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Acorn Health Blog

What we love is great health...

...and we like to write about how we can all achieve better health, naturally. Sometimes tips on how you can DIY to better health and sometimes on the therapies that can make a difference to you, your health and wellbeing.
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Hay-Fever Hacks for Pollen Allergies .. what haven’t you tried yet?

General Health & Wellbeing, Therapies Posted on Tue, March 26, 2024 11:12AM

Author:    Eileen Strong, Holistic Therapies & Health Coaching 

It’s Spring-time here in the the UK right now; such a beautiful time of year. The bright green shoots of new growth are appearing in nature all around us and we don’t have to look far to see the first of the year’s blossoms in our gardens, on streets, or in the hedgerows, soon to be followed by the luminous yellow glow of Oilseed Rape on the distant hillsides.

Nature is busy adorning herself with flowers that help to provide food for some of our favourite insects such as bees and butterflies along with many other species.

 I can wax lyrical all day long about that .. but if you’re a Hay-fever Sufferer, you may be feeling less enthused and it’s time to just refresh yourself on your go-to list of Hay-Fever Hacks.

Hay-Fever is also known as “seasonal allergic rhinitis” and according to the NHS (UK National Health Service) and AllergyUK, it is caused by tree and grass pollen from springtime through summer, or weed pollen in the autumn.

Lady with Hay Fever Allergy sneezing. Background of OilSeed Rape Flowers. Hay Fever Hacks.  Image Credit to Corina from Pixabay

AllergyUK has a useful “Pollen Calendar” available for free download from their website to give Hay Fever sufferers a better idea of the particular time-frames specific pollens are likely to be in abundance – although if your particular allergy is to Oilseed Rape, you might notice less of it about from 2024. I’ve added a handy link to that if you want to take a peek Pollen Calendar – Source AllergyUK

There is also a non seasonal “perennial allergic rhinitis” that can happen all year round, and that’s believed to be caused by indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, mould spores and so on. They even mention cockroach poop 😱 as a common allergen, exposure to air pollution, and occupational allergens (chemicals, including household cleaning products, fumes, etc).  Today, I’m just going to talk about the seasonal allergic rhinitis sort. Otherwise this blog about popular Hay-Fever hacks is just going to get way too long and complicated; tho’ my heart goes out to one and all reading this who get any sort of allergic reaction that makes life miserable for them.

Not Sure? Get tested.

If you aren’t 100% sure if your allergy is Pollen or non-Pollen related, get Tested first! It sounds obvious but lots of folks don’t bother with this.

You can get a referral through your GP in the UK for an allergy test (Allergies – NHS (www.nhs.uk)) and you can also get private tests done.  They are usually blood tests and patch tests.  Other naturopathic or homeopathic practitioners may also be able to help you out here so find out where your nearest practitioners are, and arrange a consultation or just email them for a bit more info on what their services are.

As ever, do a bit of research .. but please DO remember that Google is a Search Engine, not a ReSearch Engine;


Common Symptoms

Most common symptoms are bulleted below. (If I’ve missed any that should be glaringly obvious, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list):

  • Runny, itchy, watery eyes and nose
  • Stuffed-up, congested sinus
  • Itchy mouth, throat
  • Feeling of pressure or discomfort around temples/forehead
  • Itchiness or pain in the inner ear
  • Headaches
  • Loss of sense of smell and/or taste
  • Feeling fatigued and tired, wanting to sleep

If you have other body “stuff” going on as well, such as Asthma for example, then you might additionally feel more of a tightness in your chest, a shortness of breath, or experience more wheeziness or coughing. It’s no fun.

10 Little Actions to avoid your Pollen Allergy triggers “Don’t List”

They sound like fairly common sense, and this is what sources like NHS and AllergyUK recommend:

  • Don’t Mow the Grass
  • Don’t Walk on the Grass
  • Don’t have fresh flowers in the house
  • Don’t Go Outside
  • If you go Outside, Don’t Spend too long Outside (especially if pollen count is high, naturally)
  • Don’t dry clothes outside (in case they catch airborn pollen and then it’ll come inside)
  • Don’t let your pets outside (in case they come back in, carrying pollen in their coats)
  • Don’t let other family members outside or don’t let them back in again! If you do let them in, make sure they de-pollenate first.
  • Don’t leave your windows or doors open
  • Don’t go out unless you’re wearing wraparound sunglasses (to keep pollen out of your eyes)
  • Don’t mix with other people if you have a high temperature or if you’re feeling so rubbish that you can’t do your normal activities.

Depending on how much you like your own company, or enjoy being indoors until mid-afternoon on those warm, humid and windy days and the pollen count is high, you might now find, however, that on top of all your unpleasant physical symptoms, you’ll also now be feeling Frustrated, Angry, Isolated, Trapped and very very Powerless.  

On the sunny side, you could reframe this completely and turn these days into Duvet Days or Pyjama Mornings.  😎

To plan in advance, keep an eye on the Met Office’s Pollen Count Forecast … click HERE for a link to that.

 

So, what other Hay-Fever Hacks will help?

If you want to go down the Medical route first, the most common options are:-

  • AntiHistamines .. you can take them in various forms such as tablets, liquids, syrups, creams, lotions, capsules, eyedrops, or nasal sprays. Your local trusted Pharmacist will be happy to advise, discuss with you what’s most suitable for your particular type of allergy, and be able to offer you something over-the-counter. They’re usually classified into one of two groups: “drowsy” and “non-drowsy”(self explanatory?) You can find out more about those here: NHS_Anti-Histamines

OR, by-pass your Pharmacist and get in the queue for an appointment with your regular G.P. before the end of the Pollen Season.

  • Steroids .. on prescription, usually in the form a nasal spray. Ask plenty of questions, and make sure you are ASKED plenty of questions too, to get the best brand for your particular allergy. You can find out more about those here: NHS_Steroid_Nasal_Spray
  • Immunotherapy .. on prescription, with a course of treatments that start in the winter BEFORE the Hay Fever season. You’ll be given teensy amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your own natural immunity to pollen. You can find out more about Immunotherapy here: WikiPedia_Immunotherapy. It isn’t just used for allergies; it’s also being researched as a possible treatment for some forms of cancer too.

 

What are the Other Effects of Anti-Histamines, Steroids or Immunotherapy?

This isn’t my specialty subject at all, so I won’t go there in detail. Your Pharmacist or GP should, as a matter of course, discuss possible other effects (“side-effects”) with you so You can make an informed decision. Hay Fever is quite common, but your particular combination of symptoms is unique to you. So I’d just recommend that you DO your own research, and ask as many questions as you want to ensure you are completely happy with your choice.

There is a lot to be said for both the PLACEBO affect and the NOCEBO affect; if you think it’s going to be good or bad for you, you’re probably going to be right. But, there’s nothing quite like taking responsibility for your own health, doing your own bit of research, and just doing a bit of “trial and error” testing to find out what will work best for you. And if you don’t like the results of your choice, you can always change it. As the wise man said, if you keep doing the same thing you’ve always done, then you’ll just keep getting more of what you’ve already got. It’s good to mix things up a bit and try something different.

Please DO remember that Experts who are Experts in their own field will usually just advocate those things they are Expert in.   So it’s very likely that you will get conflicting Expert Opinions. Don’t let this confuse or overwhelm you.  Get a good overview of what’s out there. And make your own decisions based on what feels most right for you.  You can always change your decision and try something else at a later date.

Helping yourself to non-med Hay-Fever Hacks – the “Do List”

Sometimes you’ll want to avoid a medical approach, perhaps because you are pregnant for example and advised to avoid certain meds; are allergic to the meds; simply have a personal preference that way. But let’s say you’re trying an Anti-Histamine medication, and it is helping to reduce the itchiness in your eyes, ears, nose and throat. Your health-related quality of life has improved, and the other effects (“side-effects”) are all okay with you; not too intrusive/expensive/offensive/debilitating.

But you’d really like to do a bit more to help your body out and show it a bit of Love and TLC by giving it a bit more support in all it’s natural, innate, healing processes. My belief from my own experiences and from working with hundreds of client cases is that your body WILL ALWAYS try to rebalance, repair and renew itself, especially when you look after it, honour it, and give it the recognition and appreciation it deserves.

Having an integrated approach to health is a really positive step forward as it gives you the most choices, a wider perspective, and therefore increases the options and opportunities open to you. Win win win.

#1 Make your own Medicine Bag

  • If you like honey, visit a local farm shop or bee-keeper whose hives are positioned close to where you live. It’s understood that just a spoonful of local honey a day (and it MUST be local, not a random bottle from the supermarket) will help your body build a natural tolerance to pollen in your area; I know several people who do this and they do believe it’s made a difference.
  • Increase your anti-oxidant levels to help build the resilience of your immune system. Quercitin is often recommended for this, which can be found readily available in onions, apples, berries and black tea. Do a bit of extra research here and you’ll find many more sources too.
  • If you don’t mind the taste, chamomile tea is not only calming, it is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, so it may help you with those inflamed and irritated sinus passageways. If you really don’t like the taste, you could always pop a bit of aforementioned local honey in it, or add a bit of lemon or ginger.
  • Dab a smear of coconut oil (or something similar) around your nostrils to help catch pollen at point of entry before it gets into your nasal passageways, ready to just wipe away.
  • Do remember to keep a pack of tissues in your pocket or handbag! See next bullet point!
  • Sanitising your hands (especially after you’ve been in contact with grass, flowers, or even dust / animal hair) can be super helpful. It’s surprising how often we touch our own faces in the course of a day with an eye-rub here or a little scratch there, and so on.  Not all sanitisers are drying or a bit caustic on skin .. shop around a bit for one that does the job in a kind way.  I use a beautifully fragranced organic Lavendin Spritz Spray in my holistic therapy practice for cleansing my hands between clients  (I’m not allergic to Lavendin, by the way)!  So if you opt for a natural sanitiser, check the ingredients aren’t sourced from anything you could be allergic to). (Message me if you want to know where I get my pure organic  Lavendin spritz from; it’s one of a kind and made with love and moon-light here in Cornwall, UK)
  • Take a bit of an exploratory dive into the world of Aromatherapy and get a little bottle of Eucalyptus oil. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve sinus congestion when inhaled; suggested method is a drop or two in a bowl of warm water and inhale the steam.   You could always add a drop to a tissue too, and inhale the scent through the course of your day.

Have you got anything else in your Hay-Fever Hack Medicine Bag? Let me know what else works for you and I’ll add it to the list to share with others.

#2 Natural Holistic & Complementary Therapies at Acorn

Any  natural/holistic centre or qualified Holistic Therapist in your neighbourhood will have a service that can help you manage your Hay Fever allergy symptoms to support whatever actions you are doing to help yourself. 

Here at Acorn, we have some fabulously effective services you can give a try.  At the time of writing, (post written in March 2024) here are some of our favourite suggestions that you can give a try, depending on the spare time you have available and your healthy-self budget:

HOPI EAR CANDLING – with Eileen and Anne-Marie

Thermo-Auricular Therapy (Hopi-Ear Candling) is a complementary therapy that can be used alongside medical treatments. It’s a relaxing, soothing, non-invasive treatment that’s been around for thousands of years in different cultures. It’s’ used extensively in Europe in medical and non-medical settings to help with ENT (Ear Nose Throat) issues. 

Hopi Ear Candling with EileenStrongCoaching.  Therapist demonstrating use of lit Hopi Ear Candle and client relaxing on couch

At Acorn, our therapists are myself (Eileen Strong) and Anne-Marie Allen. We’re both holistic therapists, qualified in a number of different therapies.  

Eileen and Anne-Marie got together recently to make a short video on Hopi-Ear candling and explain more about it here.  To view the Hopi Video, click here.

Here are our 3 Hopi-Ear Candling Services for you to choose from, along with handy booking link:

  • Candling only, lasts about 40 mins, that can help draw wax from the ear, “un-pop” ears, clear muffled hearing;    To BOOK with EILEEN click here
  • Candling + micro-massage/acu-point facial/lymph drainage massage lasts about 75 mins which is addresses allergy symptoms and de-congestion of ear nose throat, soothing runny eyes, reducing facial puffiness and promoting relaxation and a deep night’s sleep.  To BOOK WITH EILEEN CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Eileen’s other services, visit her official website here: eileenstrongcoaching.com

To find out more about Anne-Marie’s other services, visit her official website here: naturaltouch-therapies.co.uk

COMBINATION THERAPIES

Anne Marie offers a combination therapy that excludes Hopi Candling but includes 3 of her favourite treatments:  reflexology, aromatherapy and facial massage.   She’ll use specially blended aromatherapy oils to help you relax and de-stress whilst acting as natural antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and decongestant. The deeply relaxing Reflexology will help to heal and balance your body whilst helping to:

  • Boost the immune system, 
  • relieve and open congested sinuses, 
  • reduce stress, 
  • clear a stuffy head 
  • reduce inflammation

The treatment is topped with a wonderful facial massage helping to reduce stress, to clear the sinuses and bring relief to itchy eyes.  To BOOK WITH ANNE MARIE CLICK HERE

OTHER NATURAL HEALTH OPTIONS for ALLERGIES

There are other natural health options available at Acorn that you may not have previously considered.  As ever, do your own research and see what resonates with you the most.

EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE

A lesser known yet extremely effective approach for allergies is a combination of Chinese Medicine and modern Psychology principles, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).   It may sound a bit weird to be connecting what seems to be a purely physical symptom (pollen allergy) with a therapy that sounds purely emotional.  A fair point well made, we think. 

A person and person sitting in chairs using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) eileenstrongcoaching.com

However, as those of us in Holistic Health & Wellbeing circles well know, the Mental Physical Emotional and Spiritual bodies all work in harmony and synchronously with each other.  So where ever this is “something going on” in the physical body, there will also be “something going on” in the other 3 bodies that correspond to some degree. 

So, in short, It can be very useful for people with long term chronic allergies, who have “tried everything” and feel they are at their proverbial wits end with their particular allergy, but haven’t thought of addressing this in the scope of a different perspective. 

You’ll first want to book an online consultation, so you can have a chat with our practitioner about your particular case, to make sure it’s going to be a good effective option you, and then take it from there.

To BOOK EFT CONSULTATION WITH EILEEN CLICK HERE

Consultations are ONLINE on Mondays.  If you would rather have an In-Person consultation with Eileen in her therapy room at Heanor on a Friday, then please contact her direct her via our Acorn Office to arrange.

HOMEOPATHY

Homeopathic remedies can be used to help improve your body’s resilience to the pathogens that trigger your allergy, and boost your overall vitality.  There are more than 40 specific homeopathic remedies to help with Hay Fever so, since these can significantly reduce your susceptibility to hay fever, this may also be a provide you with an additional avenue to explore.

To BOOK A HOMEOPATHIC SESSION WITH JADWIGA CLICK HERE

To find out more about Jadwiga’s other services, visit her official website here ComplementaryMedicineClinic

 

Allergy Caution according to the National Health Service UK

This blog represents the author’s experiences and views on HAYFEVER only, and does not diagnose. The NHS online resources brings attention to the following Red Flags list of allergy symptoms that are useful to be aware of in the event of other sorts of allergic reaction that require emergency NHS attention: Red Flags for allergies


#seasonal_rhinitis #hayfever #allergies #antihistomine #side_effects #integrated_health #holistic_health #ENT #ear_nose_throat #pollencount #mind_body_medicine #naturalhealth #louisehay #mindbodymedicine #lifestylemedicine #honey #pollen #perennial_allergic_rhinitis #hopi_ear_candling #thermo-auricular_therapy #pollen count  #pollen calendar

Sources:

AllergyUK (2024) Hay Fever @AllergyUK.org

AllergyUK (2024) Pollen-Calendar-download @AllergyUK.org

NHS (2024) Hay Fever @NHS.UK

NHS (2024) AntiHistomines @NHS.uk

NHS (2024) Testing Allergies – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

eileenstrongcoaching (2024) Thermo-Auricular_Therapy @eileenstrongcoaching.com

Study.com (2024) How do antihistamines work? @Study.com



Spotlight on: Acai Berries

General Health & Wellbeing Posted on Tue, July 27, 2021 12:58PM

Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) berries have become incredibly popular in the form of dietary supplements over the past few years, both in capsule and powder form.

Why are Acai Berries considered as superfruits?

This is in no small part due to the significant media attention they have received, since being more widely recognised in the Western world as a “superfruit”. In other words, a fruit with an exceptionally high nutrient-to-calorie ratio compared to other fruits of a similar kind. For example, in terms of antioxidant, essential fatty acid, vitamin or mineral content.

Although having only just recently entered the wider public consciousness in the West, South Americans native to the Amazon have been enjoying the nutritional benefits of these tasty berries for many years. In fact, they are considered to be an essential food source for three traditional Caboclo populations in the Brazilian Amazon, because they make up a major component of their diet – up to 42% of their total food intake by weight! A fact which reflects their incredibly high nutrient content.

Found only in swampy areas of the Amazon rainforest (Central and South America), acai berries are pretty exotic – which explains why they haven’t ever popped up on the shelves of our supermarkets! They are small and round (approximately 25mm in size) and grow on large palm trees called açaí palms, which can reach over 80 feet in height. The berries grow in bunches (similar to bananas) and an average açaí palm tree can yield between 3 to 8 bunches of berries.

Once ripe, acai berries bear a strong resemblance to grapes and blueberries, except that they are not quite as pulpy. They contain a large, inedible seed, which constitutes as much as 90% of the entire fruit! Although hard to find in their natural whole food form, everyone can now access the nutritional benefits of these berries on a daily basis through the convenience of health supplements, which will often incorporate both acai berry powder and concentrated extract.

But why might you want to incorporate acai berry nutrients into your daily diet?

  • Immune system support: A big clue to their high nutrient content is given away by the deep blue / purple colour of acai berries. Like most other brightly coloured natural foods, they contain healthy pigments, which support immunity, health and vitality. For example, flavonoids and potent antioxidants (such as anthocyanins). They are also a rich source of Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids (good fats).
  • Heart health support: As well as containing high levels of anthocyanins, research has also shown that acai berries are rich in phytosterols which may provide cardio-protective support for our cells.
  • Energy support: Acai berries contain high levels of plant protein. Combined with their high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients, they can offer ideal support for high energy levels, stamina and general vitality.
  • Weight management support: When trying to shape up, you are obviously looking to decrease your intake of high-calorie unhealthy foods, in favour of nutrient-packed foods that are naturally low in calories. Not only will this encourage a healthy weight, it will also help to ensure that your general health remains strong during any periods of slimming and reduced food choice. In this way, acai berries can provide ideal weight management support.

So now you know why acai berries have been causing a stir in the natural health world! And these are just some of their nutritional benefits. Plus, if you favour an organic lifestyle or are trying to detox, it is worth bearing in mind that acai berries are wild harvested, as opposed to farmed. This means that they aren’t exposed to harmful pesticides and fertilisers.

Acai berries offer great all-round healthy living support – why not try them for yourself?