June red pollen warning: Expert shares DIY method to alleviate hay fever symptoms

June 14, 2024
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A runny nose, itchy throat and teary eyes can really put a damper on your summer outings if you struggle with hay fever.

Many of us turn to antihistamines, which are over-the-counter medications that reduce histamine production, but, for some people, these can cause drowsiness and may become less effective as the season progresses.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other strategies you can try to minimise and manage the most dreaded hay fever symptoms.

Rhysa Phommachanh, Health Specialist at Landys Chemist, said: “Alongside over the counter solutions, hay fever sufferers can also benefit from using supplements. Supplements like Quercetin, found in fruits and vegetables, have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, and Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, may also help to reduce inflammation.”

As well as these supplements, sufferers can try home remedies to try and mitigate the already-existing symptoms they might be experiencing.

Saline rinses are popular with those who suffer from hay fever and work by clearing nasal passages, flushing out allergens and mucus from the sinuses, and offering almost immediate relief.

Neti pots are small ceramic or plastic containers that hold fluids in their base and have a long, thin spout (think a mini teapot or Aladdin’s lamp). Most drugstores now sell neti pots, and you can easily find them online.

To make your own solution, mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of finely ground kosher or sea salt (avoid iodised, flavoured, or salts with added aluminium or silicone) with 16 ounces of distilled or boiled tap water.

Adding ½ teaspoon of baking soda can help reduce the salt’s sting. Seal and store the solution at room temperature.

Your first few tries with a neti pot might get a bit messy, so consider starting in the shower to get used to it, or hover over a sink or large bowl for any water that trickles out of your nose or down your face.

When you’re ready, warm the solution to about body temperature and pour it into the pot. Lean over with your head tilted sideways so your face is horizontal, and insert the spout fully into your upper nostril to prevent water from leaking out.

Open your mouth and breathe deeply while gently pouring in half of the solution. Try to relax—this might feel odd at first—and wait a few seconds for the water to come out of your lower nostril. If some drains into your throat, don’t worry; just spit it out and continue.

Once you’ve completed rinsing your first nostril, stand up carefully and softly blow your nose to clear it.

Next, bend over again, tilt your head to the other side, and repeat the procedure for the second nostril.

Afterward, stand up and give your nose one final gentle blow to make sure any remaining solution isn’t pushed further into your sinuses before cleaning your neti pot and let it air-dry.

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