Reviewed by Dr Andre Budihardjo, MM and Physician Lim Sock Ling
Quiz: 6 Causes of Hay Fever and How to Treat It Naturally
Published | 6 min read
Are your eyes watering and you can’t stop sneezing? Take steps to reduce your exposure to allergens and prevent hay fever
When flowers start to bloom and fresh blades of grass sway in the breeze, your nose might water and your eyes itch. It sounds like a bout of hay fever is cropping up.
Statistics from the last World Allergy Forum showed that approximately 50% of the global teenage population had airway allergies like hay fever and
In Malaysia, hay fever onset is believed to stem from indoor and outdoor
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Cigarette smoke
- Exposure to grass
- Exposure to pollen
- Exposure to air pollutants
Are you at a risk for hay fever? Take this quiz to find out.
What are the Steps You Can Take to Prevent Hay Fever?
It’s not possible to avoid pollen completely. But reducing your exposure to it may help prevent allergies from developing. Try these tips:
- Avoid the use of fresh flowers in your house
- Wipe surfaces around the house with a damp instead of a dry cloth
- Keep doors and windows shut when you’re at home
- Clean your house regularly with a vacuum that has a high-efficiency particle-arresting (HEPA) filter
If you smoke, you should quit smoking or stop people from lighting up inside your house. This may appear insignificant, but smoking can expose you and your loved ones to over 7,000 chemicals (250 of which are extremely harmful to your health).
Another tip is to apply a small quantity of petroleum jelly to your lower nostrils to keep pollen from entering your nasal passages.
If you do have to go outdoors, steer clear of grassy areas during the early hours of the morning, in the evening, and at night. Take a shower and change your clothes immediately to remove all traces of pollen from your body.
How Can You Treat a Hay Fever?
A general healthcare provider can diagnose hay fever from a description of your symptoms. However, you’ll need to see an immunologist if you suffer from symptoms all year round, or if your symptoms aren’t responding to treatment.
Blood tests can help identify the presence of the Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody. The antibody is produced when your body encounters pollen, potentially confirming hay fever onset.
Antihistamines such as cetirizine, fexofenadine, and loratadine block histamine production. Histamine is a chemical your body releases when it suspects a potential allergen attack.
A general healthcare provider will prescribe corticosteroid nasal sprays or drops if you have a blocked nose, are pregnant or
Ensure that you follow the instructions, as incorrect use can lead to the development of side effects such as:
- Nose bleeding
- Nose irritation and dryness
- An itchy skin rash around your nose
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
A five to seven-day course of corticosteroid tablets is suitable for short-term relief of hay fever symptoms. Prolonged use that extends over ten days may cause weight gain, moodiness, and acne onset.
Immunotherapy will teach your body to become resistant to allergens. A specialist will perform the treatment to ensure there is proper management in case of a potentially severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
The allergen is introduced to your body in the form of an injection or a tablet that dissolves under the tongue. You’ll be monitored for an hour before being sent home with a prescription for allergen tablets.
Eye drops can be purchased over the counter to ease redness, itching, and allergic conjunctivitis. These drops contain antihistamines like azelastine and olopatadine, which reduce inflammation and provide symptom relief.
A decongestant can reduce blood vessel swelling in the nose, opening the nasal passage and helping you breathe easier.
You shouldn’t use a decongestant for more than seven days as it may aggravate nasal passage dryness and irritation and worsen congestion.
TCM Remedies For Hay Fever
“Apart from inherited risk factors, you can also be vulnerable to hay fever due to acquired factors, such as Lung, Spleen, or Kidney Deficiencies.”
A TCM practitioner may propose the use of acupuncture and herbal remedies to treat the condition holistically.
Herbal formulas and ingredients
A variety of herbal remedies can be used to tackle strengthening Lung qi, remove Wind and improve hay fever symptoms. One formula is Yu Ping Feng San (玉屏风散), which is effective as a supplementary treatment.
To relieve individual hay fever symptoms, drink herbal tea made from ginger (sheng jiang, 生姜), rosemary (mi die xiang, 迷迭香), turmeric (jiang huang, 姜黄), and green tea (lu cha, 绿茶).
Ginger is as effective as loratadine in improving nasal symptoms and has fewer side effects while rosemary is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It helps treat many respiratory disorders, including asthma and allergies.
Green tea can reduce hay fever symptoms.
A 2015 systemic review involving 2,365 people with hay fever showed that acupuncture could improve quality of life.
Some of the
- Feng chi (GB20, 风池)
- He gu (LI4, 合谷)
- Ying xiang (LI20, 迎香)
- Yin tang (EXHN3, 印堂)
- Zu san li (ST36, 足三里)
You can overcome hay fever symptoms by avoiding indoor and outdoor irritants. If you want to try the above herbal remedies or alternative treatments, consult a licensed TCM practitioner especially if you’re pregnant.
Prevent hay fever from striking with the tips from this article. Share this with your loved ones if they’re prone to the condition too.
- Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology. Overview. [online] [13 October 2022]
- NHS inform. Preventing hay fever. [online] [13 October 2022]
- NHS inform. Diagnosing hay fever. [online] [13 October 2022]
- NHS inform. Treating hay fever. [online] [13 October 2022]
- National Library of Medicine. 2015. Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. [online] [13 October 2022]
- All Things Health. 2022. Why Your Non-Stop Sneezing Could Be Allergic Rhinitis. [online] [13 October 2022]
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