Spring brings us nice weather, beautiful flowers, and outdoor activities. Many Aussies agree it’s our most beautiful time of year! However, for about 18% of Australians, spring is not enjoyable due to spring allergies.
If you are among that percentage, spring can be far less fun for you. Hayfever symptoms of ongoing runny nose, sneezing, congestion, itchiness, can sure make one miserable. Not to mention that asthma can significantly limit daily activities. Hayfever can inflame asthma symptoms and make them more difficult to control. About 80% of people with asthma have hayfever.
Although Spring starts officially on September 1, it’s never too early to prepare for allergy season. Here are a few ways to combat spring allergies so that this season is more enjoyable.
Know the Reason for Your Allergy
You may know you are allergic to pollen, but which type of pollen? Many don’t know, but there’s more than one type of pollen. Your allergy can be caused by any of the following.
- Tree pollen – White Cypress Pine is an Australian tree that produces highly allergenic pollen. It grows from the western slopes and plains of Eastern Australia across to Western Australia, and blooms from late July to the end of August. Wattle trees are also blamed for early spring allergy symptoms. There are many species of Casuarina and Australian Oak trees that produce pollen throughout the year and may cause hayfever symptoms at any time of the year.
- Grass pollen – Depending on rainfall, grass pollen is generally detectable in the late spring and continuous through the summer. It tends to disappear with the colder fall weather.
- Mould – As the soil warms up, the mould spores begin to be released. This type of pollen is very weather dependent and increase dramatically in the days following rain. Mould counts can be higher in certain environments such as farms, greenhouses and antique stores.
Start Treatment With Medication Early
Allergy medicine works best when you start using it before your symptoms begin. So, if you know the spring season is a difficult time for your allergies, start taking a daily allergy medicine ahead of time. Taking a daily antihistamine or using a hayfever spray can help reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies. There is a range of allergy medications in over-the-counter forms, so consider talking with your doctor to find the right medication for you.
You can use allergy sprays without worries as these rarely have side effects except for maybe an irritated nose or a bitter taste in your mouth. If your nose gets irritated, you can try a moisturizing nasal gel after you use the spray. The different hayfever spray products available on the market include:
- Saline spray – saltwater sprays that can rinse away allergens, ease stuffiness and loosen mucus. These sprays don’t have medication in them – they are just water and salt.
- Steroid spray – these sprays can help with most allergy symptoms like itching, sneezing, runny nose and stuffiness. Due to their effectiveness and rare side effects, they are a very popular allergy treatment option. They are often the first thing doctors recommend.
- Antihistamine spray – prescription sprays that usually work within minutes and can ease congestion, postnatal drip, and sneezing. They can be used every day or just while experiencing the symptoms.
When it comes to allergy pills, antihistamines are the most commonly used. Prescription and nonprescription antihistamine pills can help if you itch, sneeze, and have a runny nose. However, these pills don’t help ease congestion.
Modern antihistamine medications are less likely to make you drowsy. If you are wondering if can you take hayfever tablets and nasal spray together, sometimes your doctor will suggest using both to help ease the allergy symptoms.
Decongestants shrink swollen nasal tissue and relieve a stuffy nose. Decongestants in sprays work quicker than decongestants in pills. Keep in mind that these drugs can raise blood pressure, so talk to your doctor before taking them.
Use Essential Oils as a Complementary or Alternative Treatment
An allergic reaction is in fact the overreaction of your immune system to an allergen. In other to stop unwanted invaders (allergens) your cells immediately release histamine, which is what causes your blood vessels to expand (to hustle off the allergen). Before you know it, your nose is runny, you are sneezing and coughing, you have watery eyes or you have inflamed and itchy, red blotches all over your skin.
Drinking plenty of water will help prevent high histamine production, hence alleviate the allergy symptoms. Certain organic essential oils are not only highly effective and powerful enough to quickly relieve your allergy symptoms, but also boost your immunity as well. Essential oils help:
- Fight inflammation, which is the underlying cause of most allergies.
- Soothe and calm most of your allergy symptoms, and fast.
- Strength your immune system so it’s less likely to react to harmless intruders.
- Clean and unblock allergens from entering both your body and home.
Depending on the time of the year or the symptoms you may be experiencing, blending two or three oils will increase the benefits in the fight against your allergies. The most popular organic essential oils for seasonal allergies are eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon and frankincense, but if you are struggling to sleep you can try adding lavender to the mix. To treat a skin allergy, tea tree, lavender and chamomile essential oils are your best options.
One of the most popular ways to use essential oils to treat allergies is diffusing them. Add a few drops of the oil or blend to a plug-in diffuser or oil burner. This method is especially beneficial for treating the symptoms of seasonal allergies as well as other respiratory conditions. You may also find relief for your congestion by adding a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water and breathing in the vapours. Add 5 drops of essential oil to your pillow for nighttime allergy relief.