Hay fever and homeopathy
Hay fever is a variant of a wider entity called the Allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal air passage, and allergy that is an altered and exaggerates immune reaction to irritants like pollens, dust or animal dander. Allergy is caused by the hypersensitivity of the immune system leading to an inappropriate immune response.
When the allergy is caused specifically to the grass pollens it’s called the Hay fever. It’s one of the most common forms of allergy affecting the children, adolescents and adults equally.
Allergic Rhinitis is essentially of 2 types:
1) Seasonal allergic rhinitis
It has a cyclical course of exacerbations, where almost 20% cases are seasonal, that ceases with appearance of frost. The main allergens/antigens are tree pollens in spring and grass pollens in summer, weeds and moulds.
2) Perennial allergic rhinitis
This is the variety which causes round the year symptoms, caused mainly by antigens like house dust, fungal spores and animal dander. This covers over 40% of allergic rhinitis cases.
- Nasal itching, leading to twitching and picking of nose in children leading to epistaxis, upward rubbing of nose leading to nasal crease (horizontal ridge of skin fold at root of nose).
- Sneezing, clear rhinorrhoea (nasal discharge), intermittent nasal congestion (nose blocks).
- Conjnctival irritation (itchy and watering eyes).
- Nasal congestion more at night leading to mouth breathing, snoring, disturbed sleep and irritability.
- Loss of sense of smell and taste.
- Headaches, wheezing, coughs.
Nose- oedamatous, little or no redness, swollen turbinate, purulent discharges indicating infection.
Transverse nasal crease, dark circles around eyes (allergic shiners), continuous open mouth breathing (allergic gape).
- huge amount of eosinophils in the nasal smear.
- elevated IgE
- Positive skin allergy test.
- Peripheral eosinophilia.
Untreated cases may lead to:
- Chronic sinusitis
- Middle ear infection
- Nasal polyps
- Orthodontic problems due to mouth breathing
- identifying and avoiding the allergen
- steam inhalation for nose block
- Vit c diet supplementation
- Avoid histamine releasing edibles like bananas and berries.
A special mention of allergies has been made in homoeopathic literatures under the section of IDIOSYNCRACIES “by which are meant peculiar corporeal constitutions which although otherwise healthy, posses a disposition to be brought into a more or less morbid state by certain things which seem to produce no impression and no change in many other individuals”. Likewise allergies have same manifestations of hypersensitivity, which is due to a morbid susceptibility.
A homoeopathic prescribing would involve a detail case taking as to find out the evolution of the disease, the characteristic symptoms and the causes of the vulnerability in the constitution. The aim of the treatment should be to improve the constitution so that the sensitivity is regulated .It not only alleviates the present episode of the allergy but also improves the patient’s tolerance to the allergen and hence the long term effects would be waning severity and frequency of the attacks and ultimately the individual is freed of the hypersensitivity reaction to the allergen, by modifying the susceptibility.
Familial background, past disease history and present illness presentation helps us assess what is called the miasmatic block if any, allergies falls mainly into the Psoric miasm , which affects only at the functional level without much structural changes and with the best prognosis of healing.
Some of the commonly helping remedies are: allium cepa, ars album, hepar sulph, phos, drosera, sambucus. To name a v few of the vast repertoires, but none of these should be considered without homoeopathic constitutional analysis by a qualified homoeopath.