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Hay fever

Those that suffer from hay fever know that periodically life becomes unbearable as their immune system reacts to airborne allergens. Hay fever symptoms occur when the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory system (mouth, nose, sinuses, throat) become inflamed from exposure to plant pollen and other similar substances.

In naturopathy we see a common link between this type of immune reaction and other food intolerances such as dairy and wheat intolerance. Dairy intolerance is far more common and can be triggered by milk and milk products from cow, goat, sheep and sources. The link can be explained, as dairy is a highly mucous producing food. The body typically only produces mucous when tissues become inflamed or irritated (it acts as a protective film). Over exposure to food sources of mucous can interfere with the body’s own natural mucous production. The dairy version of mucous is understandably not as health promoting and is less able to protect the delicate membranes throughout the body. As such, these foods are considered ‘pro-inflammatory’ and thus exacerbate the hay fever cycle of events.

The best strategy (with the assistance of a naturopath) is to trial avoiding all mucous producing foods in anticipation of the hay fever season to see symptoms improve. Make sure you trial this with a health professional to ensure you replace this important nutritious food group and have a balanced diet.

Other useful strategies include:

  • Nutrients such as Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, Vitamin A and Zinc
  • Herbal medicines such as Garlic, Horseradish, Fenugreek and Baical Skullcap
  • Lifestyle strategies: Avoid allergens you aware of – i.e. don’t mow the lawn if you know that it inflames or aggravates your hay fever. If you have to work in the garden, wear a filtered mask and protective glasses and wash your hands, face, hair, clothes and other exposed areas thoroughly when you come indoors