Did you know that as many as 18 million people in the UK – about 1 in 4 – suffer from hay fever allergies? And that hay fever is increasing rapidly? Suffering from this annoying condition can really ruin your life. What is hay fever? Here some great tips on what you can do to reduce the symptoms yourself by just making some practical changes and changes in the foods you eat.
What is hay fever?
Unlike the name suggests, hay fever has nothing to do with hay, nor with fever. It is an allergic reaction to pollen, the pollen grains of trees and plants. When you breathe in these pollen, people who are allergic to them start to produce more histamine. This can irritate your skin, nose, throat and lungs. People with hay fever get a runny nose, tearing eyes, itching in the nose or in the roof of the mouth. You start sneezing, get bags under the eyes, your taste diminishes or your throat swells up so you can get out of breath. Your sleep can get worse, your asthma can worsen and you can even get an ear infection. But you do not get a fever.
Do you have a cold or is it hay fever?
Some people confuse a cold with hay fever because with both you will get mucus in your nose. With hay fever, however, the mucus in your nose always remains watery, while in case of a cold the mucus becomes thicker. A cold is caused by a virus, which you get about 1 to 3 days after the infection. A cold lasts for a week. Hay fever occurs immediately after contact with pollen and can last several months, depending on the type of pollen you are allergic to. In the early spring, from April to June, there are many tree pollen in the air, especially of the hazel (from February as possible). From the end of May, the grass pollen will be added and until autumn you can experience herbal pollen, such as sorrel, nettle and plantain. If you are allergic to all these types of pollen then you can only breathe properly again when it is winter.
Congratulations! You are 40+!
Typically you will know by your mid-twenties whether you suffer from hay fever or not. If you have passed 40 and you haven’t had hay fever yet, you can assume that you will not get it anymore. It is said that the condition is hereditary, which means that you are more likely to have hay fever if it occurs in your family. Some people believe that hay fever has to do with living a too clean life. Because of that our immune system would become weaker as we have less to deal with bacteria and dirt. This will cause you to develop an allergy more quickly. If you grow up on a farm between the animals and many types of pollen, you could build up a better resistance.
What affects hay fever?
Certain elements in your life affect your sensitivity to hay fever. Below you can read which elements I think they are:
- Too much use of penicillin can disrupt your intestinal flora. This may cause sensitivity to hay fever.
- When babies are born with Caesarean section, they miss the important bacteria from the birth canal, which means they could have less resistance.
- Breast milk contains important antibodies that cannot be copied in formula. That is why it is important to give babies breast milk if at all possible.
- Let the body heal itself. Your immune system is then activated so that your body becomes more resistant to external influences.
- In some cases gluten can cause inflammation in the intestines. This in turn can cause a leaky gut. As a hay fever patient you can try to avoid them.
- Particulate matter in the air can be an additional trigger for hay fever.
- Stress also has a big influence on your resistance.
Adjust your lifestyle
And now the most important thing; what can YOU do about hay fever? You can try to cure it yourself by buying over the counter medication or you can go to the doctor to test for which pollen you are allergic. The doctor can prescribe you a nasal spray or eye drops, but medication often has unpleasant side effects. In addition they fight the symptoms and do not address the cause. The question is, are you willing to adjust your lifestyle? If you want and can, then there are lots of things you can do. The first tips tell you how to avoid contact with pollen.
- Install anti-pollen screens in your windows
- Keep the windows of your car and house closed as much as possible
- Go outside when it has just rained; the pollen content in the air will be less
- Use an anti-allergy vacuum cleaner bag
- Choose as holiday destination the sea or the mountains (avoid forests)
- Take a shower before you go to bed to wash off the pollen so you keep them out of your bed
- Do not take your clothes off in the bedroom but change in another room
- Sunglasses can help with watery eyes
- And putting Vaseline on the inside of your nose can help keep the pollen ‘out’
Strengthen your immune system
The above tips only fight the symptoms. What if you really want to get rid of your hay fever? Then it is important to strengthen your immune system. You can do that by eating healthily. But how do you do that?
- It is known that certain fruits have an effect on the birch pollen allergy in particular. So first have a test done to determine which pollen you are allergic to. Then you can try which fruits have a positive or negative effect on your body.
- There are certain fermented foods, such as French cheese, which are not good for hay fever sufferers. You can test this by not having them for a while.
- Never have processed food.
- Allergies can be related to vitamin D deficiency. Eat a lot of oily fish like sardines, anchovies, and mackerel, drink dairy products like kefir or use a vitamin D supplement.
- A zinc deficiency can be the cause of an allergy. Therefore eat nuts, oats and linseed regularly.
- Eat turmeric, fresh or as a powder. Always combine this with black pepper; this ensures the turmeric is better absorbed in your body. You can also use it as a supplement
- I am a big supporter of omega-3. This is mainly found in oily fish, but you can hardly eat fish every day. Pure omega-3 can also be bought in capsule form. Send me an email to find out which capsules are the best!
- Drink ginger tea every day. This works detoxifying.
- Use onion and garlic in your food. This ensures an improvement of your gut flora.
- Eat lots of fresh, organic vegetables.
If you find it difficult to integrate these tips into your current lifestyle, you can consider following The EatWright Plan. With this plan you improve your complete immune system under the expert guidance of a coach.
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To better Health.
The power of nutrition is what this site is about. Leonie Wright is your EatWright Plan coach in heart and soul. Her passion is health. She is an expert in the field of NOT dieting. Only by changing her eating habits and lifestyle has she been able to achieve health and a stable weight herself. Because of her enthusiasm she started her own practice where she has been able to coach more than 300 clients to optimal health. Her vision is that the UK can and must become “healthier” and her mission is to contribute to this, in her own enthusiastic way. She would love to be your coach and help you to improve your health in a short space of time.