Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis
Whilst most people eagerly welcome the arrival of Spring each year, with it’s promise of warmer weather, for those that suffer with seasonal rhinitis Spring heralds the start of itchy eyes, running noses and blocked sinuses. In the UK 10-15% of children, and 26% of adults are affected (GK Scadding et al, 2017). Seasonal allergic rhinitis or hayfever most commonly affects sufferers during May to August when grass pollen levels are at their highest. However, tree pollen, weeds and other airborne allergens can cause the same symptoms and these can extend the season from February to October. Some people have hayfever symptoms all year round and those unlucky souls are likely to be reacting to common allergens such as dust mites, pet dander or mould spores.
Research has shown that, for some people, allergic rhinitis and asthma are closely linked. If the allergic rhinitis isn’t well managed, asthma symptoms may worsen.
There are, however, things you can do to reduce your exposure to allergens, help manage symptoms and maybe even reduce the amount of medication needed:
- Check weather reports for daily pollen counts.
- When pollen counts are high, keep windows and doors closed; especially in the early morning and early evening.
- Use a damp cloth when dusting to avoid dispersing dust into the air.
- Wash bedding weekly, at high temperatures (55-60⁰c).
- Dry clothes indoors during high pollen counts.
- Shower or bath before bed to remove excess pollen from hair and skin.
- Wash soft toys at high temperatures or place in the freezer for 24 hours and then wash.
Acupuncture could be helpful in reducing the symptoms of hayfever and other allergies by boosting the immune system to make it work more effectively.
The British Acupuncture Council reports that “Recent randomised controlled trials have found that acupuncture used as an adjunct to routine care for allergic rhinitis has clinically relevant and persistent benefits (Brinkhaus 2008) and is cost effective (Witt 2009).
Allergy UK recommends that conventional treatment for allergic rhinitis is started at least 2 weeks before symptoms usually appear. As with conventional treatments, it is recommended that acupuncture is started as early in the season as possible in order to have the greatest effect.
The idea of using reflexology may surprise some people, however it can be helpful in reducing the severity of hayfever symptoms and is becoming a popular treatment for it.
Reflexology works on the principle that acupressure points in the foot correspond to different parts of the body. To relieve hayfever symptoms the therapist will concentrate on areas relating to the nose, sinuses, eyes and lungs. As with other complementary therapies, the earlier treatment is started the more effective it is likely to be.
So, rather than shut yourself away for the summer with a mountain of tissues, why not give us a call and one of our friendly team will be happy to talk you through your options.