Summertime, and the living is…sneezy

Along with sun, warmth, and relaxation, summer for many means hay fever. Not only does hay fever have annoying symptoms–sinus congestion and pain, sneezing, itching eyes and nose, runny eyes and nose–but it can also turn into a sinus infection and cause headaches.

Allergic reactions are caused by the immune system responding inappropriately. Over-the-counter allergy medications can have unwanted side effects, most notably drowsiness. Herbal remedies and acupuncture can help, without the side effects.

There are many herbal and dietary approaches to treating and preventing hay fever symptoms. A few examples: 

  • A cup of peppermint tea can help to calm sneezing and itching.
  • Probiotics are helpful if taken for a couple of months before and during hay fever season. Probiotics can take the form of supplements, yogurt (make sure it contains active cultures), and pickled vegetables.
  • Avoid inflammatory foods, such as sugar and dairy. Some people find it helpful to avoid gluten as well.
  • Use a neti pot to rinse the sinuses with a saline solution. This can help to relieve congestion and pressure.

Acupuncture is an effective way to deal with hay fever, because it modulates the immune system. Acupuncture has an accumulative effect. It can break up sinus congestion and soothe an itchy, drippy nose and itchy eyes. With multiple treatments, allergy symptoms can be greatly diminished or avoided completely. To ensure a good result, plan on approximately 6 weeks of treatment (typically once per week), and begin treatment 3 to 4 weeks before the allergy season begins.