In summer, do you often wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat, runny eyes and nose? Then read on to find out what I did to get rid of hay fever.
What is Hay Fever?
Nobody had even heard of hay fever 200 years ago, until Dr. John Bostock; a hay fever sufferer himself, presented a study in 1819 to the Medical & Chirurgical Society. This study was called, the “Case of a Periodical Affection of the Eyes and Chest.”
He noticed that it always occurred in June and he described symptoms that we’d recognised today. He also described the ways he tried to treat it; including bleeding, cold baths, taking opium and self-induced vomiting. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t work!
Most trees, grasses and weeds produce extremely small, light, dry protein particles, smaller than a tip of a pin called “pollen”. Pollen then lodges in the nasal lining tissues and other parts of the respiratory tract.
When a usually harmless substance like pollen gets in our bodies, our immune systems alerts a protective substance called immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to fight it. Specialised cells called mast cells get involved which release a variety of chemicals into the tissues and blood. One of these; histamine, which causes fluid leaking from cells, itching and swelling.
How to Manage Hay Fever.
Advice includes staying indoors, keep windows and doors shut, dry your washing indoors and wash your clothes every day, after you’ve been outside.
Now come on. How can anyone stay indoors all the time! Who wants their windows and doors shut when it’s hot and sunny! Should us hay fever sufferers hibernate?
We can take antihistamine medications which protect tissues from the allergic response but they don’t stop histamine forming, nor, do they stop the allergic reaction. Also, unfortunately, anti-histamines have side effects like drowsiness.
A trick to try is to rub petroleum jelly around your nose because it traps the pollen before it gets into your system.
Foods to try to reduce your hay fever.
Through my reading, I was pleasantly surprised to find that certain foods can help to reduce hay fever symptoms. Such as:-
Fresh ginger, garlic, onions, apples, berries, carrots, oily fish, broccoli, tomatoes, pineapples and oils like pumpkin seed and flaxseed. These foods contain anti-histamine chemicals like quercetin, which are capable of disrupting histamine receptors in our immune systems and reducing inflammation.
Unfortunately, caffeine, dairy, alcohol and sugary foods need to be either reduced or eliminated because they can actually worsen hay fever. Damn!
My own experiences with hay fever and how I dealt with it.
I found that my symptoms got worse over the years. I love summer and I want to be outside as much as I can.
A couple of years ago, summer came along, I braced myself for the onslaught of my nose running etc. However, the weeks passed, apart from the occasional symptom, I hardly had it!!
I had started to eat frozen berries as part of my breakfast and used garlic cloves in my cooking. So, I put it down to changes I made in my diet, and I’m genuinely thrilled at the difference it has made to my hay fever symptoms.
I still eat frozen berries in my breakfast. I struggle to digest milk so I use milk substitutes like soya and almond. Obviously, cows milk is an excellent source of calcium and D vitamins. Therefore, if you try these substitutes, make sure calcium and D vitamins have been added to it.
So, if you suffer from hay fever, like me, why not give the above foods a try, like apples, berries and garlic etc. and reduce your intake of caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
Sources: NHS, Medicinenet.com,