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Summer is just around the corner! While some have been looking forward to the warm season for weeks and months, others sit at home with watery, swollen eyes and an itchy nose and avoid contact with the outdoors as much as possible. Hay fever is diagnosed in about 15 percent of adults in the course of their lives - and the trend is rising. By the way, on average, women are affected more often (16.5%) than men (13%). But what exactly does hay fever mean? And what causes the annoying symptoms?
Do I have hay fever? - Symptoms & causes
With hay fever, the body experiences an allergic reaction to plant pollen. The body perceives the actually harmless pollen from trees such as alder and birch or from grasses and herbs as a threat and reacts accordingly with various defence reactions. Typical symptoms include sneezing attacks, a runny nose and itchy and watery eyes. Some also experience a persistent itching or burning sensation in the throat, on the mucous membrane of the throat or also towards the ears. However, the many complaints are not only annoying for those affected for the moment, but also disturb their sleep, for example, which is why oppressive tiredness can also be added to the symptoms already mentioned.
Which seasons & areas are most affected by pollen?
The first signs of hay fever symptoms become noticeable as soon as the corresponding pollen flies through the air. This usually takes place between April and August. Depending on the allergy, however, allergic symptoms can also appear as early as December or January and last until October. The pollen load varies depending on the time of day and the environment. While the burden is greatest in the cities in the evening, it is strongest in the countryside between 5 and 8 o'clock in the morning. Warm and dry weather also favours the pollen count. Where exactly and at what time the pollen hangs around the most can be read in pollen forecasts. These can be found on the internet as well as in the form of an app.
What YOU can do against hay fever
Often you feel defenceless against the allergy symptoms. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the quality of life can be limited because, for example, one barricades oneself in the flat in order to minimise contact with the pollen. However, there are some tips and tricks that can make life with hay fever a little easier.
Anti-pollen routines for your home
There are some relieving routines you can incorporate into your daily life if you suffer from hay fever. For example, you should always wash your hair in the evening before you go to bed. This way, pollen that has settled in your hair during the day can no longer bother you overnight. In addition, you should not take off the clothes you are wearing in the evening in your bedroom, so that you do not carry an unnecessary amount of pollen into your bedroom. It is best to remove your clothes outdoors or in the bathroom, for example. Another important tip relates to ventilation times. If you live in the city, you should air your flat especially in the morning hours. If you live in the countryside, it makes sense to ventilate in the evening, because the pollen concentration is lowest at this time.
Being mindful on the go
The sun is shining, the flowers are in bloom, winter is finally over. People with pollen allergies can often hardly enjoy this season, which for many is the most beautiful of the year. While everyone else is drawn outside, many allergy sufferers hole themselves up in their homes to keep their symptoms to a minimum. In the long run, however, this is hardly bearable. It is certainly not good for the psyche to hide indoors. There are ways to enjoy the summer even as a pollen allergy sufferer - as much as possible. The ideal time to go for a walk, for example, is half an hour after a rain shower, because that is when the pollen load in the air is at its lowest. It also helps to wear sunglasses to protect the already stressed mucous membranes of the eyes. When driving, make sure to keep the windows closed - especially in rural areas.
Pills, sprays & other remedies you can use
There are several medicines on the market that can relieve hay fever symptoms a little. The most common medications include antihistamines, cortisone and cromones, which can be used in the form of nasal sprays, eye drops or tablets. In any case, sufferers should consult a doctor to find out which medication is best for them and how it should be used. In addition, there is a so-called allergen immunotherapy, which can be carried out by a doctor. This therapy targets the immunological cause of the allergy and can reduce allergy symptoms in the long term. The aim of this therapy is for the immune system to get used to the pollen over a longer period of time.
A low-histamine and high-antioxidants diet can help
When suffering from hay fever, it is important to avoid certain "triggers" that put additional strain on the immune system. Accordingly, one should first and foremost make sure to get enough sleep, cover one's vitamin D and abstain from alcohol and nicotine. In addition, you should eat as little histamine as possible, because histamines can intensify certain allergy symptoms during the pollen season. Histamine is mainly found in meat, fish, cheese, yeast, vinegar, nuts and legumes, but also in citrus fruits (pineapple, tomatoes, spinach). In addition to a low-histamine diet, it can be useful to include green leafy vegetables and broccoli in one's diet. Kale and spinach, for example, are rich in antioxidants, which act naturally against allergic reactions. In addition, antioxidants - as the name suggests - have the property of reducing inflammation. The inflamed and/or congested airways can therefore already be relieved by the diet.
Seeking proper treatment with your GP is important
The first point of contact for allergic symptoms should always be the family doctor. They can then refer you to a specialist if necessary. Together, you then document the medical history before starting the physical examination. Although hay fever is annoying, it is usually not dangerous at first. However, the pollen allergy can develop into asthma over time if the hay fever symptoms are left completely untreated. So everyone should visit their doctor at least once if they suspect they are developing hay fever. Timely treatment can prevent the symptoms from spreading to the lungs, where they can ultimately develop into asthma.
Can CBD oil help with hay fever?
Besides the typical medicines, there is another substance that is said to have many positive properties: CBD. One of them is that more and more allergy sufferers report that CBD has been able to support them during their hay fever season. But what is the reason for this? It is clear that CBD interacts with our body's endocannabinoid system. This in turn is part of our nervous system and thus responsible for numerous bodily functions. At the moment, it is assumed that the endocannabinoid system could bring our immune system back into balance in the case of an overreaction caused by the pollen count. In addition, CBD has the property of relaxing the body and the mind, which can counteract potential sleep problems that may occur due to hay fever symptoms. But beware: all these statements are based on experience reports and observations. Since CBD has not been researched for too long, it cannot be guaranteed that it can have a supportive effect. You should always consult a doctor if you suffer from hay fever symptoms.