Hay fever, medically termed allergic rhinitis, is an allergic response to pollen that effects the mucous membranes of the air passages, eyes and nose. Symptoms include watery discharge from the eyes and nose, itchy eyes and/or throat, sneezing and nervous irritability.
There are actually three hay fever seasons. Tree pollens appear first, usually between February and May, depending on the local climate. Then later in spring and summer there are both tree and grass pollens. Then in the fall is ragweed pollen season. Hay fever may be present at any or all of these times.
Although antihistamines are the most conventional treatment for hay fever, they can also cause drowsiness, depression and other undesirable side effects.
The best and safest way to control allergies is the natural way - by avoiding allergens, taking steps to normalize immune function and prevent or lessen the symptoms.
Ways to avoid allergens:
1. Spend as little time outside as possible. Avoid the hours between 5:00 AM and 10:00 AM when pollen levels are at their highest.
2. Keep pets either inside or outside. Pets can pick up pollen on their fur and bring it indoors with them.
3. Shower and change your clothes when you come indoors after spending time outside. Pollen can stick to your clothes and hair, especially on a windy day. Washing your hair will help to keep the pollen from getting in your eyes.
4. Line drying laundry is asking for an allergy attack. Use the dryer.
5. Keep home and car windows closed to keep the pollen outside. Run an air conditioner continuously to filter air and keep out the pollens. Be sure to keep the filters clean in the air conditioner.
NOTE: If you must have a breath of fresh air - installing special filters in open windows will trap allergens before they have a chance to blow inside and get into carpet, furniture and linens. Check your local hardware store for window filters.
6. Wear your sunglasses. This will keep pollen and other allergens out of your eyes - avoiding itchiness, redness and runniness.
7. Rinse pollen out of your nasal passages before bedtime using a saline nasal spray.
Steps to normalize immune function:
Because the body's immune system can be weakened by allergic reactions, many nutritional consultants advise giving it a boost with a daily multi-vitamin / mineral supplement in addition to any optional supplements.
8. Quercetin - a bioflavonoid and antioxidant that has natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effects. It can provide fast relief, it keeps the body from releasing histamines, thereby suppressing hay fever and cold symptoms. Take 400 milligrams twice daily before meals.
9. Vitamin A - protects the mucous membranes and reduces susceptibility to infection. In the form of beta carotene, take 25,000 to 75,000 IU daily for one month, then 10,000 to 25,000 IU per day.
10. Vitamin B compex - all B vitamins are necessary for proper immune system functioning. Take as directed on label.
11. Vitamin C with bioflavonoid - helps detoxify foreign substances entering the body. A potent immune system stimulant. Take 3,000 to 10,000 milligrams three times daily.
12. Vitamin E - boosts the immune system. Take 400 to 800 IU daily.
13. Zinc - boosts immune function. Use zinc gluconate lozenges for better absorption. Take 50 to 80 milligrams daily.
14. Kelp - is a rich source of minerals. Take as directed on label twice daily.
The following herbal remedies may help prevent or lesson the symptoms of hay fever.
15. Watercress - said to be an anti-allergen. Eat it in salads, sandwiches and sauces. It is potent, so eat it in small portions at a time.
16. Peppermint or spearmint - the menthol in these herbs helps to relax and open air passages. Put a few drops of essential oil in a pot of hot steaming water and inhale the scented steam.
17. Eyebright - this herb is recommended for the treatment of watery, red eyes associated with allergies and colds. It is known to have astringent, antihistamine and antiviral properties. Take 3 to 5 drops of a tincture orally three times a day for relief.
18. Stinging nettle - this plant extract is an excellent antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. This herb not only provides relief for itchy, irritated eyes, but also for scratchy throats. It is also rich in iron and trace minerals. Take 435 milligram capsule every 2 to 4 hours as needed.
19. Feverfew - contains the ingredient parthenolide which reduces swelling in the sinuses. Buy a product standardized to contain at least 0.7% parthenolide. Take 500 milligrams two or three times daily.
20. The herbs horehound, mullein leaf and wild cherry bark may help to ward off severe allergic reactions.
CAUTION: Plant remedies should not be used by those who are allergic to that plant. Anyone who experiences heart palpitations or a skin rash from a medicinal plant should discontinue use.