AaaChoo! Stupid Allergies!!!! Part 2: What the Heck is Hay Fever and How do you get rid of it?

Hay Fever.  I have heard this term for common allergies since I was a little girl.  I never really understood how my parents could have “Hay Fever” when there was no hay in our backyard and they did not have fevers.  I understood when my Grandmother said she had Hay Fever; she did live near hay but again never seemed to have a fever.  Subsequently, I have been leery of hay ever since.

The scientific name of Hay Fever is “seasonal allergic rhinitis”.  It is caused most frequently by the harvesting of hay fields, corn fields, wheat fields, etc. Harvesting causes the allergens, in this case various pollens, to be released into the air getting into our nasal passages, throats and eyes. 

Hay Fever is also blamed when trees, grasses, weeds and flowers bloom.  Since blooming happens all year this is called “perennial allergic rhinitis”.  I don’t believe we should call that Hay Fever as hay is harvested once a year. Perennial allergic rhinitis is the cause of yelling “Stupid Allergies!

As stated in my previous blog, Definitions, an allergy is caused when the body perceives an attack.  It goes to war, releasing antibodies to fight the allergens. The result is damaged mast cells and the production of annoying histamines, causing runny noses, itchy eyes and scratchy throats.

The most common medicines to control histamines are Antihistamines and Decongestants.

Antihistamines come in various forms and are the most readily available to us over the counter.

You would think antihistamines combat and break down the dreaded histamine, but no, they only protect the mast cells from the damage that occurs in war.

Brands like Claritin, Zyrtec and Benadryl are all oral antihistamines and can help all the symptoms of allergies but have side effects like dry mouth and drowsiness.

Astelin, Astepro are nasal sprays that strictly deal with the congestion and in some cases, the always attractive post nasal drip.  Side effects include headaches and nosebleeds.

Zaditor, Visine-A and Opcon-A are eye drops and can fight the histamines that cause itchy eyes but be aware the side effects seem to be similar to the symptoms with red, burning and watery eyes.

Decongestants do what the name describes, de-congest.  They do not control allergies nor cure them but they will help you breathe.

Brands like Sudafed (an oral decongestant), Afrin (nasal) and Visine or Clear Eyes (eyes drops) all have similar side effects: irritation, fast or irregular heartbeat, headaches.

One could always go the natural route.  Considering it is nature that causes this war within our bodies, there should be some natural way of defending ourselves.

The major players on this team are Butterbur, a root that has been effective at relieving nasal symptoms without causing drowsiness but the side effects if eaten in its raw form can be dangerous.

Next up is Quercetin, found in wine (YEAH!) and some fruits and veggies, acts as a mast cell stabilizer and helps block the release of histamines but researchers are still testing the long lasting effects.

Other players include Vitamin C, Stinging Nettle leaves, Grape Seed extract and Echinacea.

I understand now that Hay Fever is a misnomer.  We should call it Pollen Fever or Allergen Attack.  But I think I will just continue to call it Stupid Allergies!!

Sources: 

WebMD: Natural Allergy Supplements

Mayo Clinic: Allergy Medications

MedicineNet

Felicia

About Felicia

Hello, I am Felicia and I am one of the founding members of Health Now, Wealth Forever. When we came up with the concept of starting our family business, I was enthusiastic just to spend time working on a project with my family. But, as we have grown and expanded, my passion for educating myself and others - about alternative health options and changing the way we view finances and life - has taken over. While I admit I am not the healthiest of our group, I am working on it daily and hope that the articles I write help you to work on it with me. Thank you for supporting us and allowing us to open our minds and yours to an alternative way of look at health, wealth and life!

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