While the end of winter causes excitement for many of us, for those who suffer from hay fever, the warmer days of spring and summer can also signal the onset of puffy itchy eyes, congestion and an irritating cough.
According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), 1 in 5 people in Australia and New Zealand suffer from hay fever. So to get you through the allergy season, simply follow these top tips…
Severity. Cause. Exposure
Hay fever is the common name for allergic rhinitis. The first step is to identify the severity of your hay fever, then to identify the cause so you are then able to reduce your exposure to it. According to The Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) 2008 Report, those who suffer from symptoms less than four days a week or less than one month a year are mild sufferers, and those who suffer symptoms more than this are moderate to severe sufferers. Conditions such as asthma can also come about during allergy season for severe sufferers.
Heighten your resistance against allergens by keeping your immune system strong. The ASCIA suggests having a healthy diet incorporating a wide range of fruit and vegetables along with plenty of sleep to help your body combat allergies.
As stated in the ARIA 2008 report, when an allergen such as pollen comes into contact with the moist lining in your nose and sinuses, your body responds by releasing histamine, which irritates and inflames the lining and triggers a build up of mucous. Drink plenty of water to protect airway linings from allergens. Steam baths are great for keeping airways moist.
Preserve the integrity of the airways by reducing the acidic elements of your diet. Reducing coffee, sweeteners and yeast can help. A study in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy has proven that alcoholic drinks are also associated
Over the counter decongestant sprays can be effective but shouldn't be used for more than a day or two. If congestion isn't your main symptom look at other ways to reduce inflammation in the body. According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, essential fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, which on a long-term basis will keep both your immune system and mucous membranes healthy.
- Allergic Rhinitis and It's impact on Asthma (ARIA) 2008, 'ARIA 2008 Report (Revised)', Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vol 63, pp. 8-160, accessed 1 March 2013, < http://www.unifesp.br/dmed/climed/liga/consensos/rinitealergicaeasma2008.PDF>
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, 2013. Is it Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)?, accessed 1 March 2013, <http://www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever-and-sinusitis/allergic-rhinitis-or-hay-fever >
- Bendtsen, P., Gronbaek, M., Kjaer, S.K., Munk, C., Linneberg, A. & Tolstrup, J.S. 2008, 'Alcohol consumption and the risk of self-reported perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis in young adult women in a population-based cohort study', Clinical and Experimental Allergy, vol. 38, no. 7, pp. 1179-85, accessed 4 March 2013, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18294256>
- James, M.J., Gibson, R.A., & Cleland, L.G. 2000, Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory mediator production, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 143-48, accessed 4 March 2013, <http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/1/343s.full>