Remember that “itis” normally refers to infection. So when we think of sinusitis, we know that 80% of cases is a viral infection causing inflamed mucous membranes, over production of mucous and congestion. About 20% of cases are caused by bacteria.
Hay Fever, seasonal allergy and allergic rhinitis all refer to an overreaction of the immune system to a harmless substance like pollen, resulting in a histamine secretion. Histamine reaction is your immune system’s way of getting rid of the allergen. As a result of that, your mucous membranes become inflamed, red and swollen. A watery discharge streaming out of the nose and the eyes. Eyes are red and itchy and a lot of sneezing may occur. Your body is now really trying to do you a favour by getting rid of the invader.
Furthermore, your immune system is not stupid. It has a clever way of dealing with its “fears”It produces little “guards” by the name of immunoglobulins (Ige). Next time when it notices some pollen dust, cat hair, etc., those antibodies are ready instantly. Before you even know that spring is in the air, the whole cascade of reactions take place and you sit with your watery eyes, runny nose and your sneezing.
Conventional treatment includes.
- Anti-histamine – Anti histamines act by binding those antibodies so that they cannot call in their reinforcements which is histamine. Therefore you will not suffer the consequences of a histamine reaction. Some of the most common side-effects include: headache; drowsiness; dizziness; blurred vision; confusion; dry mouth; constipation; and difficulty passing urine. And once the antihistamine effect wears off, hay fever symptoms usually return.
- Decongestants – they act by narrowing the blood vessels in the nose area, reducing swelling and congestion.
- Steroids (corticosteroids) for hay fever are available as sprays, creams and tablets. Steroids create many more problems than antihistamines. They lead to unpleasant and even dangerous side-effects such as high blood pressure, bleeding from the bowels or stomach, reduced healing, poor muscle growth, weight gain, and electrolyte imbalances. Long term use increases the likelihood of diabetes, glaucoma, and eye damage.
Simple Steps for Managing Hay Fever
There are several self-help measures that cost very little which you can do yourself to help with hay fever. They are:
- Drink plenty of water. When you’re well hydrated the mucous membranes of your nose remain moist to expel allergens more easily.
- Coat your nostrils. Lightly smear a non-absorbent ointment, such as paw-paw ointment, onto the inner surface of your nostrils to provide a protective barrier that traps allergens.
- Know your triggers. Most hay fever sufferers are affected by the wind but some are worse indoors while others itch and sneeze when outside. Avoid your triggers when pollen counts are high.
- Look after your gut. Inflammation in the intestines can cause a leaky gut syndrome which is a leading cause in allergies. Try and follow a sugar free and gluten free diet and supplement with a good probiotic.
In homoeopathy, we treat by the law of similars. “Homeopathic Law of Similars is based on certain characteristic symptoms being the key to choosing a remedy.
A substance which may in a large dose cause undesirable symptoms, can in homeopathic potency repel these similar symptoms out of your system and the body rebalances and heals. Law of Potentization-homeopathy uses the smallest dose to effect a cure. By extreme dilution and Homeopathic potentization, curative properties are enhanced and poisonous and undesirable side effects ameliorated.”
By now you should be able to think about something that you have in your own kitchen that causes burning , watery eyes and runny nose, causing you to run for an open door, looking for some fresh air …. Yes chopped onion. Our homoeopathic remedy for these symptoms would be Allium Cepa, which is nothing other than red onion. Allium Cepa is prescribed for exactly that.
Onions and garlic can be used for their homeopathic effect – the symptoms they cause, they can also treat. Both contain natural compounds that reduce the inflammation of hay fever. Add them liberally to your meals or, if you are up to it, eat them by themselves to reduce nasal irritation and streaming eyes.
In our arsenal we also have a few other remedies that are well indicated in the treatment of hay fever.
- Arsenicum album (Ars.) This is one of the best remedies for hay fever. Burning or itching in the nose, eyes or throat being a strong indication. The discharges from both eyes and nose will be burning (but check to make sure that Allium cepa or Euphrasia are not better indicated – Euphrasia has the opposite symptoms). An improvement of the symptoms in the open air, although sensitive to light, is usually an indication for this remedy.
- Euphrasia (Euphr.) A classic remedy for hay fever where, again, there is lots of sneezing with streaming eyes and nose. If the water from the eyes burns the cheeks and the discharge from the nose is not too bad, this remedy is needed. (Allium cepa has the opposite symptoms). The remedy is indicated if the symptoms improve in the open air – obviously away from pollen. Sensitivity to light may be apparent in both Euphrasia and Allium cepa.
- Natrum muriaticum (Nat-m.) Initially, there is a streaming, bland discharge from both the eyes and nose with lots of sneezing. Later, there is nasal discharge that is thick and clear like the white of an egg with loss of taste and smell. This is not one of the main remedies for hay fever but it can bring great relief to the type who gets easily burned, feel generally miserable, uncomfortable, blotchy and irritated in the sun.
- Nux vomica (Nux-v.) This is one of the best remedies for when there is lots of sneezing, streaming from the eyes and nose, and an irritable, nasty mood. (If they are sweet tempered, it is unlikely to help.) The symptoms are worse in dry air and relieved when the atmosphere is damp.
- Pulsatilla pratensis (Puls.) The main indications for this remedy are a weepy, needy, state of mind, together with discharges that are thick, bland (not acrid) and green or yellow. Pulsatilla frequently has one side of the nose blocked or congested.
- Sulphur (Sulph.) Watery, burning nasal discharge, or a blocked nose, when outside. Frequent sneezing. Blocking of nose on alternate sides. Burning pain in eyes. Symptoms worsened by warmth and becoming warm in bed. Better for being in open air. May be lazy, opinionated, and desire sweets, alcohol, and spicy food.
- Histaminum ( Hist.) Consider this remedy when either no other remedy seems accurate or if other remedies have been tried and haven’t worked.
- Kali bichromicum ( Kali-bi.) Consider this remedy when thick, stringy, green or yellowish mucus from the nose or throat is present. There may also be a post-nasal or pain at the root of the nose relieved by hard pressure.
- Sabadilla officinarum (Sabad.) Hay fever with frequent, spasmodic sneezing that exhausts the person. Sneezing from tickling inside the nose, and sneezing that causes the eyes to water. Profuse, watery nasal discharge and red and burning eyelid margins. Symptoms worse in the open air, better in a warm room. Dry mouth but little thirst.
- Solidago ( Solid.) Burning, stinging eyes. Paroxysms of sneezing with mucus discharge from nose. One of the main remedies for people allergic to house dust mite.
- Wyethia helenoides (Wye) Tremendous itching of the upper palate of the mouth causing the person to make “clucking” noises in effort to provide some relief. Itching of the nose and throat, along with a constant desire to swallow saliva to relieve the dryness may also be present.
Your homoeopayhic practitioner
Because you may find it difficult to sort through your symptoms and all the different remedies available, an appointment can be made with a homeopath that will assess your symptoms in full and make a constitutional prescription to help you get on top of the problem once and for all.