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A Salty Solution for Hay Fever

What is Hay Fever?

An interesting facet of the human body is its ability to make mistakes. Your eyes are not the only thing you can fool given the right conditions. As it turns out, you can also fool your immune system into thinking you are under attack.

This strange phenomenon is known as hay fever.  In medical terms is called allergic rhinitis or respiratory allergy. Allergy is when you develop a set of symptoms when you inhale or ingest  seemingly harmless particles.

These particles are known as allergens, and they differ from person to person, depending on many factors. For some, it’s animal dander. For others, it could be pollen. There are even those that get attacked by hay fever from dust bunnies.

Allergy - Hay Fever - Allergic Rhinitis

In small amounts, these allergens do not pose any sort of realistic threat to someone’s health. Nevertheless, there are situations when the immune system would think is under attack. As a result, it will begin to take action in order to deal with the “foreign invader”.

This action (also known as hay fever symptoms) could include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itching and eyes irritation. These symptoms can be strong enough to produce great discomfort and prevent sleep.

Remedies for Hay Fever

Fortunately, there are drugs specifically created for these purposes. These are known as antihistamine drugs. Antihistamines help to control the body’s response to allergens and diminish the symptoms.  They come in sprays or tablets.

However, there could be many side-effects from using these for a long time. Also they do not deal with the cause of the problem. As soon as the antihistamine wears of and you get exposed to your allergens, the symptoms return. The only way you can really eliminate allergic rhinitis is to build up your resistance against these allergens. This is not impossible!

One treatment has been known to reduce the symptoms and increase the resistance to allergens. Clinical studies have shown great results using halotherapy in respiratory allergies.

What is Salt Therapy?

Halotherapy, or salt therapy, is a method of treatment using breathable salt particles.  By inhaling microscopic salt particles they penetrate deep into the lungs and the small airways. Salt is known to have mukolytic effect – this will help with clearing the secretion and the allergens from the respiratory system.  It helps also to heal the irritation and reduces inflammation in the respiratory mucosa.

Long term exposure to salt therapy helps to desensitize the respiratory mucosa to allergens. This provides increased immunity and eases the allergic symptoms.

Salt therapy can be used at home using an ultrasonic salinizer or salt machine. This machine releases tiny particles of salt into the indoor air for breathing. It is recommended to use it during your sleep hours, to get 7-8 hours exposure. This will help to sooth and calm the irritation, clear the allergens and reduce the inflammation.

 

 

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Understanding and Fighting Hay Fever

Hay Fever known in medicine as allergic rhinitis, is an allergic inflammation of the nasal mucosa and nasal airways to pollens of any kind of plants, including those used to make hay. The symptoms are similar to those of a common cold or flu: stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, inflammation of the nasal passages, sinusitis, breathing difficulty, increased clear watery mucus.

Allergic rhinitis refers generally to an allergic reaction caused by any type of allergen, such us pollen, dust, air pollution, animal dander (shed skin and hair), chemicals, etc.   

 

Allergy - Hay Fever - Allergic Rhinitis

Individuals with a sensitive immune system react to these allergens once they are inhaled. The allergens trigger the production of antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE) in such individuals, this causing the release of histamines and other chemicals, resulting in the allergic symptoms described above.

Allergies are very common today and increasing each year. Heredity, developing itself in decrease immunity with each generation, and environmental pollution contribute to a predisposition to allergies. Western countries are more affected and the trend is growing.

Hay fever is usually caused by pollen of specific seasonal plants, most common in spring. However, it is not unusual to suffer from hay fever throughout the year. The pollen that causes hay fever varies by regions and between individuals. The most predominant pollen is the tiny, almost invisible pollen from plants that are pollinated by wind and not those pollinated by insects. Those pollinated by insects have large pollens which are not airborne being too heavy.  

In Japan, the most commonly allergic pollen comes from two native Japanese tree species, used in massive reforestation after the World War II, cryptomeria and Japanese cypress trees.  

In North America, the most common allergic pollen is ragweed, late summer and fall.

What is the treatment in hay fever?… How are allergies diagnosed?
The goal is to prevent and reduce the symptoms in hay fever or allergic rhinitis, as there is not a real understanding of the cause of allergic reaction in western medicine.

Avoiding the allergen is the most effective measure, if it can be applied. To control symptoms, doctors prescribe intranasal corticosteroids, associated or not with oral antihistamines and decongestants. Long term treatment with corticosteroids is not recommended due to the side-effects of prolonged steroid therapy.

Nasal irrigation with saline solution can also help to wipe-off the allergens and clear the nasal passages.

Desensitization to allergens, by immunotherapy or allergy shots, can have some results if it is given for one full year, but it is discontinued if there is no improvement after five years.

Desensitization and increased immunity of respiratory mucosa to allergen have been seen in prolonged aerosol salt therapy. Using home salt therapy on a daily basis, for 7-8 hours a day, for at least three years, greatly improves the respiratory immunity to infections and allergens.  

Complications
Nasal allergy
due to its chronic nature, can cause recurrent sinusitis, malformation of the nasal passages, nasal polyps, otitis media and hearing problems, orthodontic problems and there is a high risk in developing allergic asthma, as the sensitive area grows from the nasal passages to lower respiratory tract.