Its Springtime and the Start of Hay Fever Season for the Macedon Ranges
In Chinese Medicine, Spring is associated with the wood element. It is considered a time of renewal, regrowth and regeneration which can be witnessed all around during Springtime. Grass is growing, flowers are blossoming, and new life is born. For most, the sunshine elevates energy-levels and people are out and about with a spring in their step. Unfortunately, in Victoria, particularly in the Macedon Ranges, a large proportion suffer from a debilitating affliction called ‘hay fever’.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is the commonly-used term for Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis which is caused by airborne pollens such as grass, weeds or trees entering the nose, mouth or skin. In some, the body responds by producing antibodies through the white blood cells which leads to a hypersensitivity reaction.
Signs and symptoms
- Runny or itchy nose
- Itchy watery eyes
- Blocked nose
While colds tend to disappear within a few days, allergenic reactions tend to persist far longer.
In severe cases it can cause fatigue, insomnia, poor concentration, ongoing sinus infections and heighten asthma symptoms.
Influencing factors for hay fever
Weather has a huge influence on presenting symptoms. Pollen is dispersed by the wind, and extreme heat exacerbates respiratory conditions. During hot dry windy days, signs and symptoms of hay fever are more likely while the potential for inhalation of pollens on cold wet days is reduced as the pollens are washed to the ground. It is advisable for hay fever sufferers to consider the weather in advance and plan around it.
How can Chinese Medicine assist
In Chinese medicine we analyse all of the presenting symptoms, even those the patient may not think relevant. This is so we can tailor our treatment plan to not only work on the offending signs and symptoms, but also to strengthen the body to help fight future invasions of pollen. In most cases, acupuncture will be a core component of treatment. There are some clinical trials indicating that acupuncture may assist with symptom relief and improved quality of life (1). Other possible adjuncts to treatment are gua sha, cupping and/or moxibustion. Chinese herbal medicine may also be prescribed for use at home.
The above treatments are provided or prescribed by a practiced registered Chinese Medical practitioner, but there are also a number of self-care options and techniques that can be put in place to help manage symptoms.
Track symptoms alongside environmental factors to understand triggers and practice avoidance of the stimulus as much as possible.
A few things to consider on high-pollen days:
- Wear wrap-around glasses to avoid pollen entering eyes
- Avoid drying clothes outside as the pollen attaches to clothing
- Wear a hat to prevent pollen entering the eyes
- If grass is a sensitivity, don’t mow laws
- Change clothes and wash after mowing the lawn or exposure to grass
- Keep windows and doors closed in the house
Although it is almost impossible to avoid triggers fully, reducing exposure can certainly assist with managing hay fever symptoms.
For longer-term management, consult with Michele at Gisborne Health Essentials for an individually customised treatment plan.
Or just drop in to Gisborne Health Essentials and we will chat to you about what is best for your particular symptoms.