After enduring the cold and harsh winter, many people long for the weather shift that comes with spring. However, the arrival of springtime also brings with it flowering buds, blooming trees and warm breezes that can be bothersome to those who suffer from seasonal allergies such as hay fever.
The onset of hay fever can be difficult to identify, given that many of its symptoms overlap with the common cold. However, if symptoms develop at about the same time each year and last more than a week or two, it is likely that you are suffering from a seasonal allergy. These symptoms can include:
- Runny or congested nose, sniffling and snorting
- Throat clearing
- Itchy, runny eyes and nose
Whilst seasonal allergies cannot be cured, they can be managed. The following steps can be taken to reduce your exposure to common allergens that trigger your symptoms:
- Keep your living area free of as much dust and mould as possible through regular cleaning.
- Avoid hanging laundry outside to dry, as pollens and other allergens may stick to clothing, towels and sheets.
- Use air conditioners whenever possible rather than opening doors and windows, to reduce exposure to pollen in both your home and your car.
- Replace you pillows every 2 to 3 years to prevent dust mite build up.
- Stay inside on windy days or when pollen counts soar (regularly check a weather guide). Pollen is usually at its peak mid-morning, in the early evening and whenever the wind is blowing.
- Use saline-based nasal sprays when experiencing nasal congestion or an itchy nose. These will help to clear your airway from dust and pollens that have been inhaled and can be purchased from your local chemist for a very reasonable price.
- Stay hydrated! Frequent sneezing and blowing you nose can leave you dehydrated.
- When itchy eyes are giving you grief, apply a cold compress to sooth the itchiness and irritation.
- Avoid rubbing itchy eyes, as this may further irritate your eyes or can transfer additional allergens from your hands into the eye area. Instead, wipe the area over with a damp washcloth.
- Drink warm teas, such as nettle and chamomile, which have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties to help manage allergies. The steam from a warm cup of tea may also help to relieve sinus congestion.
- Supplement regularly during springtime! Vitamin C has proven efficacious in the treatment of hay fever as it enhances immune function and inhibits histamine release (the chemical driver behind allergic flare up).
Written by Julia D’Angelo, Naturopath.