Treating Hay-fever

Posted by Deborah on February 1, 2016


Hayfever

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 Following our recent article on Hay-fever, we decided to discuss what you can do to help ease, or even erase, your symptoms. Whilst hay-fever viewed as a very common allergy, it can sometimes have a massive impact on not only someones health, but also their ability to go about life as normal. There is many different things you can do and routes you can take when trying to treat this hay-fever, some methods are more commonly known than others. Symptoms in some people differ drastically than others, so its possible that the method you are using isn't the correct one for your allergy. So we shall discuss several different methods and how they effectively target various symptoms.

  The first thing you should consider is, do you life in a smoke and dust free home? Both of these things and make your symptoms worse. What is worth considering is that now companies have ‘Allergy’ vacuums available. What makes these different from normal hoovers is the rather than a standard filter, these have extra powerful suction, high dust removal and the ability to capture minute particles. So the will ideally reduce any pollen in your home to an absolute minimum. If you reduce pollen in the home it can really reduce and ease your symptoms. Whilst it is advised to vacuum weekly in an average home, it is said that those with allergies such as hay-fever should aim to hoover 2-3 times per week. When considering one of these cleaners, check that it is accredited by the British Allergy Foundation.

 Before visiting your GP it is advised to go to your local pharmacy and try some over the counter medications, there are several options which can be purchased easily and at your convenience. If these do not help, then you may need to make an appointment with your Doctor to obtain prescription medication.

 There are two routes you can go down when trying to treat your allergies. One being medicinal and the other being drug free options. 

 Medicinal 


 Antihistamines

 Hay-fever symptoms appear because the immune system treats pollen as a harmful substance which leads to itchy watery eyes, blocked nose, sneezing etc. This ilea's to the immune producing histamine, which in literal terms is a protein that is trying protect the body, causing blood vessels to expand and skin to swell.

 Antihistamines treat this as they block the release of this chemical and therefore stops the allergic reaction, along with the symptoms. However, antihistamines themselves tend not to treat a blocked nose.These can be taken as and when required, as soon as you notice the symptoms appear. They can also be use as preventative method, if you know there will be a high pollen count or if you will be in a situation where you will be exposed to pollen.

 As well as tablet form, there are also antihistamine nasal sprays and eye drops available from local pharmacies.


 Corticosteroid Nasal sprays and Drops

 Corticosteroid are a form of steriod treatment and are anti-inflammatory. When you suffer from Hay-fever the inside of your nose becomes inflamed, so this steroid reduces the inflammation therefore relieving the symptoms of your allergies.

 You are likely to be out onto this form of treatment if you do not respond to anithistamines, you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if the main symptoms you suffer from is a blocked nose. The nasal spray can be used frequently, however the drops are only for short term use as they are much stronger. This form of medication is at its most effective when used reguarly and if your treatment begins before your symptoms of hay-fever do.

 Unfortunately Corticosteroid nasal sprays and drops can cause dryness and irritation of the nasal area. Which is why it is important to follow instructions and only used when necessary.

 

Corticosteroid tablets

 Corticosteroid tablets are a short term solution for when your symptoms have grown very extreme. Or if you possibly have important commitments that your hay-fever could have a detrimental effect upon. Your GP will probably describe you a course lasting 5-7 days. 

 These tablets can come with unpleasant side effects, which is why they are only used in extreme instances. 

 

Decongenstant nasal drops

 These nasal sprays main purpose is to relieve the blocked nose that can come with the symptoms of hay-fever. When you have an allergic reacton to pollen, the blood vessels in your nose swell up. Using a decongestant can reduce this, relieving dicomfort and allowing you to breath more easily. People opt for this method because it provides very quick relief. 

 Some nasal drops contain also contain antihistamine which will relieve the other symptims, such as itchy and watery eyes. These can be both bought over the counter, and prescribed by your GP. Some 

 Again these should only be used as a short term solution as, when used for a long period of time, the spray can dry and irritate the nasal area. Or even worsen the symptoms. 

 

Eye Drops

  Eye drops that are used for treating hay-fever contain antihistamine are effective in treating dry and irritated eyes, as well as reducing itching and redness. This method is considered extremely safe and suitable for long term use. However, in some cases can cause stinging or burning sensation in the eyes. These eye drops can be bought easily over the counter and do not require a prescription.

 

Complimentary therapies and Drug Free Solutions 

 

Homeopath/Immune Therapy

 This method can be used as a preventative method or to treat current symptoms. You may consider this if you have tried several methods and they have been unsuccessful, or simply because you dont want to take over the counter medication.

 Homeopathy is the idea that gradual introduction of small amounts of the allergen, in this case pollen, into your body can remove the symptoms. They will monitor your initial allergic reactions to this in a controlled environment, such as a specialist medical centre. 

 You can be given this either in tablet form or in an injection. After being monitered you can continue this treatment safely at home.

 In your first year of using homeopthy, it is begins three months before the start of pollen season. The amount of allergen you are given will be gradually increased as you gradually build up and immunity to the allergen and your hay-fever symptoms should decrease. Treatment should be given for up to three years to ensure long term relief. However, if homeopathy is working for you, patients should see their hay-fever symptoms begin to diminish significantly within the first year. 

 

Pollen Honey

This is taken from the idea that the honey local to you, contains the same local pollen and if you ingest it, it will desensitise you to the allergens. The honey should preferably come from within 10 miles of your home.

 There is conflicting opinions where some believe you should begin to eat the honey two months before pollen season, where others believe it should be 6 months. After pollen season begins, eating the honey will not help, especially if youre already experiencing symptoms. You can choose to eat the honey to your own preference, how you ingest it does not alter its effectiveness.

 

Acupuncture

It has been shown that acupuncture could be a safe and effective treatment for allergic rhinitis, and even have more benefits than conventional medicine. Using acupuncture is said to have shown similar effects to that of using antihistamines. 

 This is because acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause a release of neurochemical messenger molecules. With the results being overall phsyical and emotional wellbeing. Inflammation is reduced as it helps proper flow of energy throughout your lymphatic system, therefore your defenses will grow stronger and your immune system will respond to the balance. Allowing your body to fight against its reaction to the allergens.

 

Salt therapy/Halotherapy

 As we know by now, salt is a natural anti bacterial and anti inflammatory. So a visit to a salt cave can significantly reduce the inflammation that causes the swelling and nasal discomfort that comes with hay-fever allergy. Salt also removes pathogen agents, which is airborne pollen. 

 Because the salt penetrates the lungs and airways, it helps to cleanse the respiratory system. This will allow you to breathe more easily and reduce sneezing. This will also clear any existing mucus and phlegn from inside your lungs. If you make regular visits to the salt cave you may find not only are your symptoms significantly reduced, but you may have no more need for your antihistamines and other hay-fever medicines. Please find out more about the effectiveness of Halotherapy on our previous blog

If you find you cannot always make it along to a salt cave, salt pipes are a great way to continuing this treatment in the comfort of your own home. If you wish to find out more about Salt Pipes please refer to our previous blog 

 

 Whilst you find one solution has worked for you until now, allergies can and do change so make sure to regularly review your treatment methods. Contact your GP if you are struggling to keep them under control. And whilst it is not yet Hay-fever season itself, we have learnt from this article that you could be starting treatment now as a means to prevent struggling through the summer months.

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