Hay fever is an immune-mediated inflammatory response that involves over-secretion of nasal mucous and initiates the release of histamine. Histamine secretion usually results in sneezing, mucous congestion, itchy eyes, throat and/or ears and may be accompanied by skin irritation.
Hay fever may be triggered by seasonal changes (pollen, wind) or may hang around all year (dust mites, animal dander, mould). Left untreated, hay fever can cause headache, sinus infections, disrupted sleep patterns, fatigue, foggy head, irritability, hives and cough. It is helpful to identify the underlying cause of the hay fever and avoid exposure to these substances. This may be done by allergy testing, functional testing or, in some cases, elimination diets. Interestingly, a study conducted in 2017 found that vaccinated children had a much higher risk of developing allergic conditions, such as hay fever, than unvaccinated children.
To reduce the frequency or severity of hay fever, sufferers may make some lifestyle modifications such as reducing exposure to dust mites by removing carpet, replacing pillows frequently, washing linen and frequent dusting.
To help reduce the histamine loading, it is recommended that you minimise your exposure to foods high in histamine and consume foods that support the health of the upper
respiratory tract as well as foods that help to break down mucous. Avoiding mucous- forming foods may be helpful at reducing symptoms.
Ensuring your gut and liver are doing their job by effective nutrient absorption and clearance of toxins will help the body to combat symptoms of hay fever.
Naturopathic medicine works to modulate the body’s immune response so it is less overreactive to allergens and to specifically target symptoms to bring hay fever sufferers
Specific herbal medicines used in the treatment and management of hay fever include Perilla, Eyebright, Echinacea, Albizia and Baical Scullcap. These herbs have actions such as:
o anti-catarrhal (breaks down mucous)
o boost immunity
o aid liver clearance
o tone mucous membranes
If you need some help managing hay fever or other allergic conditions, our Naturopath is here to help.