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Hayfever: How to Stop Itching Eyes, Hives, Sneezing, and other Symptoms

Updated on June 28, 2012
Photo Author: mcfarlandmo. Licence CC-BY-SA 2.0
Photo Author: mcfarlandmo. Licence CC-BY-SA 2.0 | Source

It’s that time of year again when you’re sneezing, you come out in hives, or your eyes are watering and itching madly! Hayfever is when your immune system reacts to allergens in pollen, and can cause summer to be one long round of misery for lots of people. So here’s some things you can do to help calm down your symptoms.

Try Antihistamines

These don’t work for everyone, but they’re worth trying. Be aware that some antihistamines can make you drowsy, so if you have to drive or go to work ask your pharmacist for the ones that won’t make you fall asleep.

Bluebells and Oil Seed Rape Field - beautiful but a hayfever nightmare!  Photo Author: Marilyn Peddle.  Licence CC-BY-SA 2.0.
Bluebells and Oil Seed Rape Field - beautiful but a hayfever nightmare! Photo Author: Marilyn Peddle. Licence CC-BY-SA 2.0. | Source

Stay Indoors and Close the Windows

It’s not practical all the time, but if you’re experiencing a violent reaction it will at least provide you with some relief while you try out some of the other suggestions.

Eat local honey

This might be folklore or an old wives’ tale, but the theory is that local honey will help your immune system to ignore the pollen it encounters in your everyday environment. It's probably worth having a spoonful every day to see if it works for you.

Use eyewash and an eyebath to rinse the pollen out of your eyes

If you get soothing eyewash and an eyebath, it’s a portable way of being able to rinse the stray pollen out of your eyes throughout the day.

Photo © Redberry Sky
Photo © Redberry Sky

Eat lots of fruit – especially fruit that’s high in vitamin C

Fruit and veggies are not just good for your health in general, but vitamin C and other antioxidants and vitamins can make your allergy discomfort go away. Load up on fruit salads, eat an orange, drink juice and make your own smoothies out of whole fresh fruit like blueberries and strawberries. Tip: add the flesh of half an avocado to get healthy oils in your smoothie and to stop it ‘frothing up’. Avocados won’t affect the flavour, either. Red peppers, papaya, mangoes and berries are all high in vitamin C, as well as oranges, lemons and limes.

Take a shower, or Splash Your Face and Eyes with Cool Water

Again, this is temporary relief, but it will give you some breathing space, and especially after work when you can rinse all the pollen from your eyes, then close the windows and escape from the pollen for the evening.

Avoid other allergens – like dogs, cats, dust mites and mould

No point in adding allergens on top of more allergens, so try to keep some distance between you and your pets; get a vacuum cleaner that has an allergen filter; and if there are any spots of damp or mould in your home get them treated.

Stay away from Triggers if you can – like Grass Cutting and Rape Fields

If someone’s doing the gardening on their front lawn; like clipping the hedges and cutting the grass, cross over to the other side of the road to avoid all the pollen their snipping and pruning will be scattering into the air. Long walks in the country might have to be postponed until the autumn, and stay away from farms, because some of the most popular crops like rape fields, are the biggest hayfever offenders.

Eat to make your immune system healthy

If your immune system is in tip-top shape it’s less likely to over-react to allergens. Eat oily fish, seafood, fruit and veg, whole grains, bio-yoghurt, and white meat like chicken.

Reishi and Cordyceps – Traditional Chinese Medicine

These herbs are a part of Chinese Traditional Medicine, and they have the reputation of calming allergies and getting rid of the symptoms. Both are made from mushrooms, and there is quite a bit of evidence and medical opinion that they work.

Silver Needle Loose-Leaf White Tea. Photo © Redberry Sky.
Silver Needle Loose-Leaf White Tea. Photo © Redberry Sky.

Green and White Tea

Research has shown that green tea might help to stop allergies in their tracks. It isn't proven yet, but it is a well-known and widely used home remedy, and unless you are taking certain medications like blood thinners, green tea is very safe - and very delicious too!

Both green and white teas are the darlings of medical research in recent years, and there are a lot of studies and scientific evidence that the extensive claims about the health benefits are true.The best green tea to drink is loose-leaf high-grade tea – If you’re not sure where to buy from, I’ve reviewed my own favourite online teashops (which I’m not affiliated to in any way).If you’re interested in green tea, look at this article where I’ve looked at the science behind the claims of tea’s health benefits, or my Complete Guide for Newbies to Green Tea.


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    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 4 years ago from Michigan

      Hello Redberry Sky, (love the name) I learned some new ways, through this hub, to relieve hayfever and allergies. We have a special air purifier in our home which takes the pollen out of the indoor air and drops it to the ground. Many in our family deal with asthma and allergies, this air purifier really works.

      Great information hub!

      Voted up and useful,


    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 4 years ago

      Wow, Mekenzie, I've never heard of an air purifier that does that, I'll have to go and hunt one down! Cheers for the info :)

    • peachperfort profile image

      peachperfort 4 years ago from La Union

      Very informative. I learned a lot to your article.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 4 years ago from Michigan

      Redberry, I did a hub on it with links to the one I use. It really does work! :)

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      Huh, didn't know about green tea, handy tip. Thankfully antihistamines work well for me and I have learned how to ask for the non-drowsy ones in Thai lol. However, as you say, they don't work for all. Also, as a side note, some may not it is worse indoors ... not sure why, but my allergies are better outside, although seasonal which suggests hay fever.

      Up, useful, shared and tweeted

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 4 years ago

      Hi Brett, yes, green (or white) tea can work wonders for some people - and you're in the very heartland of the tea-growing continent so you'll be able to get the best and freshest tea :)

    • profile image

      vman7001 4 years ago

      I don't like the taste of honey, is there anything else I can take

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