Natural Strategies for Managing Hay Fever
Spring is upon us. With it brings longer days, warmer weather and fresh blooms, but also increased pollen which can cause hay fever.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is caused by an inappropriate immune response, caused by an overactive immune system. Our immune system's job is to protect us from foreign substances and pathogens. It detects, which ones are harmful and, if needed, takes action to protect our system from invasion.
When our immune system is hyperactive, harmless substances (such as pollen, grasses and other substances) triggers your immune system to send out specialised immune cells (called mast cells) to your nose and throat. These cells release histamine which triggers an inflammatory response, to force foreign particles out of your body.
This inflammatory response is responsible for common hay fever symptoms including:
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Nasal congestion
- Watery eyes
- Dark circles of puffy eyes
- Itchy throat or ears
- Ear congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Wheezing or coughing
- Hives or itchy skin
Treatments for hay fever
Conventional treatments for hay fever include nasal sprays and antihistamine medications (which block the effects of histamine). Whilst effective, these treatments simply suppress your immune response and your symptoms will return once you stop taking the medication.
An approach which aims to address the underlying cause of immune system hyperactivity, and builds immune tolerance, is most effective for managing hay fever and ensuring long term relief from symptoms.
Immune tolerance can be improved by supporting the functioning of the immune system and boosting your body’s production of immune cells (called T regulatory cells). Research indicates there is a connection between the gut microbiome and immune reactivity, therefore treatment which addresses gut health is also important. Stress also plays a key role in immune system health. Findings ways to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins and manage stress is crucial for building immune tolerance.
What can I do?
Our top tips for managing hay fever naturally:
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet including fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, wild-caught fish and organic, free-range meat, and gluten-free grains (e.g. quinoa, buckwheat, millet).
- Avoid histamine foods such as tomato, pickled foods (e.g. kimchi, sauerkraut), and fruits high in histamines such as papaya, kiwi fruit, grapes and plums.
- Consume immune-building and gut repairing medicinal mushrooms such as reishi and shiitake, and medicinal herbs such as baical skullcap and perilla.
- Find useful ways to manage stress (e.g. exercise, walks in nature, listening to music, breathing techniques, or mindfulness meditation).
- Download ‘Melbourne Pollen Count’ app to help monitor days where your symptoms may be worse than others due to high amounts of pollen in the air.
How we can help
If you’d like a customised, holistic treatment plan to help improve your immune tolerance and manage hay fever naturally, call 98940014 and book a FREE 15 minute consultation with one of our Naturopaths/Nutritionists.
This article was a collaboration between our team of Melbourne Naturopaths at Vital Chi Wellness. Our naturopaths are amongst the best in their field. They use cutting edge research, technology and testing to guide there patients to improved health. To ensure the best results, our approach is personalised and integrates diet, lifestyle and nutritional advice. For more information on personalising a treatment plan to treat your hay fever contact us today.