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Great Hay-Fever Hacks for the Sneezy Season

Updated: 5 days ago


oilseed rape flowers with woman sneezing
Hay-Fever symptoms caused by Oilseed Rape pollen, usually in late spring/early summer in the UK.Check the Pollen Calendar to find out when other tree, grass and weed pollens are likely to be in abundance.


Hay-Fever Hacks for Pollen Allergies .. what haven't you tried yet?


I am writing this in mid-March in the UK and Spring has just Sprung! Although we are in the time of year when we can get blazing sunshine, bleak winds, hailstones or even snow all on the same day, the bright green shoots of new growth are bravely appearing in nature all around us. We don’t have to look too far to see the the first of the year's beautiful blossoms in our gardens, on streets, or in the hedgerows. Nature is busy adorning herself with flowers that help to provide food for some of our favourite insects such as bees and butterflies along with many other species.   


If you have been noticing that your eyes are a bit more watery than usual, or your nose feels a bit more congested, you might not have made any connection yet that THIS year could be the very first year you experience Hay Fever (or "seasonal allergic rhinitis") for the first time.


Hay Fever can manifest itself quite suddenly. The good news is that conversely, it can disappear quite suddenly too (despite the common belief that there is "no known cure" and "you can't do anything to prevent it.") Somewhere in the middle though, there can be a very long period of months or years when your Hay-Fever symptoms cause you quite a bit of long-suffering. is caused by tree and grass pollen from springtime through summer, or weed pollen in the autumn.


AllergyUK has a useful "Pollen Calendar" available for free download from their website to give Hay Fever sufferers a better idea of the particular time-frames specific pollens are likely to be in abundance - although if your particular allergy is to Oilseed Rape, you might notice less of it about from 2024. I've added a handy link to that if you want to take a peek Pollen Calendar - Source AllergyUK


Beautiful fluffy cat inside a house demonstrating pet dander
Pet dander accumulates all year round

There is also a non seasonal "perennial allergic rhinitis" that can happen all year round, and that's believed to be caused by indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, mould spores and so on. They even mention cockroach poop 😱 as a common allergen, exposure to air pollution, and occupational allergens (chemicals, including household cleaning products, fumes, etc).


Today, I'm just going to talk about the seasonal allergic rhinitis sort. Otherwise this blog about popular Hay-Fever hacks is just going to get way too long and complicated; tho' my heart goes out to one and all reading this who get any sort of allergic reaction that makes life miserable for them.



Not Sure? Get tested.


If you aren't 100% sure if your allergy is Pollen related, or stems from a non-pollen source, get Tested first! It sounds obvious but lots of folks don't bother with this.


You can get a referral through your GP in the UK for an allergy test (Allergies - NHS (www.nhs.uk)) and you can also get private tests done; these are usually patch tests or bloodtests.


Other naturopathic or homeopathic practitioners may also be able to help you out too if you prefer a different approach. Find out where you nearest practitioners are, and arrange a consultation or just email them to ask if allergy testing forms a part of their services.


As ever, do a bit of research on this topic .. but DO remember that Google is a Search Engine, not a ReSearch Engine. I think most of us recognise that experts who are experts in their own field will usually just advocate those things they are expert in. So it isn't uncommon to get conflicting Expert Opinions. Just use your own intuition here so you don't get overwhelmed by all the options.


(Note sure how to recognise the voice of your Intuition? Get in touch and I can help you do that).


Common Symptoms


So, back to the more traditional orthodox understandings on Hay Fever, most common symptoms are bulleted below. (If I've missed any that should be glaringly obvious, please let me know and I'll add it to the list):


Woman with headache and sinus congestion from Hay-Fever
Hay Fever symptoms range from mild to severe
  • Runny, itchy, watery eyes and nose

  • Stuffed-up, congested sinus

  • Itchy mouth, throat

  • Feeling of pressure or discomfort around temples/forehead

  • Itchiness or pain in the inner ear

  • Headaches

  • Loss of sense of smell and/or taste

  • Feeling fatigued and tired, wanting to sleep



That latter one (feeling tired) is a good general sign that your body is trying to repair and renew itself. It will always try to do that for you when you look after it, so do cut yourself a bit of slack and wherever it's practical with your lifestyle, make time for a bit of extra rest and recovery if you possibly can. Let's not forget that all your symptoms are, in fact, evidence that your body is, indeed, trying to help you heal; so it makes sense that any time there is fluid or swelling or itchiness, your body is most likely busy processing!


If you have other body "stuff" going on as well, such as Asthma for example, then you might additionally feel more of a tightness in your chest, a shortness of breath, or experience more wheeziness or coughing. It's no fun.



10 Little Actions to add to your Hay-FeverHack List - the "Don't List"


Personally, I wouldn't usually endorse a "Don't" list. They have way too much of a fear-based, low resonance vibe and I think it's more empowering to have the "Do" list instead .. ie. focus on what you want more of in life, not what you don't want.


BUT in the spirit of just applying a bit of common sense, you can try to avoid your known allergy triggers, and sources such as AllergyUK and NHS advice the below.


Isolated loney bird on a wire
Hay-Fever Hacking can feel a bit isolating!
  • Don't Mow the Grass

  • Don't Walk on the Grass

  • Don't have fresh flowers in the house

  • Don't Go Outside

  • If you go Outside, Don't Spend too long Outside (especially if pollen count is high, naturally)

  • Don't dry clothes outside (in case they catch airborn pollen and then it'll come inside)

  • Don't let your pets outside (in case they come back in, carrying pollen in their coats)

  • If other family members have been outside, don't let them back in! Or at least, only if they de-pollenate themselves first.

  • Don't leave your windows or doors open.

  • Don't go out unless you're wearing wraparound sunglasses (to keep pollen out of your eyes)

  • Don't mix with other people if you have a high temperature or if you're feeling so rubbish that you can't do your normal activities.


Depending on how much you like your own company, or enjoy being indoors until mid-afternoon on those warm, humid and windy days and the pollen count is high, you might now find, however, that on top of all your unpleasant physical symptoms, you'll also now be feeling Frustrated, Angry, Isolated, Trapped and very very Powerless.


By the way, if you want to plan a Duvet Day in advance, check what the expected Pollen Count is most likely to be in your particular region by visiting the Met Office on this link to their published Pollen Count Forecast.



So, what other Hay-Fever Hacks will help?


If you want to go down the Medical route first, the most common options are:-


  • AntiHistamines .. you can take them in various forms such as tablets, liquids, syrups, creams, lotions, capsules, eyedrops, or nasal sprays. Your local trusted Pharmacist will be happy to advise, discuss with you what's most suitable for your particular type of allergy, and be able to offer you something over-the-counter. They're usually classified into one of two groups: "drowsy" and "non-drowsy"(self explanatory?) You can find out more about those here: NHS_Anti-Histamines


OR, if that approach doesn't work for you, you can always by-pass your Pharmacist and see if you can get an appointment with your G.P.


  • Steroids .. on G.P. prescription, and usually in the form a nasal spray. Hopefully, you'll get an appointment for a personal consultation before the Pollen Season ends. Don't forget to ask lots of questions and make sure your G.P. asks you plenty too, to make sure you get the best steroid brand for your particular allergy. You can find out more about those here: NHS_Steroid_Nasal_Spray


  • Immunotherapy .. on G.P. prescription. You need to plan in advance for this option. You'll be given teensy amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your own natural immunity to pollen. This kind of treatment will usually start in the winter. You can find out more about Immunotherapy here: WikiPedia_Immunotherapy. It isn't just used for allergies; it's also being researched as a possible treatment for some forms of cancer too.


But what are the Other Effects (Side-effects) of Anti-Histamines, Steroids or Immunotherapy?


Person receiving medication advice from a Pharmacy
Your local pharmacy will be happy to advise on an over-the-counter Hay Fever medication

This isn't my specialty subject at all, so I won't go there in detail. Your Pharmacist or GP should, as a matter of course, discuss possible other effects ("side-effects") with you so You can make an informed decision. Hay Fever is quite common, but your particular combination of symptoms is unique to you.


So I'd just recommend that you DO your own research, and ask as many questions as you want to ensure you are completely happy with your choice.


There is a lot to be said for both the PLACEBO affect and the NOCEBO affect; if you think it's going to be good or bad for you, you're probably going to be right. But, there's nothing quite like taking responsibility for your own health, doing your own bit of research, and just doing a bit of "trial and error" testing to find out what will work best for you. And if you don't like the results of your choice, you can always change it. As the wise man said, if you keep doing the same thing you've always done, then you'll just keep getting more of what you've already got. It's good to mix things up a bit and try something different.




Helping yourself to non-med Hay-Fever Hacks - the "Do List"


Sometimes you'll want to avoid a medical approach, perhaps because you are pregnant for example and advised to avoid certain meds; are allergic to the meds; simply have a personal preference that way. But let's say you're trying an Anti-Histamine medication, and it is helping to reduce the itchiness in your eyes, ears, nose and throat. Your health-related quality of life has improved, and the other effects ("side-effects") are all okay with you; not too intrusive/expensive/offensive/debilitating.


But you'd really like to do a bit more to help your body out and show it a bit of Love and TLC by giving it a bit more support in all it's natural, innate, healing processes. My belief from my own experiences and from working with hundreds of client cases is that your body WILL ALWAYS try to rebalance, repair and renew itself, especially when you look after it, honour it, and give it the recognition and appreciation it deserves.


Having an integrated approach to health is a really positive step forward as it gives you the most choices, a wider perspective, and therefore increases the options and opportunities open to you. Win win win.


Here's my Top 3 recommendations from a more holistic, natural health angle:


#1 Make your own Hayfever Medicine Bag


Local bee-keeper with hives as the best honey source for Hay-Fever sufferers
Local honey can help build your resilience to local pollen
  • If you like honey, visit a local farm shop or bee-keeper whose hives are positioned close to where you live. It's understood that just a spoonful of local honey a day (it MUST be local, not a random bottle from the supermarket) will help your body build a natural tolerance to pollen in your area; I know several people who do this and they do believe it's made a difference.


  • Increase your anti-oxidant levels to help build the resilience of your immune system. Quercitin is often recommended for this, which can be found readily available in onions, apples, berries, green veggies and also black tea. Do a bit of extra research here and you'll find many more food sources too.

  • If you don't mind the taste, camomile tea is not only calming, it is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, so it may help you with those inflamed and irritated sinus passageways. If you really don't like the taste, you could always pop a bit of aforementioned local honey in it, or add a bit of lemon or ginger. Nettle tea is also one that's recommended. (Why not have a go at growing and making your own too?)

  • Dab a smear of coconut oil (or something similar) around your nostrils to help catch pollen at point of entry before it gets into your nasal passageways, ready to just wipe away.

  • Do remember to keep a pack of tissues in your pocket or handbag! See next bullet point!

  • Notice how much you touch your own face in the course of a whole day. Sanitising your hands (especially after you've been in contact with grass, flowers, or even dust / animal hair) can be super helpful. They aren't all caustic either .. shop around a bit for one that's a bit kinder on your skin ( I use an organic Lavendin Spritz Spray in my holistic therapy practice for cleansing my hands between clients .. I'm not allergic to Lavendin, by the way! So if you opt for a natural sanitiser, check the ingredients aren't sourced from anything you could be allergic to). (Message me if you want to know where I get this from; it's kind on skin, has a delicate fragrance, and is actually made with lots of love - in time with moon phases!)

  • Take a bit of an exploratory dive into the world of Aromatherapy and get a little bottle of Eucalyptus oil. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve sinus congestion when inhaled; suggested method is a drop or two in a bowl of warm water and inhale the steam.


Have you got anything else in your Hay-Fever Hack Medicine Bag? Let me know what else works for you and I'll add it to the list to share with others.



#2 Thermo-Auricular Therapy (Hopi-Ear Candling)


Thermo-Auricular Therapy (Hopi-Ear Candling) is a complementary therapy that can be used alongside medical treatments. You'll find it in natural therapy centres and clinics, and also in beauty salons where relaxational massage therapy is usually to be found. It helps with conditions that specifically effect the ear, nose and throat; and Hay Fever is a definite qualifier for that.


It's a relaxing, soothing, non-invasive treatment that's been around for thousands of years in different cultures, and can also be linked to the principles of Chinese Medicine, ancient Greek practices, and North American Indian shamanic ritual too, amongst others; so it's nothing new or "faddy".


Holistic Therapist carrying out a Hopi-Ear candle treatment at Acorn Natural Health Centre in Heanor Derbyshire UK
Relaxing Thermo-Auricular Therapy (Hopi Candles) for ENT issues including Hay Fever

From a modern perspective, we look at the anatomy of the inner ear and it's connections with throat and sinuses. The burning candle carefully placed and held in the auditory canal of the ear creates a gentle vacuum or sucking action when the candle is lit (often called the "chimney effect"). The air flow creates a concentrated vapour and most impurities/deposits within the ear are carried away through the chimney or collected in the candle's filter (and can be inspected, if you wish, afterwards)!


It's one of the treatments I offer from my therapy rooms in Derbyshire UK and here's a link to the relevant Therapy page (Hopi Ear Candles) on my website if you want to click over there, see the video, and find out a bit more about it. (Apologies in advance for those who think the video wasn't serious enough 😄) I offer 2 Hopi-Ear services;

  1. Candling only, lasts about 40 mins, that can help draw wax from the ear, "un-pop" ears, clear muffled hearing;

  2. Candling + micro-massage/acu-point facial, lasts about 75 mins which is more for addressing allergy symptoms and de-congestion of ear nose throat, soothing runny eyes, reducing facial puffiness and promoting relaxation and a deep night's sleep.


If you're in Derbyshire UK and are in easy travel of Belper or Heanor, get in touch for a direct link to my booking system in each location.

My third option is explained below. It's not for the faint-hearted tho and is more about doing your "inner work" and working with your "energy body" in harmony with your "physical body" and exploring some of the triggers lurking in there that are also manifesting in physical form.



#3 Root-Cause Based "Health Detective" Therapy Work


This is the approach I would recommend for what's very likely to be a more permanent solution to your recurring allergy. It's very different to all the above options because it is most likely to be a way to reverse and ideally halt your allergy symptoms, and not simply reduce them. So this is what I'd call the Ultimate Hay-Fever Hack.


I do understand however that a lot of people really don't "get" this at all. But it's an approach I use in my Health Coaching Practice to great effect and especially for those of you who are able to relate to the scientific principles of resonance & entrainment and are perhaps a little more aware of you spiritual-journeying and energy-vibrational signature. I know that sounds a little mind-blogging but if you know what I'm talking about, then you know what I'm talking about, and this is the best option for You.


Bautfiul woman enjoying outdoors in a field of flowers
Journeying into the world of Mind-Body and Lifestyle Medicine can help you find a more permanent "soulution"

It deep dives beyond physical symptoms alone into the whole new world of Mind/Brain/Body/Emotion connections, inclusive of Social factors as well as the more obvious Environmental factors we've already talked about. It's a bit reminiscent of the early works of Louise Hay, but with a more scientific/biological perspective.



It's a fascinating, empowering, and very deeply meaningful journey into the way your body talks to you through symptoms. You'll get to become your own "health detective" through this work, and I'll be there to act as your interpreter, guide, and biggest cheer leader of all time!


It can often be a "quick fix", but usually takes a bit more "inner work" and fathoming; every case is as unique. Ask me about my Health Coaching for Allergies Service (available ONLINE) if this is ticking your boxes.


You'll never think the same way about Hay Fever ever again and when Spring arrives, you'll be able to welcome it and smell the roses.



Allergy Caution according to the National Health Service UK


This blog represents my own experiences and views on HAYFEVER only, and does not diagnose. The NHS online rescources brings attention to the following Red Flags list of allergy symptoms that are useful to be aware of in the event of other sorts of allergic reaction that require emergency NHS attention: Red Flags for allergies




Sources:

AllergyUK (2024) Hay Fever @AllergyUK.org

AllergyUK (2024) Pollen-Calendar-download @AllergyUK.org

Met Office Gov.uk (online interactive) Pollen Count @Met Office/Pollen_forecast

NHS (2024) Hay Fever @NHS.UK

NHS (2024) AntiHistomines @NHS.uk

NHS (2024) Testing Allergies - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

eileenstrongcoaching (2024) Thermo-Auricular_Therapy @eileenstrongcoaching.com

Study.com (2024) How do antihistamines work? @Study.com

Wikipedia (2024) ImmunoTherapy WikiPedia_Immunotherapy






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