By Emily Grenfell
As a hay fever sufferer myself I have been challenged by a blocked nose, itchy eyes, and biblical quantities of mucus. Having spoken to a babylon doctor I now have a solution that will work, but there are some non-medical methods that can help to alleviate symptoms.
Known widely for its immune-boosting properties, vitamin C is also a natural antihistamine. Get your fill of orange, grapefruit, and lemons, or bolster yourself on supplements. Present in the fruit are bioflavonoids, which contain effective anti-allergy properties.
Eye baths are cheap and effective. They rinse out the pollen and relieve itching. Recommended by the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, they won’t help with nasal problems, but they do feel refreshing and relaxing. Perfect for those who get the ‘streamy eye’ effect, but not to be used with soft lenses.
These contain an active component called capsaicin, which opens the nasal passages and helps reduce the congestion brought about by hay fever. This alleviates the symptoms significantly.
These naturally occurring pigments in plants act as powerful antioxidants, which help reduce the inflammation in your airways caused by the allergic reaction to pollen. As you might have guessed, carrots are a great source, as are apricots, pumpkin, sweet potato, and spinach.
This is an antioxidant and an antihistamine. Chamomile tea contains flavonoids, which is an anti-inflammatory. The tea can be drunk, or it can be made into a cold compress to be placed over swollen eyes.
To make the cold compress, soak chamomile tea bags in cold water for a few minutes, remove, squeeze, and place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before resting over the swollen eye for up to five minutes. Do this no more than once an hour.
Increasing your dietary intake of garlic can help boost your body’s immune system, while also acting as a decongestant and helping to alleviate minor hay fever symptoms. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and a good source of quercetin, a natural antihistamine.
It’s best to start taking this a month or two before the allergy season begins, and it’s most effective when eaten crushed or raw. If you’re not a fan, try garlic capsules from your local pharmacy.
Spreading a thin layer of Vaseline inside the lower nostrils can help combat hay fever and reduce symptoms significantly. The Vaseline traps pollen entering the nostrils, effectively blocking it from entering the nasal passages and stopping hay fever symptoms from worsening.
Onions are a good source of quercetin, a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory proven to reduce symptoms in hay fever sufferers. Onions contain three times as much quercetin as kale and 10 times as much as broccoli and can be eaten throughout the day in a variety of meals.
If you would like to talk to a doctor about allergies today, book an appointment with one of our GPs. They’re really great and available within minutes wherever you are. I spoke to Dr. Morven Telling via video link from this office, and I’m on my way to collect my prescription now. I might even pick up some garlic capsules!