Acupuncture for Hay Fever
Hay fever may well be the country’s most common ailment. This is an immune reaction to a variety of airborne allergens: trees, grasses and weeds; dust mites; dander, skin and urine from animals; mold spores; and insect parts. The reaction may be any combination of itchy, watering eyes; runny, stuffy, or itchy nose; sneezing; headache; and fatigue. Hay fever also can heighten the symptoms of asthma.
The hay fever sufferer is advised, whenever and wherever possible, to avoid places and situations where these allergens proliferate. Avoiding pets and eliminating indoor allergens as much as possible are the only hay fever triggers one can control to some degree. However, no one can completely avoid wind, trees and flowering plants.
TREATING HAY FEVER WITH HOME REMEDIES
Symptom relief normally is the first treatment approach. Antihistamines, decongestants, washing the inside of the nose with salt water, use of a vaporizer or humidifier, hot showers, and NSAIDS (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen) often provide temporary relief.
Many over-the-counter treatments can produce sleepiness, dizziness, nervousness, or even irregular heartbeat in rare cases.
There are known risks in long-term use of NSAIDs, including Reyes Syndrome.
More serious hay fever attacks may require the use of a prescription inhaler containing steroids. Because of the troublesome side effects of steroids prescription, non-steroidal leukotriene inhibitors and anticholinergics may be used instead to treat allergic rhinitis. However, these have their own side effects.
TREATING FOR THE LONG TERM
Immunotherapy (allergy shots) vary in effectiveness. Sensitivity to a single allergen, such as cat dander, often is highly effective. Allergy shots are less appropriate and less effective when sensitivity to a large variety of allergens is the situation.
The immunotherapy protocol typically requires bi-weekly shots for several months, which then stretch out to monthly, continuing at this interval for as long as five years. Some patients may experience a reaction to these shots early in their treatment schedule. Reactions include itchy eyes, shortness of breath, runny nose, or tight throat. At the injection site, patients may find redness swelling or irritation for several hours.
ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT OF HAY FEVER
Acupuncture is understood to have pain and inflammation-fighting effects in the body and a modulating effect on the initial production of inflammatory immune-system substances.
A World Health Organization study in 2002 found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis.
Researchers in Berlin, from the Charite-University Medical Centre, reported in the Feb. 19, 2013 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine on a study of 422 people suffering from grass and pollen allergies. When combined with antihistamine treatments, acupuncture improved the effectiveness of the antihistamines while allowing a lower dosage.