With the hayfever season now in full swing and affecting up to 1 in 5 of the UK population, there are a huge variety of treatments to choose from and it can get confusing. Although they don’t all claim to ‘treat’ or ‘cure’ hayfever or its symptoms, both over the counter drugs and natural products can help. Sufferers may find it helpful to try more than one at a time to combat their symptoms, particularly when the pollen count is high, as one can serve to help the effectiveness of another.
Here, airborne allergies expert Max Wiseberg, author of the Allergy Guide, gives his top five little helpers for your hayfever, to help you choose…
- Pollen Barrier Balms
These work by stopping pollen getting into the body. Each person can tolerate a certain amount of pollen without reaction – there is a sensitivity level, below which there are no effects, but above which an allergic reaction occurs. By blocking pollen from entering the body, pollen barriers help keep the sufferer hayfever-free for longer. As long as enough pollen is stopped to prevent the sufferer going over their sensitivity level, their hayfever symptoms won’t be triggered. HayMax is a natural, organic drug-free pollen barrier balm, which is applied around the base of the nostrils to form an invisible barrier against pollen. It has been proven in independent studies to trap over one third of pollen grains before they enter the body.
- Speleotherapy (ST)
ST can be traced back to 1843, when Polish physician Dr. Bochkowsky noticed salt miners didn’t suffer from breathing issues or respiratory diseases. A clinical study shows a ‘significant decrease of the frequency of the obstructive bronchitis, asthma… pneumonias…, with concomitant decrease of the antibiotic… and Histaglobin… cures one year after ST was observed in the speleo group.’ The Cisca Saltpipe is a dry salt inhaler containing Halite salt crystals formed in salt caves 20 million years ago. When you breathe through the Cisca Saltpipe for a few minutes a day, the air is purified as it is drawn over the salt crystals, which can improve the respiratory system for people with allergies, including hayfever.
Antihistamines block the histamines produced by the body from binding to the receptors, thus reducing your reaction. They are usually in tablet form, and often need only be taken once a day. Many people find they work well and they have no need for any other hayfever remedy. Others find that they stop working after a while, or that they never work particularly well. Some, like Telfast, are only available on prescription, others can be bought over the counter in a pharmacy.
- Steroid nasal spray
These work by injecting a small amount of steroid into the body through the nose to inhibit the histamines in the nasal passage. They are inserted into the nose, usually twice daily. Common nasal sprays are azelastine nasal spray (rhinolast) and levocabastine nasal spray (livostin). Common trade names include Beconase.
- Immune System Support
This helps by ustilising various key nutrients that have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown in studies to be effective for boosting immunity. These include elderberry and acerola cherries (rich in quercetin), bee propolis (high in phenolenic compounds, potent antioxidant substances which have anti-inflammatory properties) and reishi mushrooms which contain oleic acid and cyclooctasulphur compounds, both potent natural anti-histamines. Bee Prepared Immune Support Daily Defence contains therapeutic doses of propolis, elderberry, and other antibacterial and antifungal ingredients such as olive leaf and beta glucans.