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Natural Ways to Relieve Hay Fever

Last Updated Jun 10, 2021

Natural Ways to Relieve Hay Fever

Want to get rid of the stuffy nose and other allergy symptoms that come with hay fever? There are many natural remedies that can help alleviate them, which we will be discussing in detail in this article. Hay fever is a common condition that can last for weeks or months, depending on the nature and source of the allergy. While there are conventional treatments available, many of these come with nasty side effects that could even worsen the symptoms. Natural products are worth considering in the treatment of hay fever and can be used alone or as an adjunct therapy. Please read on to find out more about which remedies may suit you.

What is Hay Fever?

Otherwise known as allergic rhinitis or pollinosis, hay fever is an allergic reaction triggered by allergens such as dust, pollen, house dust mites, grass, mould spores, animal fur or hair and air pollution. The condition tends to occur seasonally for people who are sensitive to outdoor allergens, or at any time of the year for those whose allergies are triggered by indoor allergens.

Hay fever occurs when allergens become trapped in the fine hairs and mucous membranes of the nasal passages, mouth, throat and lungs. The immune system reacts by stimulating the release of the antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which is designed to fight and eliminate the allergens. Histamine is then released from the IgE to flush the allergens out of the airways, which produces a list of symptoms described below. 

Symptoms of Hay Fever

People who have a medical history of asthma or any allergic conditions have an increased risk of developing hay fever. The symptoms of the condition depends on the allergy triggers and the level of sensitivity of the body's immune system. However, the most common symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Coughing
  • Headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Itchy nose, mouth, eyes, throat, ear and skin
  • Impaired smell
  • Wheezing
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Stuffy and runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping problems

How to Relieve Hay Fever Naturally

There is no better way to control the symptoms of hay fever than by avoiding what triggers them altogether, according to allergy specialists. What that means is, don't cut grass or do gardening if you're allergic to grass pollen. Clean the air ducts of your air conditioning system regularly and use air purifiers with high-efficiency particulate air filters if your allergy stems from mould spores. Set boundaries for your furry friend if pet dander makes you sick. Wear a face mask every time you need to leave the house if you're sensitive to tree pollens or air pollution, particularly motor vehicle emissions.

Apart from avoiding your allergy triggers, consuming citrus fruits and herbal remedies, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly will strengthen your immune system and make you less sensitive to allergens. 

We list below other helpful tips to ease hay fever symptoms the natural way.   

1. Balanced Diet

Eating a clean and balanced diet, rich in good quality protein, fruits and vegetables, may reduce hay fever symptoms and strengthen the immune system. Foods that are packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 fatty acids and flavonoids are best as they help ease congestion and boost immunity. 

Drink filtered water only and two cups of chamomile tea or nettle tea every day as these contain natural antihistamines, which can help relieve sneezing, itchy throat, eyes and nose, and the feeling of heaviness. Avoid inflammatory foods at all costs such as flour, dairy products, salt, sugar, alcohol and anything else highly processed.

Other foods that may benefit hay fever sufferers include:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • Chilli peppers
  • Sweet potato
  • Watercress

2. Vitamin Supplements

Specific vitamins and dietary supplements not only reduce hay fever symptoms but support the immune system as well. They help shift your body's negative reaction to different allergens to protect it from potential cell damage. The following is highly recommended during allergy season:

3. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been demonstrated by science to effectively relieve symptoms of hay fever. It does so by correcting and balancing energy flow through the use of needles on the skin, specifically on facial points. This helps to stimulate the immune system, clear congestion, any associated pain and reduce inflammation.

4. Aromatherapy & Essential Oils

The therapeutic aromas of essential oils may relieve hay fever attacks. They are best heated in an oil burner, inhaled on a hanky or over a steaming bucket of hot water. Popular essential oils for hay fever include:

5. Herbs

Several herbs may be used to alleviate sneezing, coughing, itching and congestion symptoms associated with hayfever. They mainly work by strengthening and supporting the allergen-fighting immune system.

Some of these herbs include:

  • Butterbur
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Luffa complex
  • Ginkgo
  • Quercetin
  • Perilla frutescens

6. Indian Head Massage

Used for thousands of years by the Ayurvedic tradition, Indian head massage may assist in clearing hay fever-associated congestion, headache and sinus pain.

Other Tips

  1. Stay indoors if the news reports a high pollen count.
  2. Avoid the outdoors when possible during spring, on windy days or immediately after thunderstorms.
  3. Replace your lawn with paved or bricked areas.
  4. Using your finger, line the inside of your nose with petroleum jelly (eg: Vaseline) to inhibit pollen from touching the lining of your nasal passages.
  5. Wash your eyes out with cold water as often as possible to flush out any pollen.

Pollen causing hay fever

Anyone who was born with a highly sensitive immune system can acquire hay fever. If that sounds like you, don't fret as you don't have to live with the condition forever — nor do you have to rely on conventional treatments and their side effects. You can train your body to adapt to different environmental allergens and change your immune response by maintaining a healthy diet, lifestyle and outlook in life.

To explore more natural treatments to relieve hay fever, get in touch with a certified natural therapist in your area. Check out the comprehensive listing of natural health professionals on the Natural Therapy Pages to find one nearest your place.

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Originally published on Aug 26, 2010

FAQs About Dealing With Hay Fever

Why does hay fever get worse at night?

Hay fever symptoms can occur at any time of day, but they can get worse at night for people who are sensitive to indoor allergens such as dust mites and mould. Regular washing and changing of one's beddings, curtains and carpets are a must to ease symptoms.

What is grass pollen?

Pollen particles contain a protein that causes inflammation, irritation and swelling of the nasal passages, but can also affect the eyes and the throat. If you are allergic to grass pollen, minimise the time you spend outside on high pollen count days.

Can I take garlic before hay season?

Yes, you can. In fact, it is advisable to include garlic in your meals a month or two before the hay fever season begins to strengthen your immune system and prevent congestion and other symptoms. When taken for therapeutic reasons, garlic is best eaten raw.

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