Hay fever is expected to rise dramatically in the next two weeks as levels of Birch pollen increase, according to pollen expert, Dr Jean Emberlin, Director of Allergy UK. A combination of warm, sunny days, light winds and air pollution are increasing the likelihood of sudden hay fever attacks this year. Dr Emberlin states the incidence of hay fever has doubled over the last 30 years and suggests that the reasons for this include more severe pollen seasons due to climate change and the hygiene hypothesis. This theory suggests that as a result of our cleaner living conditions we do not expose our children to endotoxins during the first year of life. This may lead to a greater tendency for allergies to develop later in life.
Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is a term used to describe the body's response to allergens such as grass or tree pollens. In response to an allergen, such as pollen, the body produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) which triggers the production of histamine. The effect of histamine includes dilation of blood vessels; making them abnormally permeable. The body's sympathetic nervous system goes into a fight or flight mode and if left untreated becomes chronically inflamed.
The symptoms of hay fever are often debilitating for sufferers and include frequent sneezing; runny and/or blocked nose; conjunctivitis and itchy throat and ears. Headaches, facial pain and tiredness may also be experienced. Sleep disturbances are reported by 50% of sufferers and sporting and social activities are negatively affected as the sufferer is forced to stay indoors when their symptoms are at their worse. Studies have also shown that hay fever impacts people's emotional health, with over half of sufferers feeling frustrated and irritable. Hay fever can damage people's self-esteem, with 32% of women reporting that they feel unattractive due to symptoms. Hay fever may also have a wider effect on the economy, education and the NHS.
- Allergy UK’s report 'One Airway One Disease: An expert report into the true impact of hay fever and asthma' reveals that over 50,000 people with hay fever are being admitted to hospital with asthma every year. The report warns that over 15 million people whose hay fever symptoms are not controlled are up to three times more likely to develop asthma.
- According to Lloyd Pharmacy, British businesses are estimated to lose £324 million in productivity this year.
- SecEd reported findings of a range of scientific studies showing that 16-24 year olds are most likely to suffer from hay fever, and 50% reporting symptoms around the time of their exams. 40% of students are more likely to drop a grade from January to summer.
What alternative treatments are available?
A survey on behalf of Nelsons Pharmacy showed that 72% of hay fever sufferers would prefer a natural alternative to anti-histamines. Research trials   have shown that homeopathic remedies can produce a significant improvement in hay fever symptoms. Homeopathy can assist a person complaining of hay fever in two ways. Firstly by prescribing a remedy to relieve the acute symptoms of hay fever - this is especially helpful if your hay fever has already started or this is your first episode of hay fever. Secondly, by trying to reduce the frequency your hay fever attacks with constitutional prescribing.
A course of three Bowen treatments has been reported to make a huge difference in onset, duration and intensity of the body’s response to allergens and histamines which trigger hay fever and asthma. Bowen therapy seems to improve a sufferer’s symptoms by acting on the sympathetic nervous system, with many of clients reporting an improvement in nasal congestion and headaches, better respiratory function, improved sleep and increased energy levels.
Contact us for free advice on how we can help you to alleviate your hay fever symptoms on 07746799536 or via email using the enquiry form on our contact page.
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Kim LS, Riedlinger JE, Baldwin CM, Hilli L, Khalsa SV, Messer SA, Waters RF. Treatment of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis Using Homeopathic Preparation of Common Allergens in the Southwest Region of US: A Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial. Ann Pharmacother, 2005, 39(4): 617-24