Did you know around 1 in 5 Australians experience Hay fever? Hay fever is a common term for allergic rhinitis and is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in Australia. It causes irritation and can cause massive interference in the quality of life of sufferers. Along with irritation, other conditions that can occur alongside hay fever include asthma, chronic sinusitis, otitis media (middle ear infection) and decreased quality of sleep.
WHEN IS HAY FEVER SEASON?
Although there is no standardised network to monitor the timing and levels of pollen exposure, we know state to state. In the Melbourne area there is usually a short but intense grass pollen season that peaks in late Spring, around October to November.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HAY FEVER?
- Runny or blocked nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
- Can be seasonal
WHAT CAUSES HAY FEVER?
Pollen is the leading cause of seasonal hay fever, but there are other common causes of hay fever, including:
- Animal fur
- Fungal Spores
- Air pollutants
- Occupational sources
Does this sound like you? Not to worry, we have you covered! We asked our naturopath Madeline what we can do to alleviate symptoms of hay fever, and she has some awesome advice!
HOW CAN I MANAGE HAY FEVER NATURALLY?
I often get asked, “Is there anything I can do to manage my hay-fever naturally?” Because unlike food or pet allergies, where restricting contact with the allergen is possible and relatively easy, avoiding allergens come hay-fever season is as easy as, umm, not breathing? Not exactly a viable option for those of us with, you know, lungs.
For many of us, there is no escape when it comes to hay fever. However, this doesn’t mean that nothing can be done about it, or that antihistamines are your only treatment option. When it comes to taking a natural approach to hay fever, there are two main things I like to consider:
YOUR HOME ENVIRONMENT
This should be your refuge from the outside world. Think about what you are bringing in to your home: on your clothes, your shoes, even your washing that’s been drying in that lovely springtime (but pollen-heavy) breeze. Simple strategies such as taking your shoes off and having a shower when you get in from work/school/outside can make all the difference to reducing the severity of your hay-fever. If you can reduce your exposure to the allergens that set off your hay fever, you can reduce your symptoms.
YOUR BODY’S BARRIER FUNCTION
Hay-fever is our body’s overreaction to harmless allergens in the air. These allergens penetrate our skin and respiratory tract lining (some of our body’s barriers) and start an immune response. What we see as swelling, redness, itching, heat and nasal discharge (tissue anyone?) Is actually our body trying to put up a fight. So to take the fight out of the dog, so to speak, we need to improve our barrier function to be less permeable and less reactive.
This can be done by improving our diet to address any nutritional deficiencies and increase our intake of antioxidants such as vitamin C and quercetin, and by supporting our body’s microbiome (healthy bacteria) which plays a massive role in deciding what allergens our body reacts to. Below I’ve included a delicious smoothie recipe, which helps to address some of the things that might be driving hay-fever for you. For a more personalised treatment strategy consider a consultation with myself where we can go through your individual health and wellness goals one on one.
HAYFEVER BUSTING SMOOTHIE
1 Green apple- peeled, cored and chopped (Apples are naturally high in quercetin, an antioxidant with histamine reducing properties)
1/2 cup of pineapple chunks (Pineapple contains natural enzymes that help to breakdown mucus and support healthy microbiome)
1/2 cup of frozen cauliflower (surprisingly delicious in smoothies as it adds a creaminess and is full of prebiotic fibre for gut health)
1 teaspoon of grated ginger (a natural anti-inflammatory)
1 probiotic capsule opened up and tipped into the mix
1 cup of filtered water (more or less depending on your preference)
Blend all ingredients together for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached.
Drink up and enjoy the sunshine!
If you would like to make an appointment with Madeline, call us on 5200 1044, or you can book online here.