For some people, the onset of spring doesn’t bring on raptures of joy for the returning warmth, sunshine and flowers. Instead, spring brings on dread of the sneezing season – where the extra pollen circulating brings on bouts of sneezing, watery eyes, and a perpetually drippy nose. For these people, life becomes a misery until the season changes again. Although you may be genetically susceptible if you’re one of them – the ‘allergic’ type – there are steps you can take to reduce the load on your immune system and make your life a little more comfortable.
The creatures responsible for your miserable symptoms are your very own border patrol: The immunoglobulins. These members of your immune system spend all their time patrolling your mucous membranes (including your nose, sinuses and eyelids), perpetually alert for potential allergens. When they encounter substances they don’t like they alert other members of your immune system to rush to the area, bringing with them histamine to make your nose sneeze, your eyes water, to eject the invader. The more allergens (of any type) your body encounters, the more intensely your immune system reaction will be. Your most important task is to reduce the allergenic load, and so reduce the intensity of your body’s reactions.
One of the most effective steps you can take in reducing this load is to reduce the amount of allergens your body encounters. Although you can’t affect what’s in the air, you can diminish the amount of potential allergens you encounter in your food. Some people find that reducing or completely eliminating their intake of dairy foods makes all the difference. Others find removing wheat products and additives from their diet during hay fever season has an impact.
The next step is to assess what allergenic load already exists in your home or office. That means dust mites, mould spores and other tiny bugs that lurk amongst the dust bunnies floating under your bed, nestling amongst your bedding, and lurking behind cabinets that you haven’t moved and cleaned behind in….how long? Seems obvious, but these sources of allergic triggers are easily overlooked in your quest for relief.
Another factor to consider is whether you already have a chronic sinus infection, as ongoing inflammation just increases the reactivity of your immune border patrol. It’s easy to succumb to persistent infection if you’re stressed, run down, or spending lots of time in germy environments.
If you only suffer with a mild level of hay fever, over-the-counter homoeopathic remedies may be ideal, as they’re safe to use alongside prescription medication. For more serious hay fever, a consultation with your natural health practitioner (that's me) can help you get effective relief.