How to deal with Hay Fever
Dealing with hay fever can be an absolute nightmare. The interesting news is that you’re not the only one dealing with the issue and it is estimated that about 10% of the population may have hay fever. Hay fever comes about when the immune system overreacts with pollen or fungal spores. It usually lasts throughout a season and may peak when pollen counts are highest. Depending on the type of allergic reaction one has, symptoms may be experienced throughout the year.
Hay fever symptoms
Usually, the symptoms associated with hay fever can be cyclical and may vary in severity. Typical symptoms include
• Sneezing and coughing
• Runny or blocked nose
• Itchy, red or watery eyes
• Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
Some of these symptoms can be mistaken for cold but unlike colds, hay fever tends to longer.
Hay fever causes
Hay fever is mainly caused by an allergy to pollen – specifically when there is contact between pollen grains and the lining of the nose and eyes. Flowering plants produce pollen grains which are invisible to the naked eye. These pollen grains contain proteins which trigger the allergies when they come into contact with the nose or eyes.
Other hay fever allergens include spores from fungi and molds, chemical irritants, genetics, hygienic conditions, weather and pollution.
Hay fever remedies
The best option in dealing with hay fever is to limit the exposure you have with allergens. Some recommended ways of limiting exposure includes
Staying indoors if possible
• Regular cleaning up and vacuuming
• Dealing with mold
• Using air filter with a special HEPA filter
• Eating foods with high essential fatty acid content
Supplements are very important especially when one is not able to gain all the required nutrients from proper healthy diets. People who find it challenging to eat a balanced diet regularly can use supplements as a great option to meet any nutrient deficiencies they may have.
Hay fever and Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that has good antioxidant properties, potentially protecting cells from oxidative damage. There’s not much this vitamin doesn’t do for you. Vitamin C is well known for its ability to fight colds and flu due to its antioxidant properties and it is one of the most widely used vitamin supplements in the world. Taking Vitamin C is also essential for enhancing the immune system and may help reduce the symptoms associated with hay fever. There are lots of drugs and tablets on the market that counteract our natural histamines, called antihistamines. Some of these have drowsy effects on the body and are may also not be good for people with other health conditions like high blood pressure, kidney problems or lung disease.
In a reported study, Vitamin C was reported to have reduced hay fever symptoms in 74% of patients. Other studies suggest taking Vitamin C can reduce histamine levels in the blood by as much as 40% and as a result, reactions to allergens are reduced. According to the ‘Food Doctor’ Ian Marber, a low intake of this vitamin may lead to a build-up of histamine in the bloodstream and cause attacks of hay fever. Generally, high doses of Vitamin C (5000mg and over/day) can cause diarrhea or abdominal bloating. It is recommended one takes an absolute minimum of 1000mg per day and because Vitamin C is in and out of the body within a few hours, its best to spread the doses throughout the day. Taking Vitamin C regularly for several weeks should calm down your allergies and may stay away for as long as you keep taking these vitamins.
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Blake, S. (2008). Vitamins and minerals demystified. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Green, W. (2011). 50 Things You Can Do Today to Manage Hay Fever. Chichester: Summersdale.