Spring at last…but is hayfever making you miserable?

Hayfever is an allergic reaction to normally harmless inhaled substances such as pollen from trees, flowers and grasses. As the body attempts to rid itself of the irritant, the immune system releases histamine and other immune stimulatory chemicals that cause inflammation. This results in symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat and eyes, headache and fatigue.
Grass pollen is the most common allergen, affecting sufferers when it’s released from May to July. However, people can be allergic to tree, flower, weed or shrub pollen so will be affected at different times of the year (February-June for trees and flowers, September-October for weeds).
Symptoms that continue all year are called allergic rhinitis and usually relate to indoor allergens such as dust mites, animal dander, pollutants or moulds.
People with a pollen allergy may also be affected by some foods, getting an itchy mouth or throat when eating certain fruits and vegetables, especially if raw.
Eating oily fish, such as mackerel and sardines, that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, helps reduce inflammation so can help to manage symptoms or reduce the risk of hayfever. Eat plenty of vitamin C packed fruit and veg (think broccoli, sweet peppers, black currants and strawberries), which has anti-histamine properties, and take 1,000 mg vitamin C every day. To help balance the immune response, include natural probiotic yogurt in your daily diet and ensure you have a daily dose of vitamin D, either 15 minutes uncovered in the sun or supplement 1,000-5,000 iu vitamin D3.

Written by

Claudia Williamson Registered Nutritional Therapist DipION, FdSc, mBANT, mCHNC Tunbridge Wells, Kent