If you’ve spent a spring, summer or fall month sneezing, coughing, with red, watery eyes and itchy nose or throat, you might be one of those millions who suffer from annual problems with hay fever.
It’s a recurring illness, and treating it is becoming more and more expensive.
In the United States, it is estimated that nearly six billion dollars are spent by Americans on allergy medicines, including over-the-counter hay fever remedies. A quick glance at the retail cost of such OTC favorites as Claritin® or Zyrtec® shows why; thirty to forty-five tablets can cost from $25 to $30 dollars.
Generically, these are called antihistamines and they are designed to stop the symptoms of hay fever. Do not confuse them with common decongestants like Sudafed®, designed mainly to relieve nasal congestion from a common cold.
The existence of allergies such as hay fever was discovered by German physician Samuel Hahnemann. Rebelling against the medicine practiced during his time, in 1807 Hahnemann become inventor of a new type of medicine called Homeopathy.
Homeopathic remedies were found to be less dangerous than standard medicines of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although there remain adherents of the practice world-wide, it declined in the United States beginning in the 1920s and is not sanctioned by the AMA.
Despite the availability of hay fever medicines, it remains one of the allergies most easily treated by natural “home” remedies.
Onion, green tea, mint leaves, chamomile, eucalyptus and honey have all been used for thousands of years in Homeopathy or home remedies without any adverse side effects. Slightly more exotic are nettle and bayberry, equally effective and safe.
Other inexpensive home remedies reflect age-old cures for a variety of ills. They are as applicable to hay fever as for treatment of diabetes.
Proper diet, focusing on a healthy daily intake of green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, will provide you with a replenishment of vitamins A and B. Fruit such as black currants or raspberries will do the same.
Regular sleep and daily exercise are standard for prevention of many modern illnesses and can even help relieve hay fever symptoms.
Of course, if you are practically oriented, a healthy supply of tissues and water are standard if you have the misfortune of being in the midst of the hay fever season and already suffer from a runny nose.
If you are a hypochondriac, don’t mind spending money on pills or just love being in a doctor’s office, you can always check to see whether your hay fever results from anxiety or your cortisol levels.