Nasal washing for hay fever – how to reduce symptoms with alternative therapies

Avoiding pollen is next to impossible for most, and when it does strike the consequence to sufferers means a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. But there are a number of ways, some lesser-known, to help relieve hay fever

How to reduce hay fever symptoms
Lesser-known remedies to help ease hay fever symptoms

Hay fever patients across the UK are facing worsened symptoms as the summer gets underway and pollen count soars.

As the Met Office warned in June, “very high” pollen levels will affect the more than 10 million people who experience seasonal allergies.

And experts have noted that June has already seen the highest pollen levels in England and Wales so far this year.

Max Wiseberg, airborne allergens expert and creator of HayMax organic allergen barrier balms, said sufferers “need to be well prepared and do everything they can to lessen their hay fever symptoms”.

Could nasal washing help to reduce your hay fever symptoms?

Treatment for hay fever

“Pharmaceutical remedies are generally based on either antihistamines or steroid nasal sprays, whilst natural remedies are based on physical preventative measures, immune boosters or natural antihistamines,” Max explained.

“The interesting thing about this is that many of these remedies can be complementary to each other.

“So, if one helps, but doesn’t do the whole job, you may be able to try other remedies at the same time and get a better result.

“In other words, you can create your own, bespoke hay fever first aid kit that suits your specific needs.”

Popular treatments for hay fever sufferers include:

  • Antihistamine tablets and capsules
  • Antihistamine nasal sprays
  • Steroid nasal sprays and drops
  • Eye drops
  • Nasal washes

What are nasal washes?

Nasal washing, or nasal sinus irrigation, is basically just pouring a saltwater solution into one nostril and letting it drain out the other.

The ancient Indian practice can help rinse out mucus, bacteria, and allergens like dust and pollen.

That means you may need less allergy medicine or nasal decongestants.

According to Head and Neck surgeons, nasal washing can be done following these steps:

  • Fill your container with saline solution.
  • Leaning over a sink, tilt your head sideways, with your forehead and chin roughly level with each other to keep water from running into your mouth.
  • Insert the spout of the container into your upper nostril and let the water drain through your lower nostril.
  • Clear your nostrils.
  • Switch sides and pour the solution through the other nostril.

Any container with a spout should work, but you can buy a specialist neti pot to help.

Help for hay fever

“You can also buy natural eye drops which contain a herb called Euphrasia (more commonly known as Eyebright),” adds Wiseberg.

“Butterbur is a herbal extract believed to have an antihistamine-like effect on hay fever symptoms, and is widely available in capsules.

“Quercetin is thought to limit the release of histamine. As well as being found naturally in many foods, it can also be taken in a capsule.”

Turmeric is another lesser-known solution according to Wiseberg and has been shown to have anti-allergy properties.

“Most often used in dried form, it can also be bought fresh and is available in tablet and capsule form,” he advised.

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