Spring – that time of year we should look forward to as summer is just around the corner. Unless you are an allergy sufferer. Then this is a time that you dread.
With spring the air becomes filled with pollens, which can leave some people suffering from Allergic Rhinitis, with symptoms such as a runny nose, inflamed, itchy eyes and unbearable sneezing. These symptoms are all caused by an acute immune response and inflammation associated with exposure to allergens. The symptoms, although unpleasant, is the body’s way of trying to rid itself of airborne allergens breathed in through the nose and mouth.
There are two types of Allergic Rhinitis. Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, commonly referred to as Hay Fever, which occurs during the warmer months of the year, particularly spring. Airborne pollens are the most common trigger for Hay Fever. Perennial Allergic Rhinitis, lasts throughout the year and most commonly is triggered by dust mites, animal dander and moulds.
Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
• Red itchy, watery eyes
• Itchy mouth, throat, ears and face
• Stuffy, runny nose
• Swollen eyes
• Headaches, sinus pressure
• Sore throat
• Post-nasal drip
Natural and Orthodox Treatment
Medical treatment involves the use of medication, either tablets or nasal sprays that reduce inflammation and suppress symptoms, but do little to address the cause. Natural options work to support your immune system and strengthen the barrier function of the mucus membranes, in your respiratory tract, helping you to build a natural resistance to allergens.
The key to success is to prepare early and have a program tailored to suit your individual needs. Some of the supplements that Naturopaths prescribe, include, but are not limited to:
Echinacea – a powerful immune modulator, helping to strengthen and modulate your immune system. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce the symptoms of inflammation
Baical Skullcap – a herb specific for allergies. Working to downregulate the immune systems response to allergens, while decreasing inflammation and the symptoms of hay fever
Golden Seal – is specific to support mucus membrane strength and helps to decrease inflammation in the nose and mouth due to allergies. It has specific properties to help decrease nasal secretions in allergies and support the immune system
Bioflavonoids – bioflavonoids are found in brightly coloured red and orange vegetables. Bioflavonoids help to decrease inflammation and strengthen the mucous membranes and delicate blood vessels in the nose and mouth. They also help reduce the release of histamine, which causes the symptoms of hay fever.
Vitamin C – has long been known to support the immune system. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and decreases the release of histamine in response to allergies.
Zinc – is one of the most important nutrients for immune health and unfortunately, in Australia, zinc deficiency is quite widespread. It helps to improve the antibody response to allergens and regulates the function of the immune cells in the body. It is vital for tissue strength and will help to strengthen the delicate mucous membranes in the respiratory tract.
In a previous article on hay fever, I also discuss the importance of vitamin D in pregnancy and the baby’s risk of developing seasonal allergies.
If you would like help in dealing with this year’s spring pollen attack give me a call or send me an email. I can tailor a support program for you!