Hay Fever and Sinusitis
Hay Fever and Sinusitis
Hay Fever or allergic rhinitis, is a chronic inflammation of the nose, throat and sinuses. It is induced by external irritants, usually pollens carried in the air. Spring hay fever is related to tree pollen, summer to grass pollen and autumn to weed pollen. Non seasonal allergies are usually due to household irritants such as dust, animal hair, droppings of the house dust mite, mould, mildew, insect stings and bites. People with pollen sensitivities have a hard time as it is difficult to avoid pollen because it is in the air that we breathe.
Can acupuncture and Oriental medicine treat hay fever, sinusitis or asthma?
Acupuncture helps in regulating the body’s own immune response so that it is able to tolerate potential environmental irritants. Most of the time what drives hay fever is an underlying deficiency in the energy within the lung channels or some other channels. Ideally, you would start having treatment a few weeks before the hay fever season begins. If you are unable to do that then acupuncture can be used to greatly relieve the symptoms once they appear.
Hay fever or allergic rhinitis, is a chronic inflammation of the nose, throat and sinuses. It is induced by external irritants, usually pollens carried in the air. Spring hay fever is related to tree pollen, summer to grass pollen and autumn to weed pollen. Non seasonal allergies are usually due to household irritants such as dust, animal hair, droppings of the house dust mite, mould, mildew, insect stings and bites. People with pollen sensitivities have a hard time as it is difficult to avoid pollen because it is in the air that we breathe.
13 million people suffer with hay fever in the UK. For many people with hay fever, spring and summer represent a real nightmare. A small number of hay fever sufferers experience symptoms that significantly interfere with everyday life are difficult to control with medication. On average about 1 person in 90 suffers badly enough to consult a doctor, and many other people have the disorder in a milder form. No one knows why certain people are hypersensitive to an otherwise harmless pollen grain or other airborne particles. People who have another allergic condition such as asthma or eczema or if any such conditions run in the family are particularly susceptible. The general increase in conditions such as hay fever and asthma may be related to the increased amount of environmental toxins and pollutants to which we are all becoming more regularly exposed. A combination of pollution in the environment and exposure to household chemicals may weaken the body’s resistance. If this occurs, it lessens the body’s ability to control its response towards allergies.
There are many preparations that can be bought over the counter or with a doctor’s prescription. However, possible side-effects and inconvenience of treatment may be more troublesome than the condition itself. Antihistamine drugs are temporarily effective for relieving hay fever symptoms, they should be used sparingly as they tend to dry out the mucous membranes and thereby increase sensitivity to antihistamine. After taking them for more than a month or so, they become less and less effective. The side effects of drowsiness and dryness of the nose and throat may be more troublesome than the hay fever itself. However, they don’t affect the underlying sensitivity. Nose sprays are usually of limited value and their prolonged use may actually cause symptoms or make them worse. All drug treatments merely suppress symptoms and do not alter the basic allergic reaction. Some people with hay fever have ‘desensitisation’ injections. If a skin test has succeeded in identifying the offending substance then the sensitive individual is injected with increasing concentration of the allergen. This usually needs to be done over a period of two years. This treatment sometimes works well, but sometimes does not. Thankfully, acupuncture provides another avenue of relief for people with hay fever.
Hay fever treatment in Oriental medicine can be done in two stages. The first is by preparing the body for the hay fever season and the potential irritants. Typical advice is to take a tiny amount of locally produced honey every night for a few months before symptoms start. With acupuncture we can treat to strengthen or re calibrate the immune function. With treatment the immune system becomes less triggered by the irritant. During the hay fever season, we would treat less frequently, this time we support the system and stop it from being overwhelmed, rather than suppressing the symptoms as do most medications.
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