A.Vogel nutritional therapist Ali Cullen answers your questions on hayfever and other allergies
Q: Why are my hayfever symptoms worse at night? I thought they would be better when I’m not in any contact with pollen.
A: You’re right, it sounds strange to get symptoms once you’re in the safety of your bedroom. There are some possible reasons, though.
Our breathing levels slow down through the night, as we enter deeper sleep stages. This means our lungs won’t be clearing airborne matter quite as effectively. Your bedroom, however seemingly clean, may contain hidden dust, mould, or mites in bedding, mattresses and pillows, carpets and curtains, and stacks of clothes or ‘stuff’ that hasn’t moved for a while. Poor ventilation allows mould spores to proliferate, and truthfully, how often do we excavate the backs of our wardrobes to check for damp or mould?! Animal hair and dander may also have crept in, even if your pets aren’t allowed in the room.
If you are overweight or suffer from reflux or post nasal drip, you may find that being horizontal impinges on your ability to breath efficiently. This can be made worse by sleeping on your front or back – side sleeping is better.
A before-bed dose of your favourite anti-allergy remedy will help, as will having a nasal spray or essential oil inhaler to hand by your bed.
Q: We got a new dog a couple of months ago, and have noticed that my teenage son is getting more allergy symptoms than usual. Could there be a link? He didn’t react to our previous dog.
A: It may depend on the type of dog, or even the sex of the dog! An oversensitive immune system may react to proteins in a dog’s dander, saliva or urine, which are very light and can waft around very easily. There are 6 specific proteins currently known to act as allergens in this way, and people can be reactive to one or more of them. As the proteins differ in different breeds and genders of dog, it can be very confusing.
One particularly troublesome protein is called Can f 5, and teenagers who are reactive to this may be more tolerant of female dogs than male. A neutered male dog may be tolerated though, just to add a layer of confusion!
Thorough cleaning obviously helps, but keep your son out of the way after dusting or hoovering, as particles you’ve stirred up will still be airborne. Keep your dog out of his bedroom. A diet high in vitamin C and beta carotene can quell symptom severity too.
Q: I’ve found that drinking lots of nettle tea or using nettle tincture seems to reduce my hayfever symptoms, which have been bugging me for longer periods of time each year for a while now. Do nettles really help? And can I use nettles alongside my antihistamines when I need them?
A: Yes, nettle extract has been shown to reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis encompasses allergy symptoms affecting your nose, making it runny, blocked, swollen, itchy, or otherwise irritated!
Allergic rhinitis is increasingly common, due to a combination of factors that include an increase in environmental pollution, more exposure to airborne irritants at work or home, higher stress levels, and an increase in the aggressiveness of pollen produced by plants in polluted environments.
Nettle extract has been found to reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis by blocking histamine receptors, and inhibiting an enzyme called tryptase that works alongside histamine to produce its irritating effects.
You can use nettles alongside antihistamine medication and other natural hayfever remedies. It’s great to have a positive view of these so-called ‘weeds’!
Are your sunny days filled with sneezing and sniffling? Need a helping hand fighting those pesky allergens?
Try Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets, a homeopathic medicinal product used within the homeopathic tradition to relieve the symptoms of hayfever and other forms of allergic rhinitis.
Both conditions give rise to irritating symptoms such as itching and watery eyes, sneezing and tickly nose or throat.
But Pollinosan is non-drowsy and won’t affect your ability to drive or use machinery. It’s also suitable for children over 12 years of age.
Always read the leaflet. Post sponsored by A.Vogel.