Some varieties, including apples, stoned fruit, tomatoes, melons and bananas, can make hay fever symptoms worse.
The problem is that the protein in these fruits is very similar to some pollens, according to Lindsey Mc Manus of Allergy UK.
The body mistakes it for an allergen and reacts, causing itching in the lips and tongue, and sometimes swelling in the mouth. A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that turmeric can prevent mast cells (the “master regulators” of the immune system) from releasing histamine that makes your body overreact to pollen.
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Research from Belgium found that 75% of hay fever sufferers are allergic to at least one common houseplant, such as ficus, yucca, ivy and orchids.
“Some indoor plants and soil can be a source of mould which can cause hay fever symptoms,” says pharmacist Neeta Devalia (wellnesswithneeta.com). The air-conditioning system will trap pollen in its filters,” says Neeta.
She also suggests buying an air purifier for your home – it will trap pollen, dust, smoke and pet dander. It blocks allergens from pollen reaching the nose lining where allergic reactions take place.
“As you undress, pollen that’s stuck to your clothes while outside can settle on bedding, pillows and carpets, giving you sleepless, sniffly nights,” warns Alison Cullen, nutritional therapist at uk. Care Allergy Defence, £5.99 from pharmacies, is a powder nasal spray that works in the same way, and clinical trials show it stops sneezes fast.
Staying active can help you cope with stress, but try indoor exercise when pollen is at its worst – usually between 7am and 10am and also 4-7pm. The research showed those sufferers who had at least seven hours’ kip had milder symptoms.
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Itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing fits are just some of the symptoms that plague people who have an allergy to pollen. “You get symptoms doing DIY, housework or even if you’re wearing something that’s lingered in a cupboard too long,” she adds.
A US study found probiotics (the friendly bacteria found in live yoghurt) may ease the symptoms of hay fever by influencing the activity of the body’s white blood cells involved in the immune system. “They can be found in damp, musty conditions – such as rotting leaves – so a walk in woods can trigger reactions.” But fungal spores can also be found in your kitchen, bathroom or at the back of your wardrobe – indeed any damp area where moisture is trapped.
Dr Mayur Joshi says: “Recent research reveals multi-strain probiotics such as Bio-Kult (£8.99, bio-kult.com) can help to lower nasal congestion and itching, reduce inflammation and support the immune system.” “For some people, fungal spores can be as much of a trigger for hay fever symptoms as pollen,” says Dr Catherine Pashley, head of the Aerobiology and Clinical Mycology Group, University of Leicester.
Remove any visible signs of mould – for example, around the door seal of your fridge – using a 50/50 mix of warm water and white vinegar.