Lincolnshire Echo Online (25 June 2014)
With pollen levels looking to remain moderate to high for the next week at least, many of us will be turning to medication in an attempt to stifle the sniffles.
However, for those hay fever sufferers who shy away from the idea of remaining dosed up on antihistamines for the next two months, it would seem there are some alternative methods out there.
Natural remedies or just old wives tales? We’re not quite sure yet, but anything that might mean we don’t need to have science goggles surgically attached to stop us rubbing our eyes has got to be worth a try.
Spray no to hay fever
Sounds a bit like just another medication? Well, you’re partly right. However, Stérimar nasal spray offers a completely natural way of relieving those dry, stuffy hay fever noses.
Entirely drug and preservative free, the gentle spray is made up of sea water which moisturises and cleans your nasal passages, and can also reduce congestion and blocked noses.
Stérimar Hypertonic can be used by adults and children over three years old, while Stérimar Isotonic is also suitable for babies above three months old.
The spray can be bought in most independent and supermarket pharmacies.
A breath of fresh air
Most hay fever symptoms are triggered by those pesky pollen spores that drift into living rooms and offices, unavoidably – or almost so.
It can be hard to keep doors and windows shut when the weather is so pleasant, but buy an air purifier to trap and remove these allergy-causing particles from the air and you could find yourself relieved of sniffles and itches in the home.
Air purifiers are available from numerous online and high street retailers.
It may seem like a pricey option, but placing an air purifier between your window and bed could allow you to crack the window open on hot, clammy nights.
Getting a good night’s sleep has been suggested to reduce hay fever symptoms in itself – so get purifying!
This one comes quite heavily disputed, but studies claim to show that taking two tablespoons of local honey each day in the months preceding hay fever season can effectively cure the condition.
It’s all to do with ‘desensitisation’, apparently. As honey contains traces of pollen – of the heavy-grained type, which doesn’t trigger allergies in our bodies – consuming honey can desensitise us to the pollen in the air around us.
While this is by no means a definite cure, plenty of former sufferers claim the sweet stuff has cured their hay fever.
Whether it proves effective or not, this is definitely the most pleasing remedy we’ve found so far. So ditch the jam at breakfast and take a leaf out of Winnie-the-Pooh’s book for the next few weeks.
Food for thought
There are a few other additions you could make to your diet that may help you shift those irritating symptoms.
This one might not gain you any friends when consumed in large quantities, but garlic is a natural antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and decongestant which can do wonders for your immune system. A handy tool against vampires and hay fever, it seems.
Swapping your morning coffee for a mug of camomile or green tea could also make a difference. The essential oils bisabolol and chamazulene in camomile tea can soothe allergic reactions, while the catechins in green tea are a powerful antioxidant, reducing inflammation and boosting your immune system. Two or three cups a day should do the trick, we’ve heard.
Hay fever sufferers now have one more reason to try and achieve their five-a-day – vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, while consuming plenty of raw or lightly-cooked vegetables helps your body stock up on allergy-reducing flavonoids.
Allium Cepa, a derivative of onion in tablet form, sees a substance that would usually produce hay fever-like symptoms being administered in small doses to help relieve symptoms.
So the tablets themselves, while not provoking the streaming eyes that chopping onions might, could halt similar hay fever reactions in their tracks. Weleda is one brand offering this alternative remedy.
Mixed pollens are also available from a number of manufacturers, including Weleda and Ainsworths. These contain grasses, cereals, blossom trees and weeds, and have been claimed to help relieve hay fever complaints.
Homeopathy is frequently recommended as an alternative to prescribed medicines, and with so many natural and homeopathic remedies now available, there are plenty of options for those who have renounced antihistamines to work their way through. It may well be worth a try!