Naturally managing Allergy Season (adults and children)
How to naturally prevent and treat hay fever, allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergies
Spring has sprung and we couldn't be happier! It's time for blossoming flowers, dew drops in the mornings and sunny afternoons. While the days are slowly warming up in spring, night time temperatures are still perfect for cuddles and lighting up the fireplace. Some would say that spring brings us the best of both worlds! But alas, let's not forget those poor souls who dread spring time. For those who suffer from allergies, the blossoming spring flowers are nothing to celebrate.
Picnics, mountain hikes, outdoor music concerts and gardening are natural and favourite things to do during spring and summer! However, for anybody who suffers from hay fever or allergies, these activities can be a nightmare! While there are various OTC (over the counter) and prescription antihistamines on the market which are successful at quickly relieving hay fever symptoms, they often come with dreaded side effects like dizziness, nausea, headaches and more. People who suffer from severe allergies often feel doomed and helpless.
Before you lose hope of ever enjoying an outdoor activity again, we're here to let you in on some tips and tricks of naturally managing hay fever! No more turning to prescription antihistamines. No more turning down invites to outdoor festivals. No more spending spring and summer sneezing all over your loved ones, and rubbing your eyes until they feel raw!
The science behind allergies
An allergy is defined as a hypersensitive (or inappropriate) response from the immune system to foreign substances that enter or come into contact with the body. A substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an allergen - anything can be an allergen if the immune system has an adverse reaction to it. There are various types of common allergens such as nuts, bee venom, pollen, seafood, latex and dust, just to name a few! Some people never experience allergic reactions to any of these allergens while others experience allergic reactions to specific ones!
If someone is allergic to a substance (an allergen), their immune system responds to the substance as if it was harmful to immune system, and therefore tries to destroy the allergen. This triggers a release of a substance called histamine, as well as other inflammatory compounds in the body, which cause the allergic response. Cue the sneezing, itchy eyes, sinusitis, snotty noses, phlegm-filled chests and itchy skin! Most allergens actually pose no threat to the body, which is why allergies are classified as 'inappropriate immune responses'. When a harmless substance such as dust or pollen is encountered by a person who is allergic to that substance, the immune system may overreact by producing antibodies (histamines) that attack the allergen.
In this article, we're going to focus on a common springtime allergy, known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. People who develop allergies in warm weather, wind or at spring time are generally allergic to spores, grass, and pollen from trees and flowers. Those who have this reaction all year round are probably also allergic to house dust, mould or animal dander. The time of year it happens depends on what allergen the individual reacts to but most commonly occurs in spring and summer, as blossoming flowers are in full force and pollen-carrying bees are hard at work!
Symptoms of hay fever allergies include itchy skin, itchy eyes, itchy noses, sneezing, mucous build-up in nose and throat, and watery eyes. Some people have mild allergic responses while others have reported that their allergies actually interfere with their day-to-day lives! For these people, it's important to avoid triggers and find the right treatment, which is completely possible!
Why more people are avoiding OTC/prescription antihistamines
Histamine is a protein that triggers allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and a scratchy throat. It therefore makes sense that people who are suffering from allergies would take an antihistamine, right? While antihistamines sourced from pharmacies, doctors and drug stores work well to block the allergy triggers, they can cause side effects which can be detrimental to your health! OTC (over the counter) and prescription antihistamine medications have been reported to cause side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, dry nose or mouth, increased appetite and anxiety. As a result, an increasing number of people are turning to natural alternatives to help manage their allergic rhinitis.
Natural ways to prevent allergy flare-ups
Shut the windows and doors
Creating a physical barrier between yourself and allergens is possibly the easiest way to prevent allergic reactions. By shutting windows and doors, especially when it's windy, is a simple way to prevent allergens from reaching your body. While it might not be ideal to spend spring and summer with the windows and doors shut, it may be better than facing the wrath of an allergic attack!
To make it easier to bear, invest in a fan or air conditioner to cool down your house when the windows and doors are shut. If it becomes too unbearable or stuffy, try keeping your windows slightly open while keeping the curtains drawn.
Change your clothes regularly
Allergens such as pollen and dust have a tendency to attach on to clothing, shoes and your hair. It's advisable to change your clothes regularly and even have a shower when you come in from outdoors. Failure to wash your clothing and your body regularly during allergy season can lead to an accumulation of allergens in your house and car, making it that much more difficult to avoid exposure to allergens.
Tip: Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen out of your eyes.
Boost your immune system
Allergic reactions begin in your immune system. The purpose of the immune system is to defend itself and keep microorganisms and foreign substances out of the body. If the immune system is strong and healthy, it can ward off infection against pollutants, viruses and other harmful airborne substances that may enter the body. Because allergies involve both local reactions (release of histamine and inflammatory compounds) AND immune functioning, treatment should be holistic and aimed at treating the whole person, rather than simply suppressing symptoms.
Boost your child's immune system: Help your little one's immune system cope with their immune response to allergens with Kangavites, a wide-spectrum daily multivitamin and multi-mineral. They come in chewable tablets with a yummy flavour. Parents love Kangavites because they're dairy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free and preservative-free - with no artificial ingredients! KiddieBoost is a herbal formula which helps to support immune system health in children.
Boost your immune system: If you're only going to take one daily nutritional supplement to boost your immune system, choose Solgar's Formula VM-2000, a wide spectrum multivitamin and mineral supplement that you can take daily to ensure that you are receiving all the nutrients you need to lead a healthy life. We especially love Formula VM-2000 because it's dairy-free, wheat-free, preservative-free and vegan friendly! Along with your daily Solgar multivitamin, use Immunity Plus, a herbal immune booster for teens and adults.
Incorporate fruit and vegetables into your diet
Regularly consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those containing Vitamin C, will help reduce your histamine levels, as Vitamin C is a well-known immune booster and antihistamine! Studies done on children who ate lots of fresh vegetables and fruits (particularly grapes, apples, oranges, lemons, grapefruit and tomatoes) displayed fewer allergy symptoms than children who did not.
Use a nasal spray
Clear up allergies and stuffy noses with an all-natural nasal spray, free of chemicals and cortisone! Using an antimicrobial nasal spray in times of allergic reaction helps to alleviate nasal congestion and itching caused by allergies and other factors.
We love Silverlab's Ionised Colloidal Silver Nasal Spray, with antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and antibiotic properties! Simply spray into the nostrils for congestion, hay fever and allergic rhinitis!
Though a temporary fix, inhaling essential oils diluted in hot steam can provide an immediate relief to your hay fever symptoms such as congestion and mucous build-up. Eucalyptus Essential Oil is a refreshing and uplifting oil, traditionally used for respiratory relief! When inhaled through steam, Eucalyptus Essential Oil helps open the nasal passages and bronchial tubes.
Fill a bowl with hot, steaming water. Add a few drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil. Drape a towel over your head and lean over so that your face is near enough to the bowl in order to inhale the steam. Make sure to completely cover your head and the sides of the bowl to receive full effects of steam inhalation. Inhale for a few minutes and you should feel relief! You can also use Eucalyptus Essential Oil in a Cold Mist Diffuser, especially at night, when many people with allergies find it difficult to sleep due to sneezing and congestion.
Many people who suffer from hay fever are looking towards natural treatment for their allergies. As mentioned above, OTC or prescription antihistamines are losing their favourability due to negative side effects previously discussed. More and more people are now realising that there are natural antihistamines and natural alternatives that are available to them!
AllergiClear is a compound remedy containing herbal, homeopathic, tissue salt and nutritional ingredients known for their positive effect on preventing the allergic reactions to various allergens and improving respiratory and immune system health. Taken regularly, before and during the allergy season, or when exposed to known allergens, AllergiClear can help you to become allergy-free and reduce or even eliminate your dependence on synthetic antihistamines with their troublesome side effects.
While AllergiClear acts as a preventative and reduces the allergic response, SOS-HistaDrops is a herbal and homeopathic formulation which helps to treat acute allergy symptoms like watering, itchy eyes and noses, congestion and sneezing,
The topic of honey treating hay fever or allergic rhinitis is controversial and certain medical professionals will say that it's all hogwash. However, the science behind this treatment is based on the fact that not only is honey an incredible immune-booster and antimicrobial, but ingesting honey made from your local plants acts as a homeopathic treatment for hay fever. By eating small amounts of locally-produced honey daily, you expose your body to tiny amounts of the allergen, thereby desensitising it to the substance, helping your immune system to realise that it’s not harmful after all.
Controlled studies have been done which show significant improvement in the symptoms of allergic rhinitis for people who ingested local honey on a daily basis. In fact, the improvement persisted for a month after the cessation of the treatment!
View our collection of raw, unprocessed and unfiltered honeys made from various parts of South Africa here >.
Do you suffer from hay fever? We'd love to know what works for you!
If you have any questions, please contact our team or leave a comment below for FREE health advice. We always love hearing from you!