The spring is undoubtedly a happy time of year and most of us consider it as the light at the end of the tunnel – in this case winter being represented by the tunnel. This is the time when the sun comes back out and the plants and flowers start growing again and the birds start singing, and it is the precursor to summer only without the searing heat that can make summer sometimes unbearable. For many of us, if we were going to draw our idyllic scene, it would probably be set in the spring.
However that said spring is not without its downsides and there are some problems associated with the new growth and all the plants and flowers popping up. Namely this can aggravate allergies and will result in wonton pollen which can trigger allergies in many of us. It would be the perfect time of year... if only it weren't making our lives a waking nightmare and causing all of our sinuses to become blocked and our eyes to stream.
If you are someone who suffers from spring time allergies then you are probably all too familiar with this dilemma/contradiction and you are probably very aware of the problems that are caused by spring – and you will probably be overjoyed to know of the various solutions to the problem. There are many ways to control and limit the effects of spring allergies and any of these can help us to stop sneezing, wheezing and crying and to start properly enjoying the summer. The only problem is that the main medications used for treating these problems – antihistamines – can have some unwanted side effects including drowsiness. This is why many will turn to natural solutions and home remedies – and the great news is that these remedies are free too. Here we will look then at how to combat hay fever with things you can buy around the home or buy cheaply at your local supermarket so that you can enjoy what is clearly meant to be the happiest season of the year.
Understanding Spring Allergies
The reason spring allergies occur is that the pollen triggers an immune response in the body when it enters the blood stream, eyes and sinuses. This occurs because the body mistakes the pollen for a toxin and thus it tries to 'flush it out' of the system via the production of histamine.
The best way to prevent this then is with prevention – stopping the pollen from getting into your system in the first place. However failing this you can tackle the problem topically and acutely by addressing the symptoms of swelling and tearing. Here we will look at some ways to do both... We will start with some ways to address the problem in the short term.
Treatments for Hay Fever Symptoms
A hot compress can help to reduce swelling and it is also very soothing on itchy or sore eyes. The best thing to use is a flannel dipped into the sink – but make sure that the water is not too hot so that it burns. Meanwhile holding a hot compress on your head can help to ease headaches and can also break up and dissolve mucus in the sinuses.
You can also inhale other substances in order to break up any mucus that is blocking the sinuses. In particular hot steam will be effective in this capacity as will vapoRub or eucalyptus.
Many claim that herbal teas can help them to combat the symptoms of hay fever as can camomile tea.
Adding some petroleum jelly around the nostrils on the inside is thought to help reduce nasal congestion and irritation – presumably by preventing dry itchy skin, by helping to break up mucus, and by collecting pollen and particles as they enter the nostrils.
If you are struggling with the problem still after coming in from the outdoors then a hot shower can help you dramatically in several ways. First of all this will help you to clear your sinuses again via the heat and through the inhalation of hot steam. At the same time having a hot shower can help to ensure that you remove all of the pollen and particles associated with your allergy which can otherwise get stuck on your skin or in your hair and continue to aggravate you.
There are several ways to prevent the allergies from setting in in the first place. Of course the most obvious and easy way to do this is to avoid going outside entirely. Obviously this isn't always practical however so here are some other ways to prevent yourself from breathing in pollen – and even in doors there are precautions you should take to stop it getting inside.
Shut Windows and Doors
The first and most obvious precaution to take is to shut the windows and doors. This is important as otherwise the pollen will come in with the outside air. However you may of course want the windows or doors open if it's too hot indoors or if you want to be able to get in and out easily. If this is the case then you will need to come up with alternative solutions – for instance use air conditioning to ensure that you maintain a good temperature inside even with the windows closed. Air conditioners or air cleaners will also help by filtering pollen out of the air.
Monitor Your Garden
You should make sure to be watchful of what you have in your garden to avoid exacerbating your allergies. For instance if you are allergic to heather then don't grow a heather plant right outside your window obviously. Likewise trimming your bushes and plants and mowing your lawn can also help a lot.
Don't Dry Your Clothes Outside
Avoiding drying your clothes outside is important if you are struggling indoors with hay fever as drying them outside will mean they're exposed and can collect pollen and other particles and you then inadvertently bring those in when you come indoors. You should also make sure to wash any clothes that you wore outside when you get home for the same reasons.
Using a face scarf and pulling it up over your mouth and nose can be a good way to protect yourself from pollen as it can act as a filter and thereby clean your air as you breath it.
Just as pollen can collect in your clothes it can also collect around your home as people and pets come in and out and as it gets in through the windows. Give your home a major overhaul by vacuuming, dusting and wiping down every surface and washing the carpets and you might notice your symptoms subside.
Surprisingly changing your diet can affect your susceptibility to seasonal allergies – by consuming more antioxidants (vitamin C, omega-3-fatty acid and a range of other nutrients) it is possible to help reduce the regularity and severity of hay fever attacks.