Spring has arrived and the flora is coming alive once more. The energy in the earth and around us is becoming more abundant with the increase of sunlight. This of course is the same within us, we feel more alive, and awake earlier as the days get longer. Unfortunately, for some people, we are also entering the period of the year when “hay-fever” symptoms start to appear:-
Runny Nose Sneezing Itchy or Irritated Eyes Sore Throat
These symptoms, however, are common to other issues such as the cold or flu, and are often easily mistaken as being hay-fever symptoms because of the time of year at which they appear but consider the suggestions below…..
Runny Nose and Sneezing
These 2 symptoms are often associated with hay-fever when they occur in Spring, but consider for a moment that it could just be your body reacting to the cold. Really?
Yes in early to mid Spring the air is still cold even when the sun is out, but we don’t necessarily notice it until we stand in the shade. For those with a stronger constitutional energy they may not even notice the subtle cold. However, for those who are weaker in energy/health, the elderly, the young and those with chronic illnesses that affect their defence system, their bodies will feel and react to the cold in the air and this can set off a runny nose or a fit of sneezing.
So, if you get a runny nose or start to sneeze this Spring, before you blame it on the pollen and break out the antihistamine tablets or nasal spray, take a second and try to become aware of the environment you are in. If it feels even slightly cool, first try protecting yourself from the cool air with light extra layers that cover the upper back, chest and neck. Even if you think the temperature is fine, your body may not agree. If the sneezing/runny nose stops then you know it was just the cold and not the pollen.
In Spring this often happens first thing in the morning or early evening time as it starts to get dark. It can also happen when going indoors or into a shaded area after having spent time out in the sun.
If you get a sore throat in the morning during Spring this can be because the body (namely the neck/chest) has reacted to cold earlier in the night/early morning during sleep. If you find that you have yellow/green phlegm in the morning, this is often the body’s reaction to cold.
If your system is strong enough, and the cold has not penetrated deeper into the body leading to full blown cold, then simply covering the neck for a while before waking up could ease the sore throat. If you feel a sore throat during the day then perhaps first try protecting your neck from the cold air with a scarf or shawl, but it needs to cover the neck completely and preferably the upper chest/back to see if this resolves the sore throat.
Itchy and Irritated Eyes
Another common symptom but this can also be caused by insufficient sleep/rest from the night before. If you are forced to wake up due to work or kids and your body is not ready to wake up, then this can cause itchy eyes in the morning.
As Spring arrives and the sun rises earlier, we may wake up earlier due to the extra sunlight, but our bodies may still require more rest. So, if you feel your eyes itching first thing in the morning and you are lucky enough to be able to have more sleep then snuggle down and try giving your body a little more rest. When you wake up you should feel better. If it’s during the day and you can afford a 15min power nap or even just to close your eyes and calm your system, these could help to alleviate the itchiness.
Over-working the body can happen any time of the day so itchy eyes can occur. If rest is not an option then try drinking more plain water to add cooling fluid to your system to help with the dry eyes. Coconut water is always a good system cooler and fluid replenisher.
In Spring, many symptoms are mistaken for hay-fever. Hopefully, this small article has brought to your attention a few of them allowing you to help yourself with a little more clarity and awareness. Our bodies talk to us sometime we have to stop and listen to them.
Hay Fever Part 2 coming soon…..
Nick Jim, Chinese Herbalist and Acupuncturist