Sun is shining. Birdsong fills the bright-blue skies. And there you are, wheezing and spluttering through it all. It can be hard to appreciate some of Mother Nature’s summertime wonders when you’re a hay fever sufferer. The smell of freshly mown grass? Provokes an attack. All the leaves sprouting on those park trees? Provokes an attack. Pretty meadow flowers flourishing in the hedgerows? Provokes an attack.
You see, hay fever – or allergic rhinitis to give it its fancy name – is most prevalent in warmer months. This is because the allergy is triggered by airborne particles such as mould spores and pollen found in trees, grasses and weeds. Symptoms range from watery eyes and constantly-running nose, to itchy throat and pressure in the sinuses.
Thankfully, there are natural ways to alleviate this perennial affliction. Here are our six top tips:
1. Go to the source with honey
Fight pollen with pollen. Hay fever kicks into action as an immune response to pollen in the air. Research has shown that adding just one spoon of local, organic honey to your diet can help to desensitize you to pollen’s effects. Bees pollinate on grasses and wild flowers so their honey contains miniscule particles of the pollen that causes your allergies. Think of the bee-pollen as your vaccine for all other pollen aggressors.
2. Add some spice
Ever notice how eating a hot curry can cause your nose to stream? This is because peppers are natural decongestants. They contain an active component called capsaicin which serves to open up nasal passages. Harness this power to minimise all the sniffling and snuffling associated with hay fever. It will help you to breathe more easily.
3. Brew some soothing chamomile
Herbal teas are always a good idea. They help to boost the immune system and provide a healthy, caffeine-free alternative to your morning cappuccino. Chamomile tea in particular is quite the wonder-worker. Not only is it brimming with anti-oxidants, it also acts as a natural antihistamine, suppressing the worst symptoms of a hay fever attack. So pour yourself a cuppa, sit back and relax.
4. Keep symptoms at bay with garlic
Stay back vampires! And you too hay fever! Working garlic into your diet can help combat allergic reactions. Used as part of a holistic approach to the seasonal allergy, garlic – with its anti-inflammatory, antihistamine and decongestant properties – can help to provide some relief. Be gone puffy eyes, tickly throat and wheezy cough!
5. Steer clear of dairy
Try and avoid consuming too much dairy when hay fever rolls around. That means cutting down on milk, cheese, yoghurt and chocolate (sorry chocoholics). Dairy is naturally quite cloying and mucous-stimulating (gross) and can really exacerbate the feelings of congestion brought on by hay fever. Opt for water or vitamin C rich fruit drinks instead.
6. Treat puffy eyes with cold teabags
When hay fever strikes and you find yourself peering out from swollen, red, streaming eyes – reach for some cold tea bags. Yes, really. The tea is full of tannins which has been proven to bring down swelling and puffiness. Allow two tea bags to soak in warm (not hot) water and then chill for a few moments in the fridge. Place on your eyes and breathe a sigh of relief.
To ease the claustrophobic feelings of congestion, why not try Frezymar Normal, our hypertonic nasal decongestant. Made with 100% natural seawater from the Brittany coast, this spray naturally relieves decongestion caused by colds, hay fever and allergies.