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Beating Hay fever


By RONKE MACAULAY 




Nose running, eyes watering, sneezing, coughing… Sounds like a nasty case of flu? Perhaps, but on the other hand it might be the dreaded hay fever or allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is caused by the immune system reacting to an allergen as if it were harmful. This results in cells releasing a number of chemicals that cause the mucus membrane (the inside layer of your nose) to become swollen and excessive levels of mucus to be produced.


WHAT IS HAY FEVER?
Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis is an increasingly common allergic reaction to pollen that affects up to 1 in 4 people at some time in their life. According to the NHS UK website, “pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. It contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses (small air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead) to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.”
There are simple measures you can take to minimise exposure to pollen: Check the pollen count before you go out. As soon as you return, have a shower, wash your hair and remove pollen grains from your body. If possible, remain indoors during the peaks of late morning and evening. You can also applyVaseline in your lower nostril to trap pollen, wear masks, wrap around glasses, and use air conditioning in cars as this filters out pollen.
Contrary to popular belief, you can get hay fever at any age; it’s not necessarily something that gets worse with age, and may in fact disappear completely as you get older.


TREATMENTS FOR HAY FEVER  
Unfortunately there is no cure for hay fever, but there are various treatments to alleviate the symptoms:
Some Natural Remedies
  • Honey
  • Vitamin C
  • Hot peppers
  • Carotenoids: carrots, apricots, pumpkins, sweet potato, spinach
  • Camomile: as a cup of tea or eye compress
  • Garlic
Medications
  • Antihistamines – these can help to prevent an allergic reaction form occurring. Suitable for treating itching, sneezing and watery eyes, but not a blocked nose.
  • Corticosteroids – help to relieve inflammation and swelling. They work better when used regularly.
  • Eye drops – for red, itchy or watery eyes due to hay fever.
  • Immunotherapy – being exposed to small amounts of pollen over time, to build resistance to its allergic effects. This is only for severe and persistent hay fever and can take months to work.
OTHER CAUSES OF HAY FEVER
You would imagine that since hay fever is associated with pollen it would be more prevalent in the countryside. Not so, because pollution is also a major factor. For example, with the increased use of diesel in transportation, pollen grains mix with diesel particles and go deep into the airways, causing severe hay fever.
Other allergy-triggering substances like house dust mites and animal fur can also cause hay fever-like symptoms.
There is no doubt that hay fever is affecting more of us than ever before.Personally I never had any problem until recently, and as I discussed it with friends, the magnitude of the problem was revealed. Not only is hay fever on the rise, but interestingly it was unheard of 200 years ago. Figures show that in the UK grass pollen levels were falling until about 1999, but since then they have been increasing due to climate change, which has resulted in warmer temperatures in Spring. Another crucial factor is pollution from cars, which has been linked to the parallel rise in asthma across Europe and North America.
Finally, a surprising theory has also emerged: the “hygiene hypothesis”, which suggests that allergies are on the rise because we are too clean! According to the Daily Mail, “The theory states that in our sanitised, disinfected world, where every kitchen surface is sterile and our food is vacuum-packed and cleansed of all germs, our immune systems are simply not getting the 'priming' they need to develop properly in infancy. As a result, our bodies fail to distinguish between harmless dust or pollen and nasty bacteria that could kill, and mount an unneeded attack. This causes the symptoms of asthma and hay fever (and possibly eczema Interesting theory, which if correct, might explain all the increases in allergies seen in recent decades. Meanwhile, hay fever sufferers continue to undergo the discomfort, which can cause severe disruption to their lives and activities for several months at a time, with no permanent solution in sight.
© Angel Works Blog, April 2016.

      Ronke Macaulay is the CEO of Angel Works Media and can be contacted via [email protected] or IG @ceoangelworks. This article was previously published on www.angelworksmedia/blog. For more please kindly subscribe and you can visit the connect area of the blog for your articles to be published.  Follow publisher on Instagram 

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