The pollen count has been forecast to be high across most parts of the UK today by the Met Office. In some parts of Northern Scotland and Northern Ireland the pollen count will be medium, and for those in Orkney and Shetland the pollen count will be low. When pollen counts are high, symptoms in hay fever sufferers can prove particularly bad. So what can you do to treat itchy eyes, sneezing and coughing when the pollen count is high?
An unexpected remedy that could help reduce hay fever symptoms is stinging nettles.
Research carried out in test tubes has shown stinging nettle extracts can inhibit inflammation that can trigger seasonal allergies.
Stinging nettle extracts were found to block histamine receptors and stop immune cells from releasing chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms.
In another study, 58 er cent of participants found their symptoms relieved after using freeze-dried nettles, and 69 participants rated it better tan the placebo.
It should be noted that some human studies have found stinging nettles are equal to or only slightly better at treating hay fever than a placebo.
Stinging nettles can be found in the form of tea, capsules and tincture.
Ginger has been proven to contain anti oxidative, anti-inflammatory phytochemical compounds, which my prove useful for combating seasonal allergies.
A 2016 animal study found ginger suppressed the production of pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood of mice, which then let to a reduction in allergy symptoms.
Ginger can be taken raw, as a tea or as a supplement.
There is no reference nutrient intake for ginger, but experts say you shouldn’t consume more than 3-4g of ginger a day, including food and supplements.
The NHS offers some recommendations for treating hay fever yourself.
- Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- Shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off
- Stay indoors whenever possible
- Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
- Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
- Buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter
The health body does however advise against:
- Cutting grass or walking on grass
- Not spending too much time outside
- Not keeping fresh flowers in the house
- Not smoking or being around smoke as it can make symptoms worse
- Not drying clothes outside as they can catch pollen
- Not letting pets into the house if possible as the can carry pollen indoors.