By LOUISE CARR, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
Spring is in the air and so are those irritating pollen particles. You know the drill Ė one minute youíre enjoying a beautiful May day, the next your eyes are streaming and you canít stop sneezing.
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, caused by pollen is a common and annoying springtime complaint, one that all too often lasts into the summer. And grass pollen is by far the biggest culprit.
According to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 35 million Americans suffer from pollen allergies and most of them have a grass pollen allergy. In the UK, according to University of Worcester research, 90 percent of hay fever sufferers are allergic to grass pollen.
If your nose runs and your eyes start to sting in the spring and summer, you are likely suffering from a grass pollen allergy rather than a problem with tree pollen. Grass pollen allergies are stressful and frustrating, but are they preventable? Experts suggest natural cures for hay fever and grass pollen allergies. Which grass pollen allergy remedies work?
Symptoms of Grass Pollen Allergies
When youíre allergic, grass pollen triggers an immune reaction in the body to tell your cells to release a chemical called histamine. The histamine chain reaction causes all those irritating hay fever symptoms like a runny nose, sneezes, itching around the face and mouth and an irritated throat. Symptoms can vary between sufferers and you may also suffer from a blocked nose, headache and wheezing when youíre allergic to grass pollen.
Types of Grass That Cause Grass Pollen Allergies
Grass pollen isnít an easy offender to pin down, and your grass pollen allergies will vary depending on the season and where you live. Grass pollen levels are also affected by rain and temperature, and wind speed. With thousands of species of grass growing in America, are they all responsible for your allergy? This isnít likely Ė the most common grasses that produce allergies are rye grass and timothy grass. Other problematic grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, Johnson, Bermuda, redtop, orchard and sweet vernal grass. Grass pollen allergies are common but can they be prevented? What are the best ways to treat your grass pollen allergy?
Top 10 Natural Remedies for Grass Pollen Allergies
1. Stay Indoors When Pollen Counts Are High
Grass pollen is most likely to be a problem for you in late spring and early summer and your symptoms fade as fall kicks in. Knowing this, and knowing which times of the day are more irritating, is your first line of defense in preventing grass pollen allergies. Minimize your contact with pollen by reducing time spent outside when the pollen count is high. Early morning and early evening are hot-spots. When you need to go outside, wear wraparound sunglasses and avoid places with cut grass such as parks and fields. If your symptoms are bad, change your clothes when you come home and wash your hair to get rid of grass pollen.
2. Cut Down on Alcohol to Reduce Grass Pollen Allergy
While we know too much alcohol has an effect on the liver and other organs, it seems knocking back the drink may also impact on your allergies. A 2008 study from the National Institute of Public Health in Denmark found a link between hay fever and alcohol. Out of the 5,870 women studied, the risk of hay fever increased by three percent for every additional alcoholic drink they enjoyed per week. Alcohol also increases the risk of dehydration, which can make your grass pollen allergy symptoms seem a lot worse.
3. Deal With Stress To Help Reduce Your Grass Pollen Allergy