Discover How Charmaine D’s Expertise Can Relieve Your Hay Fever Symptoms
The change of the season may bring joy to some with the blooming flowers, lush greenery and sunny days, however, for those who suffer from seasonal hay fever, this change in season can bring much discomfort. Seasonal hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, grasses, trees and weeds which can cause sneezing, and itchy eyes. Your immune system, which is designed to protect your body from harmful things such as bacteria, viruses and foreign substances, mistakenly identifies pollen as a harmful invader and may work over-time or exaggeratedly and react to substances that are not actually harmful. The severity of these symptoms vary depending on the person, and they often worsen during peak pollen seasons.
There are many allergens that stimulate the body’s exaggerated immune response such as dust, foods, insect bites, molt, pet hair and pollen. These allergens can cause a range of allergies such seasonal hay fever, dermatitis, eczema or food and drug allergies.
The most common triggers for Spring hay fever in Australia are:
- Grass pollen (ryegrass, bermuda grass and kikuyu grass)
- Tree pollen (wattle trees, birch trees, oak trees and pine trees)
- Weed pollen (ragweed, plantain and pellitory)
There are two types of ‘immediate sensitivity’ antibodies which mount to an immune response immediately after being exposed to an allergen. These antibodies can be tested with skin pricks and blood tests to determine each specific allergen your body reacts to.
Most medications to treat hay fever are focused only on symptomatic relief, including antihistamines, steroids and decongestants. Although effective at treating symptoms, these medications may bot directly target the root cause of immune system hypersensitivity.
The naturopathic approach, taken by myself Charmaine D, however, focuses on getting to the root cause. This process begins by eliminating the triggers. This is important in order to figure out what else is causing the hypersensitivity reactions while also addressing the root cause. Diet is the next step for focus. This is because the foods we consume have a direct impact on our overall health. Our gut, and the foods we put into our gut, can determine how our body reacts to allergens and other threats. By focusing on a clean, nutrition-dense diet, provided by Charmaine D, we can ensure you are setting your body up for the highest levels of success. Naturopathic supplements and botanical prescriptions are developed for every individual and their situation by Charmaine D, and can also help to lower levels of your histamines and improve your symptoms.
Majority of allergies always involve the gut. This is because 80% of our immune system is located in our gut, and produces an antibody called IgA. In an ideal scenario, our gut should be producing large quantities of IgA as it is the first line of defense against any foreign substance. The flora balance and lining of our gut must be healthy in order to produce the amount of IgA required so the rest of our bodily systems never have to deal with the substances.
Another bodily system in charge of producing IgA are our adrenals. With high levels of the hormone cortisol (during times of stress caused by many simple and complicating situations), the adrenals will decrease production of IgA antibodies.
The liver would be assessed next as people who suffer from allergies and hay fever usually have a high toxic body burden. Toxins are also foreign substances, however, unlike allergens, they are actually harmful to our body. In order for our body to process these harmful toxins, our liver needs to work hard to alter the state of these toxins. If, however, the toxins are too much and the liver can’t alter them at the rate in which they come in, then the toxins build up in our system and can increase the body’s sensitivity and reactivity to harmless substances.
Additionally, those who suffer from Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) may have exacerbated hay fever symptoms. This is due to the fact that mast cells (a type of immune cell), in MCAS sufferers, is hyperactive and releases excessive amounts of chemical mediators, including histamines. Histamines are the key played in allergic reactions and is responsible for many of the common hay fever symptoms, such as sneezing, itching and congestion. When people with MCAS are exposed to allergens, their already overactive mast cells can intensify the allergic response which leads to a more severe and prolonged reaction. Charmaine D can teach you so much about this in your consults with her.
Not only to individuals with MCAS release higher amounts of histamine and other inflammatory compounds, they also usually have a lower allergy threshold, meaning, even minimal exposure can lead to symptoms. In addition to the high histamines and low allergy threshold, individuals usually have profound sensitivity to a wide range of environmental triggers, making them more susceptible to allergens. It is also important to note that although hay fever is seasonal, individuals with MCAS may suffer year-round.
It is slightly more challenging for those with MCAS to manage their hay fever symptoms, but not impossible! It is highly recommended you book a consult with Charmaine D naturopath, who can work closely with you to create a personalised treatment and strategic program.
Interestingly, and worth noting, is the phenomenon known as cross-reactivity. This is when some environmental allergies can be linked to food allergies. This means, that proteins in certain foods resemble proteins in pollen or other allergenic substances, leading to allergic reactions when consuming these foods. Some common environmental allergies that can trigger food allergist or cross-react with specific foods in Australia include:
- Birch Pollen Allergy:
- Cross-reactive foods: apples, pears, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, carrots, celery, almonds, hazelnuts and kiwi
- Grass Pollen Allergy:
- Cross-reactive foods: tomatoes, potatoes, melons and oranges
- Ragweed Pollen Allergy:
- Cross-reactive foods: melons, zucchinis, cucumbers and sunflower seeds
- Latex Allergy:
- Cross-reactive foods: bananas, avocados, chestnuts and kiwi
- Mugwort Pollen Allergy:
- Cross-reactive foods: celery, carrots and coriander
- Dust Mite Allergy:
- Cross-reactive foods: shrimp, crab and lobster
Not all people with an environmental allergy will experience cross-reactivity with related foods and the severity of reactions can range. However, if it’s something you are concerned about, ask Charmaine D naturopath for further information.
There are some easy-to-implement natural ways to address hay fever and help with your body’s reaction:
- Local honey: eating local honey may help desensitise your body to the specific pollen in your area.
- Saline nasal rinse: using a nasal rinse can help to flush out the pollen and irritants from your nasal passages and eases symptoms such as congestion.
- Steam inhalation: inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water can also provide relief from nasal congestion. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil can enhance the effectiveness.
- Quercetin-rich foods: quercetin is a natural compound in foods like onions, apples and citrus and acts as a natural antihistamine. Charmaine D can assist you with a great quercetin supplement and food guide.
- Probiotics: probiotic-rich foods or supplements can help you to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Charmaine D has sourced these for you.
- Allergen-reducing practices: keep your windows closed when at home during high pollen seasons, use air purifiers and wash your bedding regularly.
- Herbal teas: herbal teas such as chamomile and nettle tea are known to be anti-inflammatory and can help soothe hay fever symptoms. Charmaine D can expand on this.
- Stress management: engaging in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises can help lower cortisol levels, helping lower your hay fever symptoms. Charmaine D can work hand in hand to develop your personalised de-stress program.
There are many natural remedies and simple life-style changes you can make to help with hay fever and symptoms. Consulting with Charmaine D naturopath can help you make sense about the specifics for you and why it is you are suffering. Having bespoke support may benefit you in understanding more about your body and the hay fever you suffer from.
If you would like to chat with our naturopath, Charmaine, book a complimentary 30 minutes Why You? Consult below. Her gift to you, (one per person).