By Marc Courtiol
About 40 million people in the United States suffer from hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, on a regular basis. For many people, these types of allergies have become a regular nuisance to deal with year round and are not just a temporary inconvenience that they have to deal with for a few months each year in the fall or spring.
What is Hay Fever?
Hay fever occurs when your body’s immune system has an extreme reaction to airborne particles that are normally harmless. Symptoms of hay fever generally leave sufferers feeling drained of energy and run down as their bodies try to deal with the offending airborne particles. The most common symptoms of hay fever include:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Postnasal drip
- Nasal congestion
- Facial pain or pressure
Treating Hay Fever
Many people seek help for their allergies from their primary care physician, while millions of others go to allergists to find relief from the symptoms that plague them relentlessly.
The good news is that there are some natural remedies that have helped some people to find relief from their allergy symptoms. If you find yourself having difficulty finding relief from your hay fever symptoms, you might want to consider some of these treatments as potential options.
- Carotenoids – these are plant pigments such as beta carotene. A lack of carotenoids in the diet is believed to increase inflammation in your airways, leading to an increase in allergy symptoms.
- Butterbur – this is an herb from a shrub-like plant. Extracts from butterbur have been used successfully in the treatment of stomach cramps, migraines, asthma, allergies, and coughs. It is believed that butterbur works by blocking histamines and leukotrienes, which are inflammatory chemicals that play a large role in allergic reactions. It is important to note that butterbur is a member of the ragweed family, so people who have allergies to ragweed, daisy, marigold, or chrysanthemum should never use butterbur.
- Acupuncture – this is an ancient Chinese healing practice that has been in use for more than 5,000 years. Specialists in this discipline often combine acupuncture with herbal treatments to achieve optimal results.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – these are essential fatty acids that we all need for optimal health. Omega-3s may reduce inflammation and are also associated with a decreased risk for developing hay fever.
- Identify food sensitivities – this is an important step in treating hay fever because it is entirely possible for hay fever symptoms to be aggravated by certain foods or beverages. The trick is in figuring out which ones you need to stay away from. For example, people who are lactose intolerant tend to feel more congested after they consume dairy products. People who are allergic to grass pollens generally have negative reactions to tomatoes, eggs, carrots, pork, peanuts, wheat, apples, and melons.
Before choosing any type of alternative form of treatment for your hay fever allergy, it is important that you discuss your options with your doctor so that you can determine which methods are best, and safest, for you to try.