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Hayfever

Hold the sneezes

sneezesHayfever affects many people over the summer months but there are things that can trigger outbreaks of sneezing, watery or puffy eyes anytime through the year.

Hayfever can be seen as an oversensitivity inside the nasal cavities, sometimes all it takes is a few grains of dust or pollen that triggers about of sneezing, watery eyes, a streaming nose or a combination of all three.

No one really knows what causes hayfever but it's suspected as being a weakened immune system and a mild overload of toxins in the body. While the use of antihistamines can reduce the symptoms, it's almost impossible to prevent.

So really, if you suffer from hayfever then you have to learn to live with it and manage the symptoms. As a hayfever sufferer I am very familiar with different theories and different remedies.

What works?

Avoiding all sugar, dairy products and processed foods goes a long way to reducing symptoms and the regular practice of Jala Neti (described below) relieves the symptoms, conditions the sinuses and nasal passages making these sensitive membranes tougher and less reactive to allergens.

Antihistamines suppress the symptoms and for many years I used a product called Actifed. Just a half tablet was effective in reducing sensitivity all day but this product has been withdrawn from the market. I have tried Tellfast and other products that have been totally ineffective and reverted to using Sudafed, a replacement product for Actifed.

But I don't take this every day, as I live in a coastal city hayfever is not a problem on those days when the wind blows in off the ocean. But it is worse on hot dry days where the wind picks up the dust, the pollens and the agricultural chemicals from farmland and these are the days when medication is needed.

If you have an eye to the weather and environmental conditions you will know when to medicate and when not to medicate because let's face it all medications have some risk even as in my case where I'm only taking less than half of the recommended dose.

But there are days when I forget to take the medication or when I think the day is going to be massively dust free and sometime during the day breathe in some dust or pollen which triggers a streaming nose, sneezing and watery eyes.

In this situation I use a cleansing technique known as Jala Neti. This is in effect a nasal wash. Some people really get into this and they have a special pot whereby they can let water run through one nostril and out the other, but that's a bit extreme for most people.

So what I do is to cups of water in my hands, submerge my nose and draw water into the nasal cavities until they feel full. Then let the water run out and give a couple of good blows. I might repeat this three or four times and it turns off the discomfort and unpleasant symptoms almost instantaneously.

Sometimes I would take the this practice are step further so that when the water has been sniffed up inside the nose, I block both nostrils and gently tip my head back and the water will run out into the mouth. When this happens, the nose or the nasal passages are completely cleared and following this procedure, even without medication and in dusty conditions this helps to keep the hayfever at bay for some time.

If you want to try this nasal wash, you might want to start using warm water and ensure that it is clean. You might think it sounds a bit disgusting, but remember that you regularly swallow mucous from your nose and it is completely harmless.

It is thought that hayfever is a lifestyle disease and occurs due to our weakened immune system, but there is no real cure.  If you suffer from hayfever then you need to learn to live with it, to ensure that you always carry a few tissues and experiment with different antihistamine medications.

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