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  • Writer's pictureJenny Whitfield

Natural ways to survive hayfever season

woman in a field at sunset

The sun is out – hooray! – but for many of use that means itchy eyes, runny nose, headaches and all the other horrible symptoms of hayfever.


Hayfever is an exaggerated immune response to pollen and other allergens like dust mites and cat or dog dander. If your hayfever started in March or April you’re probably allergic to tree pollen, June and July it’s grass and weed pollen is worst in June to September.

When your immune system detects pollen it sees it as dangerous and messages your mast cells to release histamine. Histamine’s job is to rid you of the allergen – so, for example, if your nose has been irritated it will tell cells inside your nose to produce more mucous to flush the pollen out and will constrict the nasal passages to stop more pollen getting in. But that can be really unpleasant!

There are plenty of anti-histamine medications - as well as steroids and decongestants - to help with symptoms, but they can have side-effects and long-lasting effects from disrupting the body’s natural defence mechanisms. Many of us prefer to try a more natural approach and work with our bodies. So here are my top tips for natural ways to survive hayfever season.


Limit exposure

It may seem obvious, but limiting your exposure to pollen will lessen the severity of the response.

So keep windows and doors shut on high pollen days, avoid hanging your washing outside, change your clothes and wash your hair if you’ve been exposed to pollen.

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and wrap-around sunglasses will stop some pollen reaching your eyes and nose. Putting balm, such as Weleda’s calendula all purpose balm, or even olive oil under your nose will trap pollen particles before you breathe them in. Pollen counts rise as it gets warmer so get outside first thing if possible.

Regular vacuuming with HEPA filter will remove the pollen from inside your home.


Use natural remedies

Weleda hayfever products

Weleda have several natural, non-toxic products to help you survive hayfever season.

Hayfever Relief spray uses organic plant extracts to soothe hayfever and other allergy symptoms. It’s an easy to use oral spray suitable for anyone aged 12+

Weleda also produce Mixed Pollen tablets for age 6+. They need to be taken before hayfever season starts to allow your body to adjust and desensitise. Eating local unprocessed honey works in the same way, especially for tree pollen allergy, but again it needs to be started early. Buy some this summer and start eating it in the winter. A warm honey and lemon drink is soothing for irritated throats.

Rhinodoron Nasal Spray uses soothing organic aloe vera to soothe and clear stuffy noses. It’s suitable for vegans and can be used on babies. A steam inhalation with Rosemary bath milk also provides relief from congestion and is very calming. Click on the image to find out more or to place an order.


Stress reduction

Our bodies produce several chemicals in response to stress, and one of these is histamine. If you’re stressed and high in histamine before the allergies start, your response will be even worse when they do! So stress reduction is an important way to manage hayfever. You’ll need to find out what works for you – exercise, breathwork, meditation, hobbies and holistic therapies are all worth a try.

Sleep is also key and can disrupted by hayfever symptoms, so make sure you have a cool, quiet, dark room to sleep in, with regular sleep and wake times.


Reflexology

The aim of reflexology is to restore the body’s natural balance. Stress and allergic reactions affect the chemicals in the body – reflexology helps return them to normal. It calms the immune response, soothes irritated sinuses, releases tension, eases headaches, aids sleep and improves your sense of wellbeing. Facial reflexology works over the affected areas so can be even more effective.

During a treatment I can work a range of reflex points to bring about balance, but there are some easy techniques you can use on yourself or your family.

The pad of the big toes and thumbs has the reflex for the head and the finger and toe pads have the sinus reflexes. Massaging them can help relieve stuffy heads and congestion. The ball of the foot and corresponding area of the hand has the reflexes for the lungs.

A really soothing technique is to slide a cold teaspoon or crystal roller over the cheekbones and browbones. Use a bit of moisturiser or facial oil to protect the skin and always work from the centre outwards.


Diet

bowl of fresh blueberries

Food also has a powerful impact on our histamine levels. When we need to lower the overall histamine levels in our bodies it’s worth eating foods that are naturally low in histamine or able to reduce histamine levels. These include blueberries, grapes, kale, broccoli, garlic, ginger, turmeric, rice, quinoa, fresh meat and fresh fish.

Some foods are high in histamine and some affect how it is broken down. Food that has been preserved or kept for too long will have higher histamine. Things to limit are wheat, dairy, citrus, kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes, tea, coffee, wine, pickled and fermented food, canned fish and preserved meat.

 

So there are lots of things you can do to support your body through hayfever season in a safe, holistic and natural way. If you’re interested in how reflexology could help you, please get in touch!

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