nasal passages.

Most people will seek medical advice or buy various remedies from their local chemist. However, reflexology can provide an effective alternative treatment to over-the-counter hay fever remedies and gives sufferers a chance to enjoy, what should be, an enjoyable time of year!

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