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Hay Fever DIY! Help Without Pills

Hay fever and antihistamines do not affect diabetes and blood sugar, however, if you are sleepy you might not be self-aware of high or low blood sugar symptoms.

Be ready for whatever the hay fever season throws at you. Including thunderfever.

Count yourself as one of the lucky ones who never suffers with hay fever? You could be in for a nasty shock. Experts say — hot, muggy and thunderous weather, combined with seasonal weed pollen and mould spores — can bring sneezes and sniffles to millions of people who thought they were immune. Here’s what you need to do to stay symptom-free…

Wise up to pollen

Avoiding pollen is key to preventing the onslaught of hay fever symptoms. Monitor pollen forecasts and as far as possible, limit the time you spend outdoors when levels are high, say Medical Advisor with Allergy USA. Go online to find forecasts, like a five-day pollen calendar.

Take precautions indoors,too, by keeping your windows and doors closed, say experts. Think about how you dry your clothes — hanging them on a line in the garden could mean pollen collects on them and you then bring it indoors! If you hang bed linen out to trap it, you could have uncomfortable nights in store.

Foods that help

Research at the University of Crete found that patients sticking to a healthy Mediterranean diet suffered fewer hay fever symptoms. One big advantage is that this way of eating focuses on fresh rather than processed foods, say nutritional therapists. It is a bit like the post Second World War diet they had in the UK, when people ate heaps of home-grown and fresh-picked fruit and veg. These give you the B and C vitamins you need to keep your adrenal glands stable and prevent the extra histamine that gets released when you’re stressed. Vitamin C also helps to break down histamine, so the more you have of it the better. By contrast, the more processing food has undergone, the less of these essential nutrients it provides.

Try to include lots of fresh herbs for a healthy immune system and eat  bitter leaves such as rocket, watercress and chicory. These promote better digestion and has a knock-on effect to prevent inflammation and in turn allergic reactions like hay fever, which are more likely when your body is already inflamed.’

A good tip is also to include onions and apples in your diet, they’re full of the antioxidant quercetin, a natural antihistamine that will reduce itchy, sneezy symptoms when you come into contact with pollen.

…. and Foods that harm

Confusingly, although a lovely fresh salad can help prevent hay fever, one that has come from a bag may make it more likely! That’s because the preservatives often added to packs of leaves to stop them going off can trigger a release of histamine when you eat them, say nutritionist experts. You also need to be careful of adding vinegar to your salad dressing, as that can contain histamine. Wine and beer are also high in histamine, as are fermented and marinated foods like pickles.

Often, aged luxury-cheeses, which are deliberately contaminated with bacteria, can be a histamine-ridden nightmare and some otherwise healthy foods, such as aubergines and spinach, are also naturally high in histamine!

lf all this sounds like a culinary minefield and you fear ending up with nothing you can eat, start by cutting out wine. A study in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy showed how women who drank two or more glasses of wine a day were at double the risk of hay fever symptoms, even if they’d never had the allergy before. It is also worth cutting back on caffeine, as it impacts your adrenal glands, increasing the amount of histamine you produce.

Put up a banner if you’re venturing outdoors, wear wrap-around sunglasses and a hat with a brim to prevent pollen getting into your eyes and hair. You can also try using a nasal balm to trap pollen particles before they enter your nostrils.

Have sex regularly!

A most recent study found that sex constricts the blood vessels in your nose and eyes, which directly helps the eyes to stop streaming and aids the nose to stay unblocked instead of stuffy.

Go herbal 

If you prefer to avoid medicines, try a herbal remedy such as Hayfever Tablets, or a Pollen Spray, to rinse and cleanse your nose of pollen. 

When you have to take pills…

…talk to your pharmacist. They are often the best first port of call. A daily non-sedating antihistamine is the first-line treatment for hay fever and there are a variety of preparations available to suit individual needs.

You’ll probably save money, too, if you can get to know the key ingredients and ask for these by name. For example, the big brand Clarityn is the same as Loratadine, which costs about a tenth of the price if you buy it by its generic name from behind the pharmacy counter.

Beyond antihistamines, corticosteroid nasal sprays help to prevent inflammation, but you need to start taking these about two weeks before your symptoms strike. Once your nostrils are inflamed it will be harder for the active ingredient beclometasone to penetrate.

Give it the needle

A study in 2013 found that acupuncture could reduce the immediate symptoms of hay fever although the effects did not last in the long term. Acupuncturists believe your body’s natural energy or ‘chi’ level makes you more or less resilient to conditions such as hay fever, say researchers of the Leeds Acupuncture Clinic. Stimulating the qu-chi acupuncture point on your elbow can improve the natural energy level so your body doesn’t react when it comes into contact with pollen. You can also do this yourself, using a Qu-Chi Acupressure Band.

Exposure to more pollen!!

The treatment known as – immunotherapy – uses mega doses of pollen to help sufferers build up their resistance. It’s available on prescription and given as an injection or a pill, but you have to commit to three years of treatment.

It’s an option if you have severe hay fever that significantly impacts your daily life, but you’d need to talk to your GP to be assessed for eligibility and then referred to an allergy specialist. It offers a cure for hay fever, according to a study of 106 patients in London’s Royal Brompton Hospital. 

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