Itchy eyes, persistent sneezing and a blocked nose – there’s nothing fun about hay fever. Especially if you love spending time outdoors.
Can diet changes make a difference to hay fever symptoms? Do alternative inventions for hay fever actually work? What immune system-supporting supplements could help your body cope better with allergies?
We’ll explore how alternative support for hay fever could work alongside your usual antihistamine to relieve seasonal sniffles.
“Avoiding pollen and taking away the trigger of your allergy is the most obvious way to reduce hay fever symptoms. But if you enjoy the outdoors this may seem too big a compromise,” says Emily Rollason, Holland & Barrett nutritionist.
“Hay fever medicines, nasal sprays and eye drops can be effective in treating allergy symptoms. But there are sources of natural hay fever support that could also help you to navigate your symptoms.”
For example, what we eat can exacerbate the inflammation triggered by an allergy or increase the amount of histamine in our system.
Sporadic sneezing fits. Watery eyes. An annoying tickle in your throat. Sound familiar? Then you’re probably preparing to cope with the seasonal inconvenience of hay fever symptoms.
As well as herbal hay fever tablets, there are also some dietary changes and allergy-friendly habits you can adopt. These can help to manage and stabilise the uncomfortable side effects of an allergy to pollen.
Are you ready to give a few different interventions for hay fever a try? First, let’s understand a bit more about what’s behind your symptoms and what causes hay fever to flare up when the weather gets warmer.
Hay fever is a common allergy to pollen that affects around 13 million people in the UK. It’s sometimes called seasonal allergic rhinitis, and it’s caused by the immune system overreacting to pollen floating in the air.
You’re probably looking for a way to manage hay fever. Maybe the best nasal spray? Or some super strong hay fever tablets that guarantee all symptoms disappear with a single dose?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for this particular allergy. And however hard you try, you can’t completely prevent it.
But there are lots of ways you can manage and navigate the symptoms with alternative support for hay fever.
You can tackle hay fever in three main ways. These include avoiding pollen, medication / interventions and nutrition.
Keeping an eye on the pollen forecast
When it’s high, avoid spending long periods on green and grassy areas that may aggravate your symptoms.2
Understanding your personal pollen trigger
This can help you to predict when your symptoms are most likely to hit.
Tree pollen is typically high in March and April. Grass pollen reaches its peak in May to July. Weed pollen comes later in June to August.3
Not letting settled pollen linger
Change and wash your clothes after a day outdoors to reduce the amount of pollen you bring back into your home.
A shower or bath before going to bed may also help to remove pollen.
Is your little one dealing with hay fever symptoms? Thankfully there are a number of things you can try to navigate the impact hay fever has on their wellbeing:1
Smear HayMax Kids Pollen Barrier inside their nostrils to reduce how much pollen they inhale. You can also put some around the bones of their eyes. This organic, drug-free pollen barrier balm can be used from birth.
To soothe their eyes, you can gently wipe them with cotton wool soaked in cold water.
Keep your windows at home and in the car closed, especially at the worst times of day (early morning and 5pm – 7pm).
Limit the amount of time they spend outside playing and try to entertain them indoors on days when the pollen count is high or it’s windy.
When they come inside, get them to change their clothes and wipe their face, hands and hair with a damp cloth.
Clothes should be dried inside on airers as pollen can stick to clothes that are dried outside on washing lines.
Give them wraparound sunglasses to wear to prevent pollen from going into their eyes.
Instead of going to the countryside for days out, opt for a visit to the coast as pollen counts are lower.
If you have a dog or cat at home, try to brush them outside before they enter your home and wipe them down with a damp towel.
“So, if you’re unable or prefer not to take conventional hay fever medication for any reason, it’s worth looking into whether an alternative support for hay fever could work for you.”
Dr. Subashini comments:
"If you have had hay fever before and know when it usually starts, you can start taking antihistamine medication and using steroid nasal sprays about 2 weeks before.
By taking allergy medications before you first come into contact with allergens, the medication can prevent the release of histamine and other chemicals, which cause hay fever symptoms, so your symptoms may be much less severe as a result."
Help manage hay fever symptoms with everything from herbal hay fever tablets to nasal sprays - as well as a range of nutritional supplements. If you’re looking for an alternative to antihistamines, you could try some of these other options…
There are a range of different nasal sprays out there, but this one by Puressentiel has been specifically made to help with allergies like hay fever. It works by creating a layer of film against allergens in the environment and on fabric – pretty cool right? For adults, simply spray twice into each nostril every four hours (if needed). For children, just spray once in each nostril once a day.
If tablets aren’t an option for you, then you may want to try something in a liquid format instead. The Propolis Liquid by Bee Health can even be consumed in a range of different ways, including gargled, drank or applied to the skin.
Additionally, using an air spray like this one from Puressentiel may help to keep potential allergens like pollen at bay. Not only that, it acts as a delightful-smelling room spray to leave your home feeling fresh as well as working to help remove sources of allergens.
There’s a lot of speculation and anecdotal advice on supplements that could provide alternative support for hay fever.
But scientific evidence is generally lacking or inconclusive. So, here we focus on two ingredients where research connecting them to hay fever is established or growing.
Quercetin is a “natural” that has been found to play both antihistamine and powerful anti-inflammatory properties.5
It’s got some great nutritional credentials when it comes to dealing with hay fever symptoms.5
It’s commonly found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, red grapes and berries. But for the highest concentrations, look to onions and apples. Quercetin also comes as a food supplement.
If just the thought of a freshly mown lawn makes your nose start to twitch, these interventions for hay fever could be worth trying.
This article provides a few ways to manage hay fever that could work alongside conventional medication to navigate symptoms and allow you to enjoy the warm weather this summer.
But if your hay fever symptoms are severe, or if they are worsening other conditions, such as asthma, it’s advisable to talk to your GP about hay fever treatments too.
Joined Holland & Barrett: May 2015
Diploma in Nutritional Therapy
Emily has a long history of working with customers to guide them on what products are best suited to help them whilst offering practical support to aid with customers achieving their goals.