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Hayfever

Dear Lesley,

For many years I have suffered from hay fever which just seems to get worse every year. What can I do to help myself this year?

 

Most people don't seem to give much thought to their immune systems until they become ill. We rely on our immune systems to protect us from invaders. For allergy sufferers their struggle to handle symptoms can be even more daunting when they learn that their allergic symptoms are based on their body's immune response. It seems contradictory that your immune system-the part of your body that is meant to protect you from illness-is leaving you feeling miserable with sneezing, watery eyes, a runny nose and an itchy throat. It's important, however, to look at exactly what is happening during a hay fever response, so that you can understand what is going on in your immune system.

An allergy is your immune system's reaction to something that is normally considered harmless. It's a bit like a false alarm on the part of the body. This means that the substance is one that wouldn't usually cause a problem for most people. The substance that triggers the reaction is called an allergen and it can be any number of things-food, dust, drugs-or for those with hay fever, it's typically pollen.

It's believed that there is a genetic aspect to allergies. If your parents suffered from hay fever, for example, you're more likely to develop it as well. There is another suggestion, which is that if a person is exposed to an allergen when their body's immune system is weakened (for example after a virus ) they are more likely to develop an allergy.

As I said, we rely on our immune systems to protect us from invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Our immune system, or our defence shield, protects us from the many pathogens and invaders present in our environments. An allergic reaction, however, operates on the premise that the normally harmless substance is actually an invader.

When a person who is exposed to pollen, for instance, comes into contact with that allergen, the person's body mistakenly believes the pollen is invading the body. In response, it mounts an attack on the invader by producing generous amounts of antibodies. In an allergic response to pollen, Immunoglobulin E (IgE) the antibody responsible for the production of histamine, is produced. A person who doesn't have an allergy will only produce small amounts of IgE while an allergic person produces vast amounts in response to allergen exposure.

You may be wondering what the IgE does in the body? It joins to other cells, known as mast cells. When you're exposed to an allergen, the allergen attaches to the IgE, which then triggers the mast cells to produce chemicals called histamine, prostaglandins and leukotrienes. It is these chemicals that affect your body, causing the characteristic symptoms of hay fever that you likely know and dread-sneezing, itchiness, irritated throat, bloodshot eyes and a congested nose.

Histamine is the key chemical in the allergic response, causing swelling along with a narrowing of respiratory passages and increased production of phlegm and mucus. Your immune system has responded to what it considers a threat by waging an attack. The false alarm has caused you to suffer from the symptoms of hay fever in response.

The first time you are exposed to an allergen, you become sensitive to the offending substance but you won't suffer from the typical hay fever symptoms. Each time you are exposed to the allergen, however, your body produces more IgE antibodies, and more histamine, which means that you are more likely to suffer a reaction. It also means that the reaction can become progressively worse as has happened with you.

If you start taking Simba around February/March by the time you reach the hay fever season you will have an immune system which is  balanced and functioning correctly. This, in turn, should prevent the body from over-producing IgE and lessen the hay fever symptoms and this is certainly what many of our customers have reported over the years. As Simba takes around 6 to 8 weeks to really get into the system and begin to take effect, it's important that you begin taking it well before the hay fever season begins.

There are several other natural ways you can reduce your symptoms. I recommend a Liposomal Vitamin C supplement, the most bio-available form of the vitamin. You can get it from Abundance & Health online.

Allicin from the garlic bulb can be taken as a very effective supplement. Allitech by Dulwich Health is an excellent one.

And try to cut down on foods that exacerbate hay fever. These include alcohol, dairy products, sugar and caffeine.

I do hope your hay fever symptoms are more manageable this year.

With kind regards,
Lesley

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