Atchoo! 10 things you didn't know about hay fever

Atchoo! 10 things you didn't know about hay fever


  • Time for a curry. Going for the hottest curry on the menu can actually help your hay fever – or if you’re making your own, go heavy on the spices. Turmeric, an orange-yellow spice, often used in curries and South Asian cuisine, is thought to reduce inflammation caused by hay fever.
  • Have a bit of what you fancy. An Iranian neurologist has suggested that hay fever and the way orgasm constricts blood vessels across the body could help with hay fever.
  • It's not (usually) the flower's fault. Flowers are much less likely to cause hay fever than you'd think. Hay fever is caused by airborne pollen particles that have blown away from the plant. However, flower pollen is sticky and coated, which makes it harder for it to become airborne. Instead, trees and grass are most likely to cause the sneezing. But that doesn’t mean flowers don’t cause hay fever – some people are very allergic to specific flowers, and you can be allergic to more than one type of pollen.
  • There's lots of natural anti-histamines. Capers, red onions and watercress contain high amounts of the natural antihistamine quercetin, which can help reduce hay fever symptoms by blocking out the sneezy effects of histamines. Eat alongside some chopped up pineapple, as that contains bromelain, which helps the body to absorb quercetin.
  • Think bright colours. The attractive, bright orange and red colours of some of our favourite fruits signal that they’re rich in beta carotene, vitamin C and a substance called bioflavonoids. These nutrients are anti-inflammatory agents and are great for boosting your immune system.
  • It tends to last. The bad news is that hay fever lasts for years – 80 per cent of children diagnosed with hay fever will still be suffering ten years later and 40 per cent of young adults will still be sneezing into their 20s.
  • It doesn't just affect your nose. A sniffly nose and sore eyes might be typical hay fever symptoms, but Oral Allergy Syndrome is the name given to allergic reactions in and around the mouth area of hay fever sufferers, such as tingling, a rash and burning sensation. This is caused by contact with proteins in foods which are similar to those found in pollens that hay fever sufferers are allergic to. For example, birch pollen proteins are similar to those found in kiwi fruits. When a hay fever sufferer who is allergic to birch pollen eats kiwi (amongst other foods), your body recognises the proteins as harmful and can trigger an allergic reaction.
  • It's like being drunk. Research from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands shows that suffering from hay fever can affect your driving ability to the same degree as drinking two to three units of alcohol, the legal limit in most European countries. So if you're really feeling the symptoms, stay away from the wheel.
  • Block it out. Using a simple organic drug-free allergen barrier balm can help your symptoms hugely! In an Allergy UK survey 80% of respondents said that the HayMax allergen barrier balm worked.
  • Read more of our tips on how to put pollen in its place this summer
  • For more health advice, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine