Spring has sprung, and allergy season is upon us. For the 40 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies like allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever), this can mean any or all of the following: a stuffy, runny nose; sneezing; red, itchy, watery eyes and swollen lids; itchy mouth, throat, and ears; sore throat; headaches or facial pain and pressure; partial hearing loss; fatigue; and dark under-eye circles.
Symptoms of hay fever can be mild or severe. They may resemble a cold, but unlike a cold they’re not caused by a virus. Also, colds are usually gone within a week, while allergies can last an entire season or more, leaving sufferers feeling wiped out for weeks on end.
What’s Going On?
Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction that happens when the immune system overreacts to substances that you have inhaled. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is caused by outdoor allergens, such as tree, grass, and weed pollen and mold spores. (“Rhinitis” means inflammation of the nose. This makes perfect sense to anyone who has simultaneously experienced congestion and post-nasal drip.)
There are actually three hay fever seasons, distinguished by the types of pollen present at different times. Tree pollens appear first between February and May, and during late spring and summer, tree, weed, and grass pollens are all out at the same time. And then fall ushers in ragweed season.
One of the best and safest ways to control allergies is to normalize immune function and prevent symptoms naturally. One study finds that simply eating yogurt every day can help reduce the incidence of hay fever attacks, and other research shows that three bananas contain enough magnesium to suppress an allergy attack. A variety of nutritional supplements may offer relief as well.
© 2014 Living Naturally
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