Laurann O’Reilly: Here are some tips and remedies to ease hay fever symptoms this year


It’s a beautiful time of year with our evenings longer, a bit more sunshine and the flowers blooming.
However, for some hay fever sufferers this can be a real challenge as there can also be higher levels of pollen in the air, leading to an increase in the dreaded hay fever symptoms.

Here, nutritionist Laurann O’Reilly and owner of Nutrition By Laurann, explains what hay fever is and walks us through her top tips and remedies to soothe these symptoms.

What is hay fever?

Hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) is an allergic reaction to pollen, usually when it comes into contact with the mouth, nose, eyes and throat. Pollen is a fine powder of plants.

Hay fever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it’s hot, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is highest (HSE).

If you suffer from hay fever, you are not alone because, according to the Irish Asthma Society, “one in five people in Ireland suffer from hay fever”.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

Although there are many symptoms associated with hay fever, here are some of the main ones which include sneezing, disturbance/loss of smell, itching/stuffy nose/runny nose, headache and red/itchy/teary eyes.

*if you experience any of these symptoms why not discuss with your pharmacist or local GP

Top tips for managing your symptoms

1) Use Vaseline: The Asthma Society of Ireland recommends applying Vaseline around the nostrils when outdoors, as it can help trap pollen and prevent it from entering your nasal passages.

2) Sunglasses: While sunglasses are handy for protecting our eyes from the sun, they can also serve another purpose by minimizing the amount of pollen that gets into our eyes. The Asthma Society of Ireland suggests ‘wraparound sunglasses’ may be most effective.
Tip: If your eyes have been exposed to pollen, they also recommend splashing them with cold water to help flush them out and this can also work to soothe and cool your eyes.

3) Jump in the shower: If you have been outside and have been exposed to pollen, it is recommended to “wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period of time (The Asthma Society of Ireland).

4) Morning exercise: If you are particularly sensitive to pollen, the Asthma Society of Ireland suggests “exercising in the morning rather than in the evening when the pollen drop rate is higher”, this can be a great way to clear your head and start the day too.

5) Laundry Care: As mentioned above, pollen can attach to our clothes, so if you are quite sensitive to pollen, it can be helpful to dry your clothes indoors or to shake them outside. outside before bringing them, especially sheets (The Asthma Society of Ireland) .

6) Pets: It’s not just your clothes that are exposed to pollen, but your pets can carry it too. The Asthma Society of Ireland suggests “minimizing contact with pets that have been outdoors and are likely to be carrying pollen”.

7) Use a daily pollen tracker: As part of their hay fever campaign, the Asthma Society of Ireland has partnered with allergy solutions company ALK to create a pollen tracker that “provides daily updates on pollen levels in Ireland, including regional forecast levels for the current day and next day’.
Pollen tracker:

8) Keep Windows Closed: Open windows can often cause pollen to enter your home, so if you are very sensitive to pollen, it is recommended to “keep windows closed at night or when pollen counts are high. “.

Hay fever remedies

Although there is no cure for hay fever, in most cases it is possible to relieve the symptoms.

– Vitamin C: Although this vitamin serves many functions, it also acts as a natural antihistamine by reducing the amount of histamine in your body. As a result, it might help relieve mild symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, stuffiness, and watery eyes due to hay fever. Food sources: citrus fruits (such as oranges, lemons and limes), peppers, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and potatoes. Nutritional supplement: Ideally, it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from your food, but if your fruit and vegetable intake is low, vitamin C can also be found in supplement form like Solgar Vitamin C.

– Biotin: Biotin is a B vitamin (vitamin B7), which helps maintain the proper functioning of the mucous membranes present in the nose, sinuses, throat and even the tear ducts. Food sources: fish, egg yolks, avocados, green leafy vegetables and nuts for your recommendations. Nutritional Supplement: Biotin can also be purchased in supplement form, such as Solgar Biotin.

– Herbal teas: Chamomile, licorice and nettle tea all contain antioxidants and antihistamines. These are believed to have the ability to block the activity of histamine and other pro-inflammatory molecules implicated in hay fever. A great tea combination is peppermint and licorice, which can help relieve congestion and mucus around the nose.
A nice cup of soothing hot tea can also help clear that stuffy nose.

– Elderflower: May help dry out and tone the mucous membranes lining the nose and throat, reducing sneezing and a runny, stuffy nose from hay fever. This can be purchased as a drink or found as an herbal tea. Recommendation: Why not check out the Elderflower range of drinks from Tipperary food growers ‘Irish Hedge Grow’

– Garlic: With the active ingredient “allicin”, it helps support the body’s natural immune system and is also an excellent decongestant and anti-inflammatory to reduce mild symptoms of hay fever. Tip: Why not add a few minced or crushed garlic cloves to your sauces, curries or stir-fries to give your meal a healthy boost. Nutritional supplement: If you don’t like the flavor or smell of garlic in your meals, it’s possible to get it in supplement form, such as Sona Odorless Garlic capsules.

– Onions: Not only are onions a super versatile ingredient, but they are also rich in a compound called “quercetin”, which is a powerful natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, which helps hay fever sufferers. Tip: Whether it’s for breakfast, in your lunch sandwiches, omelettes, stir-fries, curries, soups, the list is endless. There are so many ways to incorporate onions into our meals for a hay fever boost.

– Anti-inflammatory spices: why not try some anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric and ginger. The combination of these two herbs is a specific remedy for allergic rhinitis, hay fever and colds. Histamine is inflammatory by nature, so adding plenty of anti-inflammatory spices to your diet could be helpful in relieving nasal swelling. Tip: Why not spice up your juices or meals with these spices which can be found in fresh or dried form.

Dietary supplement

If adding them to your meals doesn’t suit your taste buds, you can also purchase them in supplement form such as Terra Nova Freeze-Dried Turmeric and Ginger Capsules.

– Luffa Complex Drops: A combination of natural herbal ingredients that can help clear the nasal passages of pollen and other allergens such as dust. It also helps restore fluid and moisture to the nasal passages, making the nose soothed and more comfortable and can be used by children ages two and up.

Nutritional supplement: A.Vogel Luffa Complex Drops (just add a few drops to a little water) or can also be found as a nasal spray in A.Vogel Pollinosan. *Always seek the advice of your GP or pharmacist before taking any remedies or medication, particularly if you are currently taking medication, have any pre-existing medical conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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