The beauty of new plants stirring into life signals the arrival of spring, but it also brings hay fever season; however, there are natural ways to ease hay fever this spring.
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, causes cold-like symptoms. These may include a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing, and sinus pressure. But unlike a cold, hay fever isn’t caused by a virus. Hay fever is caused by an allergic response to a harmless outdoor or indoor substance the body identifies as harmful (allergen).
What causes hay fever?
Hay fever can be caused by common allergies such as:
- Dust mites that live in carpets, drapes, bedding, and furniture.
- Pollen from trees, grass, and weeds.
- Pet dander (tiny flakes of dead skin).
- Mold spores.
- Cockroaches, including their saliva and waste.
Hay fever affects the immune system because the immune system views harmless inhaled pollen or other allergens as dangerous substances invading the body. The system overreacts, flooding the bloodstream with chemicals like histamine (a chemical released by the immune system) and leukotrienes (chemicals released by the body). These inflame the lining of the nasal passages, sinuses, and eyelids.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
- Nasal stuffiness (congestion), sneezing, and runny nose.
- Itchy nose, throat, and eyes.
- Headaches, sinus pain, and dark circles under the eyes.
- Increased mucus in the nose and throat.
- Fatigue and malaise (general feeling of discomfort).
- Sore throat from mucus dripping down the throat (postnasal drip).
- Wheezing, coughing, and trouble breathing.
What are the ten natural ways to ease hay fever this spring?
The best natural remedy for allergies is, when possible, avoidance. However, some allergies cannot be avoided; consider the below ten remedies to try at home.
- Saline nasal irrigation. Saline nasal irrigation benefits children and adults with allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever.
- Air filters. Air filters used in indoor environments can ease hay fever; trapping airborne irritants such as pollen, dust, and pet dander can reduce allergens in your home.
- Probiotics. Probiotics may help improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
- Honey. Eating locally produced honey will lower an allergic reaction over time to the pollen that the bees collect to make their honey.
- Air conditioners and dehumidifiers. By removing moisture from the air, air conditioners and dehumidifiers can limit the growth of mildew and mold that can negatively impact allergies.
- Quercetin. Quercetin stabilizes the release of histamines and helps to control allergy symptoms. It’s naturally found in broccoli, cauliflower, green tea, and citrus fruits.
- Vitamin C. It is suggested that taking 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily reduces histamine levels.
- Peppermint essential oil. Peppermint oil treatment has enough anti-inflammatory effects that reduce the symptoms of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis to warrant clinical trials. Essential oils can be diffused into the air but should be diluted in carrier oil if applied topically.
- Eucalyptus essential oil. Eucalyptus oil can be used as an antimicrobial agent by adding it to each wash load during allergy season.
- Frankincense essential oil. Frankincense oil may help against perennial allergic rhinitis; dilute it in a carrier oil and use it behind the ears or use inhalation by diffusing it into the air.
When to consult a doctor?
Although hay fever doesn’t cause severe health problems, consult your doctor to rule out other conditions, such as asthma. Seek care if hay fever symptoms are getting in the way of your daily life or making it hard for you to sleep. Your doctor can help you identify the allergens causing a reaction and recommend treatments to help you feel better.