Flicking through my Facebook feed and I am seeing a lot of “hello spring” and “yai, it’s spring”….. These must be posted by peeps who do not suffer from…
That simple, blazae condition that affects 6.7million Australians each year. Yes, that’s right! 37% of us are allergic to spring. So what is hayfever and is there anyway to help the symptoms?
Hayfever, medically termed as allergic rhinitis, is the accumulation of symptoms including running nose, itchy nose and eyes, sneezing and watery eyes. It is caused by our body’s immune response to allergens present at spring time. Our body’s immune system works in overdrive to eradicate these inhaled allergens. Being spring, these allergens are in abundance, meaning we breathe a lot of these allergens in. So our immune system is in overdrive trying to “protect us” from these allergens.
So, what are allergens? These are many different inhaled particles that set our immune system’s off. For each person, you may be more sensitive to certain allergens compared to the next hayfever sufferer. The main culprits are pollen and grasses. In the spring, grasses, trees and plants pollinate for a long period of time allowing cross-pollination to occur. This means, there is a lot of pollen floating in the air…. Which we breathe in…..
Can we stop this over dramatic immune response to pollen?????
Yes… if you stop breathing.
So what is the next option?
- Zinc deficiency results in a decreased number of our immune cells called T cells which are the natural killer cells. We need these to protect our body from those nasty pollens!
- Zinc also has antiviral properties and has been found to suppress inflammation. Really handy in the lungs and throat- the pollen’s point of entry
- Increase your zinc intake
- Pumpkin Seeds
- This prevents the secretion of histamine by white blood cells, slowing the immune response to the pollens
- Red and green capsicums
- Brussel sprouts
We do not recommend drinking orange juice… why? Because it is really high in sugar and sugar promotes inflammation. We are trying to reduce inflammation!
- How vitamin D exactly helps is unclear but it has been seen that people with chronic hayfever, they had low vitamin D levels.
- We know that vitamin D plays an important role in keeping your immune system functioning and healthy…. Think, why do we all get cold in the winter? We have less vitamin D exposure!
- Get some vitamin D and keep your immune system in tip-top healthy to ward off those pollens
- Sun exposure
- A great anti-inflammatory herb that also has antiallergic properties. It helps to reduce the inflammatory cascade that occurs with allergies making it a good herb to keep your immune system under control
- Cook with turmeric. There are heaps of great recipes.
- Garlic packs a punch. It is an antioxidant meaning it helps to clean up our body at a cellular level. We do not have antioxidants, consider this the same as not changing the oil in your car. Ever. yuck.
- It is also an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial AND it stimulates the immune system… need I say more!!! Get cooking with garlic
For all of these that can be prescribed in supplement form, we advise you pop in and see Kerry, our naturopath. Why? Because all supplements have upper limits of what you can take and some people are sensitive to some supplements. For example, if you are fructose intolerant, giving you a garlic supplement will upset your gut. There are also other herbs that may be suitable for you. Best to leave this to our qualified naturopaths.
- Try to control the dust at home. Dust is a really common allergen that is inhaled so at times of high pollen count, reduce the dust. Your poor immune system is already struggling!
- Reduce the use of fans and heaters. These stir up allergens into the air which you breathe in oh so quickly.
- Dry your bedding inside. That way pollen will not be in your sheets and pillowcases, allowing you to sleep in a pollen-free bed! Dry your clothes inside for the same reason.
- Try fess nasal spray. It is a saline spray that irrigates your nose and sinuses flushing out the pollens and irritant. Bliss!
- Rest! Yes, you need rest to fight these pollens! Sleep, rest and reduce stress. We all know about it.
- Walk and get out there exercising. You can’t lock yourself indoors. But on those high pollen count days…. Try to limit your exposure.
- Hechtman, L. (2011). Clinical naturopathic medicine. Sydney, Australia: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier Australia.
- National Institute of Health, Zinc Fact Sheet