With spring here, so is pollen season, which is not good news for hay fever sufferers. Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in this country, affecting three million Australians. So this is a great time to get treated with acupuncture if you suffer from hay fever.
Hayfever is caused by an antigen-antibody reaction in the nasal mucosa, the antigens responsible are the pollen particles in the air. There is also an over-activity of the immune system to certain allergens, this is weakened with retention of chronic wind in the nose cavity.
The main hayfever symptoms are as nasal congestion, sneezing, profuse runny nose with white watery discharge, pale complexion and slight headaches. In a few cases it affects the eyes and conjunctiva may become red and itchy. These are classified as wind cold symptoms according to Chinese Medicine. We aim to expel these wind cold symptoms and restore the energy of the Lung. The Lung organs weakness is either hereditary or due to problems during pregnancy or childbirth (Maciocia, 2000). Acupuncture can greatly reduce any or all hayfever symptoms.
Some other tips to reduce hay fever symptoms naturally and without medications include:
- Eat kiwifruit is extremely high in Vitamin C, which is an effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Kiwifruit also supports healthy immune function and protects from secondary respiratory conditions. Other foods containing Vitamin C and bioflavanoids include citrus fruits, strawberries, red capsicums, broccoli, papaya, guava and mango.
- Green fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene, which gets converted to Vitamin A. This vitamin is important for healthy mucous membranes throughout the respiratory tract. It also helps promote healthy immune function, prevent secondary respiratory infections and reduce inflammation.
- Take garlic to helps clear nasal congestion. Its strong antibiotic properties also help prevent secondary respiratory infections in chronic suffers. It is also a good source of quercetin, a natural anti-histamine.
- Reduce or eliminate cow’s milk and other dairy products as they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and exacerbate hay fever symptoms. Try alternatives such as rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks.
- Reduce stress levels and calm down. A survey showed a clear link between stress and the severity of hay fever symptoms.
- Exercise more. Regular exercise can reduce your hay fever. The survey found that people with hay fever who exercise most have the mildest symptoms. Exercise will help reduce your stress levels, too.
- Eat well. People with hay fever who eat a healthy diet are less likely to get severe symptoms. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Reduce alcohol intake. Beer, wine and other spirits contain histamine, which can make symptoms worse.
- Have a good night sleep. Try to avoid too many late nights during the hay fever season. A survey found that people with hay fever who sleep well tend to have milder symptoms.
- Reduce excessive sugar intake.
Do not have cold drinks or foods for dinner or before bed e.g: ice creams, cold fruitsIn the old Chinese medical texts is it said that spring is the beginning of things, when the energy of the body should be kept open. In spring on a physical level, we need to exercise more frequently and wear loose fitting clothing. Stretch to loosen up tendons and muscles from the cold winter. Spring is the season of the liver, and excess anger, frustration, depression, sadness or excess emotions can injure the liver. Violating the natural order of spring will cause cold illness during summer.We should all treat disease by preventing illness before it begins, rather than treat an illness after it has begun. An ancient proverb says: “If someone digs a well when thirsty or forges weapons after becoming engaged in battle, one cannot help ask, ‘Aren’t these actions too late?’”