- Why am I sneezing on a frosty day?
- How this ancient mineral can brighten your sunny day
- A look back stirs these powerful memories.
OK, so the sun has been showing… but it has still been cold.
We’ve had frosts most nights, none of my shrubs are in leaf and the central heating is still used at least once a day.
So why am I suffering from Hay Fever?
Exactly which plants have decided it’s time to be fruitful and spread their love?
I got back in this morning after taking the dog for our normal walk around the fields and it began.
My eyes were itching and the sneezing started. It always catches me by surprise.
You see, I never used to get hay fever.
I remember sitting outside on school field trips, looking at friends with red eyes and streaming noses and finding it quite funny…
Not anymore (though the kids find it HILARIOUS).
For the past few years or so, I’ve started suffering from hay fever, in fact ever since I turned fifty.
The trouble is it’s not just the open green spaces that trigger an attack…
Hay fever in the concrete jungle
These days people still seem to suffer from hay fever symptoms no matter where they are.
In offices and shopping centres and busy city streets up and down the country, there’s an orchestra of sneezing and sniffling (my wife tells me I sound like a tuba!).
And, as per usual, it seems the blame lies at the feet of big business.
Scientists believe that the increase in air pollutants over the years – from car exhaust to factories to smoking to man-made fibres – have made the lungs weaker.
Which means they just can’t fight back against allergens and viruses like they used to.
I had hoped that the cleaner air we have enjoyed over lockdown would help… but it doesn’t seem to have made a difference.
Hay fever sufferers throughout the land are beginning to report symptoms right now.
And the experts are wise to this.
‘We’ve known that diesel exhaust particles worsen symptoms in individuals who respond to allergens, such as pollen, but our study suggests a direct way that pollution could be triggering allergies and asthma in a large number of susceptible individuals,’ says Frank D. Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School.
And we’re not just under attack when we’re outside.
Cat hairs, dust mites, and a common fungus called Alternaria can trigger attacks inside the home too.
But there are steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Try using special non-allergenic covers for pillows and mattresses.
Wash all bedding in warm water weekly (the Soap Nut Liquid helps as well). This can reduce asthma symptoms of children with mite allergen.
- Get more exercise! A healthier lifestyle increases the capacity of the lungs to fight through these attacks.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, and eat plenty of fatty fish or flaxseeds.
And for me there is always my trusty salt inhaler too.
My journey with salt inhalation
I began writing the Good Life Letter back in 2005 and a salt inhaler was one of the first natural remedies that I wrote about.
Here’s what I said then;
The way it works is so SIMPLE, but so logical.
The salt pipe is an all-natural remedy for asthma, hay fever, snoring, chronic coughs and a host of breathing problems.
It’s a small porcelain pipe that you breathe through for 15 minutes each day.
Inside the pipe are ‘halite salt crystals’ from the Transylvanian Praid Salt Mine in Romania. This is a region that’s long been known for its healing salt therapy.
It must work……… did you ever see Transylvania’s Prince of Darkness, Dracula, sneeze in any of his films!
This is more than just a superstition though.
Just as holidays by the sea have long been hailed in the UK as a way to ease
respiratory problems, so these salt mines have helped many thousands of people
overcome breathing difficulties.
The mines are now luxurious clinical health centres, visited by over 10,000 people every year.
Reading this back makes me a little sentimental, let me explain why.
An unexpected impact of Brexit
For many years we were able to offer a lovely porcelain salt pipe which was refillable with little bags of salt.
I still have mine in my desk drawer, but I can’t get the refill packs for love nor money.
The suppliers in Romania have hit a brick wall when trying to export to the UK and supplies have stopped.
However, I have been in constant dialogue with them and hope to have better news soon.
But out of such adversity has come a real benefit.
Whilst I couldn’t get the refill bags I discovered a supplier of a light, easy to carry nasal salt inhaler – and it is fantastic.
It’s also refillable and these are available too.
As of tomorrow I will slip in into my pocket alongside the dogs whistle, treats and poo bags… and on my rounds I can enjoy the clearing effect of the salt and the benefit of not sneezing for the rest of the day.