What is Hay Fever?
Sneezing, runny nose, water eyes, and other cold-like symptoms are experienced by someone who has hay fever. What is different between the common cold and hay fever is that the common cold is often caused by a virus while hay fever is often caused by allergens. Of course, there are a number of other possible reasons aside from allergens but these allergens are still the most common factors that cause hay fever.
Hay fever is often considered as a seasonal ailment because the highest reported incidences are those that occur in spring. The main reason for this is that it is in spring that pollen is most abundant. Still, this does not mean that hay fever only occurs in spring. On the contrary, it can occur during any season. In fact, there are people who have perennial hay fever. This type is something that is often found in young children.
Following the adage that prevention is much better than cure, patients should ensure that they are not exposed to the allergens that could trigger a bout of hay fever. To do this, they can wear masks when going out, especially to areas with trees, plants, or are polluted.
Diet for Hay Fever
- Include ginger in the diet or in preparing foods. Ginger is known to be a very potent decongestant while at the same time helping cleanse the body of toxins. For most who cannot stand chewing ginger, they would rather sip ginger tea made from boiling some chunks of ginger. On the other hand, some just chew ginger while dipping it in honey to help neutralize the taste.
- Pungent as it is, garlic is also a potent decongestant as well as enhancing the blood circulation in the body.
- Make sure to drink your cup of coffee every morning. The warmth and decongesting properties of coffee will clean the airways to make breathing easier.
- Consume fresh fruits and vegetables regularly. One way to do this is to extract the juices from fresh fruits and drinking it for breakfast. This will keep your immune system boosted and the body nourished because of the supply of essential nutrients.
- Prepare a drink by boiling a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds to a cup of water. Drink the preparation at least a cup a day to offer relief from hay fever. For others, the drink is consumed in between meals, often as a substitute for coffee.
Hay Fever Prevention Measures
However, because allergens such as pollens and molds are airborne, avoidance is very difficult and may even prove impossible if one spends a lot of time outdoors. Nonetheless, when one contemplates on the ill effects of hay fever, preventing it becomes very important, even if it is very daunting.
- Avoid going outdoors during seasons when there is an increased level of pollens in the air. In the United States, it is possible to learn of the pollen level in the air because the government regularly measures it. However, if one cannot avoid going out, wearing a simple face mask will do a lot to minimize or prevent inhalation of pollens or molds.
- When at home, keep doors and windows closed.
- Avoid lying near or off freshly cut grass to prevent inhaling the pollen or molds in there.
- Keep beddings, clothes, and other garments clean.
- To keep the home free from any allergens, vacuum it frequently.
- Before going to bed, make sure to shower first to wash off any pollen or molds that may be sticking to one’s garments.
What are the Hay Fever Remedies?
Although there are antihistamine and histamine blocker medications readily available, these medications do not offer satisfying relief at all times. Moreover, taking them requires constant dosage that can be costly. In spite of it all, histamine blockers may not be really effective at all. As such, home remedies are popular because they are just as effective or even more so, yet are less costly. The following are some of the most common home remedies for hay fever:
- When experiencing persistent irritation in the nose, try applying petroleum jelly on the side.
- Chew garlic. In doing so, try to be creative with the pungent herb. One may dip it in mayonnaise or downed by fruit juices to somehow reduce the smell.
- Drink peppermint at least twice a day to treat nasal congestion.
- Drink a cup of coffee each morning. Coffee is a very powerful decongestant and drinking it will help clear the airways for easier breathing.
- Consume one tablespoon a mixture of boiled grapefruit and lemon juice after each meal every day. To make it taste better, one may opt to add honey to it.
- Drink ginger tea by boiling some chunks of garlic for at least 30 minutes. Drink the tea at least twice a day.
Causes of Hay Fever
- Pollen is the main cause for having hay fever. Hay fever comes about due to the reaction of the body’s immune system to the presence of foreign elements in the air that a person breathes.
- Once the foreign elements have been detected, the immune system reacts, believing the foreign elements to be harmful substance. As a result, the body produces the antibody immunoglobulin to fight off the perceived harmful elements.
- In turn immunoglobulin triggers the production of histamine to flush off the pollen out of the body’s airways. Because of this process, the symptoms of hay fever—irritation and sneezing—results.
- Another cause of hay fever is the presence of molds. Just like with pollens, molds are also airborne and may also stick to several items such as clothing or even the walls of a building.
- Molds are a kind of fungus that is carried by the wind, attaching themselves to places where they find the environment hospitable to their growth.
- The main difference between molds and pollen is that the latter is seasonal but molds are present in the atmosphere anytime of the year. That is why it is possible to develop hay fever even in times that do not coincide with the haying season.
Hay Fever Symptoms
The severity and the type of symptoms present in a person suffering from hay fever may vary from one individual to another. This is because hay fever is essentially a body’s reaction. As such, the intensity of the symptoms depends a lot on the extent of the body’s reaction to it.
- Frequent sneezing: This type of sneezing is not the variant that is due to colds but sneezing that is sudden as well as being accompanied by an irritation in the nose.
- A stuffy and blocked nose.
- Itching in the throat area as well as in the nose.
- Itchy, red, and watery eyes.
- Inability to accurately describe the taste or smell of a food. This is mainly due to the nose being blocked, reducing the sensitivity of the nose to discriminate tastes and smell.
- In other cases, there is runny nose.
- A sensation of giving plugged ears
- Having postnasal drip.
- Having trouble falling asleep. This is mainly due to the irritation in the nose, the dripping from the nose, as well as the sensation of having blocked ears.
- Body fatigue. This is a result of the accumulation of all the harmful effects that the body suffers from.