Have you noticed your nose getting a bit stuffy and sniffy lately, even though we’ve left the rotten winter weather behind? Feeling a little like you have a cold, but with none of the body stiffness or tiredness that goes with it?
Well, you probably have hay fever. It’s not pleasant, but the good news is you’re not alone. Hay fever affects around 20 million people in the UK every year, with that number expected to rise over the next few years. 20 million people all suffering from itchy eyes and throats, runny noses and congestion, all looking for something to make them feel better. And while there are plenty of remedies out there on the supermarket shelves, the sad news is that there is no cure. You just have to sit and ride it out. But if you want to try something different this year to treat your symptoms, why not give aromatherapy a go?
Hay fever isn’t a fun thing to suffer from, and if you don’t get it then you are considered one of the lucky ones. Because while the symptoms might seem similar to the common cold, it’s not caused by a virus, and can’t be avoided. The symptoms include:
- A runny nose
- Nasal congestion (sometimes with a runny nose)
- Itching of the nose, throat or the roof of your mouth
- Swollen, blue-coloured skin under your eyes (known as allergic shiners)
- A postnasal drip (when mucous runs down the back of your throat, causing a sore and gunked up throat)
Hay fever is most common in the spring and summer months. This is because it’s main causes are tree pollen (which is common in early spring), grass pollen (which hits in late spring and summer), and ragweed pollen (which appears in autumn). It can also be caused by dust mites, pet dander and fungi spores, which are present all year round, but tend to be worse in spring and summer.
Essential Oils That Can Help
Essential oils have been used for centuries as a way to relieve the symptoms of hay fever. They are effective at reducing the swelling and inflammation of your mucous membranes and act as a natural antihistamine. Plus your body can absorb them much faster than an oral or spray antihistamine, giving you relief quickly. A few of the preferred oils used to treat hay fever include:
Roman Chamomile: This humble oil eases inflammation, relieves headaches and help make you feel more relaxed. It’s also one of the few products we recommend using for a few months before hay fever strikes. This is mainly because it comes from the same family of plant that is the most common trigger for hay fever, and can help you build up some immunity and lessen your body’s reaction to hay fever, without giving you any symptoms along the way.
Peppermint: Blocked sinuses, congestion and headaches? Peppermint oil can instantly unlock your sinuses and provide relief from a scratchy throat. One of our favourite ways to use this oil is in a diffuser, as inhaling diffused peppermint can help relieve not only hay fever symptoms, but colds, asthma, coughs, sinusitis and even bronchitis.
Eucalyptus: This oil opens up the lungs and sinuses, allowing you to breathe easily and stopping the build-up of irritants that can cause itching of the skin and eyes. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which help the body detoxify and flush out the irritants. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, so is very effective in treating colds as well!
Lavender: This is one you probably already have at home, since lavender is well-known for its relaxing properties. But did you know it’s also know for providing relief from respiratory and skin allergies? Just rubbing a few drops between your palms, rubbing them together and inhaling can help open up your airways and soothe the tickly cough. It’s also very good at relieving itching, so if your skin is itching a few drops can work wonders (though please, don’t put it in itchy eyes!)
Why See An Aromatherapist?
Because while hay fever has a fairly short list of definite symptoms, they don’t affect everyone equally. A bit like the common cold, hay fever hit different people in different ways, so while one person might get the congested nose and sinus headaches, another might have unbearably itchy, watery eyes and a nose that won’t stop running. This is one of the main reasons antihistamines have such wildly varying success rates – they can’t target the specific symptoms you’re experiencing, and so instead they try to hit them all at once, which isn’t as effective.
But as you’ve already seen, aromatherapy can target each symptom of hay fever individually to bring relief. Working with an aromatherapist means you can describe which symptoms you suffer from (and which are the worst), and they can create a custom blend of essential oils that will target those symptoms. They can then be safely put into a variety of application methods, from mists and roll-ons to shower gels, bath salts, massage products or oils to inhale directly, depending on what you prefer. So you get a completely tailored treatment for your hay fever symptoms that will actually bring you relief.
If you would like to find out more about aromatherapy and it’s uses for treating hay fever, or other issues, just get in touch with the clinic today and book your consultation.