Jess says: Most of us long for spring and summer, but for some of my patients this can be a miserable time of year. They develop symptoms such as itchy eyes, a runny or blocked nose, a sore throat, skin problems and in some cases, asthma. The time of year that these symptoms start can give an indication of what it is that is causing it. 

I have homoeopathic remedies for symptoms on my desk from early spring and give these to my patients, who queue up for more the following year! I am also a big fan of diffusers and essential oils for relieving symptoms (see my recipes below). There are many excellent traditional Western and Chinese herbs for hay fever that a good herbalist can prescribe based on your symptoms, and functional medicine practitioners can work on the root causes, by supporting your immune system.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, which affects one in five people at some point. Pollen –  a powder that’s released by plants – comes in different forms: Tree pollen (most common in the spring), grass pollen (most common at the end of spring into summer), weed pollen (autumn), or plant and tree moulds. Some people are allergic to a mixture of these.

Pollen particles irritate the lining of the nose, eyes, skin and throat, and may aggravate asthma. When you are having an allergic reaction, the body’s immune system responds to pollen as though it is an invader (like a virus) and produces inflammatory chemicals that cause the symptoms.

Pollen counts can vary in response to weather conditions. Many weather apps on your phone can tell you the pollen count and air pollution levels for the day, so you can prepare for the days when those levels are high….