Hay fever effects more than 30% of the world’s population, and it’s on the rise in the US and other developed countries.
Interestingly, hay and fever have little to do with it! The term probably came from nose and eye irritation during hay harvesting when it was done by hand in the early days of farming.
Another note of Interest, you are more likely to develop hay fever if one of your parents had it. There is also researchsuggesting that if you were not breast fed you probably have it. To make matters even more complicated, recent studiessuggest that nut allergies may be caused by breast feeding!
Hay fever is the inflammation of the lining of the nose and sinuses otherwise known as an allergy.
Symptoms are much like the common cold with a stuffy, runny nose; itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, itchy nose, throat and roof of the mouth. Les common symptoms include nose bleeds, pressure and pain in the face, decreased sense of smell and taste, and even a blueish color under the eyes known as an ‘allergic shiner.’
- Pollen – from trees and grasses.
- Animals – proteins found in the oil of animal skin (dander), and in urine and saliva.
- Dust Mites – tiny insects that live in house dust and feed on pollen, bacteria, mold spores and the dead skin cells of humans and pets. They accumulate in bedding, carpets, books and anything not regularly vacuumed.
- Insect Stings – people who are allergic to insect stings can have allergic reactions including swelling of the face, throat or mouth, nausea, fatigue, difficulty breathing, fever, hives, rapid pulse, dizziness, or a severe drop in blood pressure. Those who are severely allergic carry an ‘epi-pen’ to self-administer adrenaline immediately following a sting.
- Mold – inhaling or touching mold spore can trigger an allergic reaction.
- Stress – recent research has demonstrated that stress can trigger hay fever symptoms!
- Latex – found in medical gloves, condoms and certain medical devices.
- Medications – the most common allergic reactions involve penicillin and aspirin, and range from hay fever symptoms to life-threatening allergic reactions.
- Fragrance – any product containing perfumes and scents such as shampoo and scented candles can cause hay fever. There is, however, debate as to whether reactions to fragrances are an allergy or a response to a chemical irritant.
- Cockroaches – a protein in their excrement can cause an allergic reaction.
- Chemicals – triclosan is a chemical found in many household cleaning supplies such as anti-bacterial soap. The FDA says that this is not a hazardous chemical, but at the same time they point out that studies link it to hay fever in those under 18 with high exposure. A recent study published in the American College of Asthma, Allergies and Immunology(ACAAI) found that some people have an allergic reaction to pesticides used on produce (another reason to go organic!).
- Books – besides harboring dust mites and mold, books are home to tiny booklice which can cause hay fever symptoms.
- Food – milk and dairy products, shellfish, nuts and wheat are common allergy-causing foods.
Best Fruits and Vegetables
- Apples are a natural source of anti-allergy nutrients such as quercitin.
- Pineapple is rich in bromelain, a natural antihistamine that battles the symptoms of hay fever.
- Red peppers and chili peppers contain a natural decongestant capsaicin.
- Spirulina according to recent reports may also provide relief from hay fever symptoms.