Hay fever is another name for pollen allergies and it's a type of allergic rhinitis. Hay fever is caused by an immune system overreaction. Whenever you breathe in pollen that you're allergic to and it gets into your system, your body releases an antibody called immunoglobulin E to fight it off. The antibody then sends out chemicals to neutralize the invading allergen; one of these chemicals, histamine, is responsible for the majority of your allergic symptoms.
When it comes to reducing the sneezing, congestion, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, you can pay a visit to the drugstore and stock up on over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays. But many people prefer to battle their symptoms without the help of drugs. Instead, they turn to home remedies to combat their hay fever; home remedies utilize foods that contain various nutrients as well as herbs and spices. One of the most popular herbs for fighting hay fever is butterbur. It's available in tablet form and is said to act as a powerful antihistamine. Nettles and goldenseal are other herbs with a good reputation for fighting the symptoms of hay fever.
Certain foods contain quercetin, and it's also available as a nutrient supplement. Along with vitamin C, it can reduce congestion and inflammation. Red wine is a good source of quercetin, and apples, bananas and onions are all considered helpful in the hay fever fight. Grape seed extract is another supplement that people swear by. To thin out the mucous in your nasal passages and relieve congestion, spicy foods are regarded as helpful. These spices include ginger, fenugreek, cayenne pepper, onions and garlic. Another way to make breathing easier is to create your own saltwater nose spray. To minimize the symptoms you get in the first place, you can try wearing a dust mask when you're outside on high-pollen-count days or putting a little petroleum jelly around your nostrils to catch the pollen before you breathe it in.