Hay Fever

Hay Fever is the layman’s term for allergic rhinitis. It is the body’s reaction to an allergen like dust, pollen, or mould. The symptoms include a running nose, sneezing, coughing, itching, and congestion. These symptoms last longer than a common cold as your body regards allergens as hostile and as a target for attack. The result is the symptoms of a cold. The allergens responsible for hay fever also include tree pollen, grass, ragweed and mould. Symptoms change with the type of allergen, and depend on the season and weather. Hay fever is not considered to be a serious ailment and it is viewed as an inconvenience and a discomfort in most cases.

Hay Fever Picture

An allergic reaction occurs when a person comes in contact with certain substances that his/her immune system detects as a threat, even if they are not actually harmful. The immune system then reacts strongly and it is this reaction that causes uncomfortable allergy symptoms. In cases of severe allergic reactions, medication may be necessary. In cases where the individual does not respond to the conventional treatment for hay fever, certain injections may be prescribed to suppress the immune system and control the symptoms. Hay fever often affects infants and young children.

Symptoms of Hay Fever

Some of the most common symptoms of hay fever include:

  • A runny nose
  • A constant “tickly” feeling in the nose
  • Repeated and prolonged sneezing fits
  • Red, swollen, and itchy eyes that water constantly
  • An itchy throat caused by nasal drainage
  • A stuffy nose
  • Hives

The eyes, nose, and throat are closely linked and so hay fever symptoms are not limited to the respiratory system alone. Inflammation and irritation of these tissues can leave them vulnerable to secondary infection. In some cases, hay fever can lead to a severe sore throat or throat infection. People who suffer from hay fever are also prone to asthma, and their asthmatic attacks often come on during hay fever season. Hay fever may also have hereditary influences and hay fever attacks often tend to surface in children with asthma or eczema, which are both manifestations of the same allergy.

Second-hand smoke or air pollution can also cause or aggravate hay fever in kids. Hay fever may not pose much of a threat, but it could leave a child vulnerable to more threatening secondary infections. It is easy to mistake a child’s hay fever symptoms and confuse them with those of a common cold, but a visit to the pediatrician will help to obtain a definite diagnosis. Hay fever can also cause sinus infections or ear infections. Hay fever can also aggravate existing respiratory disorders in both children and adults.

Causes of Hay Fever

Your body’s immune system works to protect you and fight off infections under normal circumstances. Your immune system responds to viral and bacterial threats with the production of anti-bodies that attack and defend against the threat. In the case of individuals who suffer from hay fever however this immune response may be exaggerated, with the immune system releasing antibodies upon contact with harmless substances like pollen or spores that are present in the environment. Histamine is just one chemical that is released and it triggers the symptoms of hay fever.

Most individuals who suffer from hay fever have an allergy to one or more types of pollen with the most likely causes including the following:

  • Most hay fever allergies are a reaction to grass pollen.
  • Pollen is also produced by a variety of trees, with the pollen production and dispersal again varying depending on the type of tree, but birch tree pollen allergy is fairly common and surfaces around early spring.
  • Spores from fungi and moulds can also be problematic as can those from weeds like ragwort.

Remedies for Hay Fever

Anti – histamine medication for hay fever is the most common for of hay fever treatment. While these medicines are very effective at first, the body starts to build up a certain resistance to them and so the dosage may need to be increased in order for the medications to be effective. The only alternative to increasing the dosage is to have stronger medicines but your body will adjust to these in time too. Pregnant and breast feeding women can also face a problem as many hay fever medications are not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Consul your obstetrician for detailed instructions regarding the treatment of hay fever during pregnancy. Natural remedies for hay fever may not offer a viable solution to the problem, but they could help to relive the symptoms. Keep in mind that not all natural methods of treatment are scientifically investigated and some may be completely ineffective. Natural methods that involve changes to diet and lifestyle can be of tremendous help however.

  • The extract of stinging nettle when consumed, can increase the body’s defense against allergens. Since it contains natural anti-histamines which are very effective against hay fever, it is considered one of the best natural remedies for hay fever cures. If taken on a regular basis, nettle extract can also prevent future attacks of hay fever.
  • Capsaicin is a compound that is found in chili peppers and is used in nasal sprays for allergic reactions. It is not advisable to try and use chili peppers to make a nasal spray as it can cause intense burning and discomfort. Instead, add chopped chili peppers and capsicum to a cup of hot soup as this will act as a powerful decongestant.
  • Aromatherapy oils like menthol, eucalyptus, and lavender, used in a vaporizer can clear nasal passages and ease the symptoms of hay fever.
  • Green tea is a popular remedy for hay fever. Green tea contains plenty of oxidants and so it helps to treat allergies as well as prevent secondary infections.
  • Unprocessed honey is thought to be a very effective natural hay fever remedy. Raw honey contains various types of pollen and when it is consumed on a regular basis, it helps to de-sensitize the immune system to pollen. This helps to reduce both the severity and number of hay fever attacks a person suffers.
  • An unusual remedy, but a most effective one is not to blow your nose when the hay fever makes it itch. Blowing your nose disturbs the pollen settled on the inner surfaces, and will makes things worse. Controlling the urge to blow your nose, or to sneeze may seem impossible, but if you feel a sneeze coming on, just place your forefinger horizontally above your upper lip and press, this will deaden the nerves in your nasal area, and the urge to sneeze will fade away.

Diet for Hay Fever

People who suffer from hay fever should follow a healthy balanced diet to ensure that they do not contract secondary infections. In addition to this, it is also advisable to include fish like salmon, herring, and tuna in a hay fever diet plan as these fish have anti-inflammatory effects. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet but avoid tomatoes and oranges as they could aggravate hay fever. You could also include in your diet beans, lentils and tofu along with garlic and onion. Most importantly it is necessary to drink a minimum of two to three liters of water a day.

Allergic reactions can be treated by natural remedies, the best being a healthy diet that includes plenty of warm soups and broths. Soups and broths help to ease respiratory problems and expel excess nasal mucus. The warmth from these foods also helps to reduce irritation and inflammation if you have a sore throat. Add carrot, sweet potato, green peppers and pumpkin to your soups as these vegetables are rich in Vitamin C which helps to prevent secondary infections.

Suggestions for Hay Fever

Allergic reactions can be treated by natural remedies, the best being a healthy diet that includes plenty of warm soups and broths. Soups and broths help to ease respiratory problems and expel excess nasal mucus. The warmth from these foods also helps to reduce irritation and inflammation if you have a sore throat. Add carrot, sweet potato, green peppers and pumpkin to your soups as these vegetables are rich in Vitamin C which helps to prevent secondary infections.


  1. Bernstein JA, et al. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel Trial Comparing Capsaicin Nasal Spray with Placebo in Subjects with a Significant Component of Nonallergic Rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2011;107;171-8.

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5 Hay Fever remedies suggested by our users
hay fever
suggested by sharuk on Sunday, September 2, 2007

take boil water , put some fenugreek seeds seed and some holy basil leaf, boil it and take it several time,fever will come down , put cold pack on forhead and on stomach , and sleep on right hand ..

Manage your hayfever
suggested by clay on Friday, June 29, 2007

I've suffered from the effects of hayfever more most of my life. The best remedy for me is to combine lemon, honey, pollen and a local extract. Mix 2 tablespoons of LOCAL honey, 1/4 teaspoon of LOCAL pollen, 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon, and LOCAL herbal antihistamine extract. I live in Northern California a I use a local nettle leaf ((urtica dioica) extract. I stir the ingredients in a cup and consume by the spoonful. I've used this remedy at the onset of symptoms. I cannot attest to its effects as a preventive but I believe that it, combined with Vit B would serve you well.

hay fever
suggested by john on Sunday, May 13, 2007

i get realy bad hayfever every year and have used them all, honey with added pollen on toast or bread three months before the season starts once a day is working for me , it gets the body used to pollen john

Bye Bye Hayfever
suggested by Mallika on Wednesday, January 3, 2007

I suffered for couple of years with continuous sneezing / blocked and itchy nose. I was prescribed Nasaleze powder spray used it for 3 days only and it amazingly worked.Im breathing freely and have a good night sleep.

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