Summer. For most, it's the season we spend all winter looking forward to. The joys of spending time outside, enjoying the sun and cracking open a cold one. But for up to 1 in 5 Brits it can also mark the beginning of dreaded hay fever season: a time of runny noses, itchy eyes, sneezes, and general discomfort.
Hay fever may feel the same as cold and flu, making you reminisce on the times you took an unblocked nose for granted. But what’s going down on a cellular level is different. Being sick with a cold or flu can be a sign of a weakened immune system whereas hay fever is a sign of your immune system reacting to something it shouldn’t and this is where things go downhill.
Now to go into the science side of things for our inner geeks. Hay fever sufferers essentially have immune systems that trigger an immune response when exposed to pollen. In other words, when pollen comes into contact with a person who suffers from hay fever through the eyes, nose or mouth, immune cells recognise this as a pathogen and releases a chemical compound called histamine. And histamine is what causes the nasty symptoms that include sneezing, runny nose, itchiness and eye soreness.
But fear not, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If you are a hay fever sufferer you will be well aware of antihistamines, the drug that is normally always prescribed to help treat the uncomfortable symptoms. However, like many drugs, antihistamines have some pretty unpleasant side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, reduced coordination, blurred vision and dizziness. Now I don’t know about you but it seems pretty counterintuitive to take antihistamines to then still feel awful. Not to mention you can’t drink alcohol when taking antihistamines as well, which I know isn’t ideal for many of us with pubs and restaurants back open.
Luckily, the beauty of mother nature is that she’s provided us with a natural solution that doesn't come with the side effects. Vitamin C, something we find abundantly in nature, has shown time and time again that it is a powerful antihistamine and antioxidant. A 2018 study showed that oxidative stress plays a role in the severity of allergic disease and as vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it can act as a treatment for hay fever. Research suggests that taking 2000mg of vitamin C will help alleviate hay fever symptoms by reducing the effect of histamine. To get 2000mg of vitamin C, you’d have to eat 50 lemons or you could just take 2 tablets of our Daily Immunity effervescent tablets and it doesn’t come with a long list of side effects but is rather enjoyable to drink!
Don’t struggle this hay fever season because summer time is supposed to be a time of enjoyment rather than sniffles.
Click here to find out more on Tonic’s Daily Immunity.