About Hay Fever
Hay fever is a commonly seen condition in Melbourne. The scientific term for hay fever is called Allergic Rhinitis. This means inflammation of the mucosal lining of the nose caused by an allergy. Allergic Rhinitis includes Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, where symptoms often occur in spring and summer, and Perennial Allergic Rhinitis, where symptoms occur at any time of the year. When people say that they have hay fever, they generally mean that they suffer from Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis.
What triggers Hay Fever?
As its name suggests, hay fever is an allergic reaction triggered by exposure to certain stimulants (allergens).The most common substances that cause hay fever are present in the air and are inhaled into the nose. They include grass, weed and tree pollens, house dust mite faeces, mould spores, and animal dander (hair and skin flakes) especially from cats.
Wind-borne pollens are the cause of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. Dust mite allergen is the most common cause of Perennial Allergic Rhinitis.
Symptoms of Hay Fever
The symptoms of hay fever vary from one person to another. The most common symptoms are:
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Runny nose
- Watery, red, puffy eyes
- Blocked nose, and sometimes blocked ears as well
- Sore throat, tickly cough and hoarse voice
It is a debilitating and exhausting illness and can make life miserable for many months of the year. If your hay fever is severe and untreated, you might sleep poorly at night and become sleepy during the day. You may be more prone to sinus and eye infections. If you have asthma, it can make your asthma symptoms more difficult to control.
Hay Fever – A TCM perspective
From the perspective of Chinese medicine there can be several underlying reasons behind the occurrence of hay fever. The diagnosis is made according to a number of distinguishing features such as whether the patient’s condition is predominantly hot or cold. A hot type of hay fever includes symptoms of red and inflamed eyes and a yellow mucus discharge. Conversely, a cold condition includes symptoms of a clear nasal discharge and sensitivity to cold weather. Different herbs and acupuncture treatment are given according to which category of hay fever the patient’s symptoms fit.
Chinese medicine also examines the underlying nature of the patient’s condition and aims to treat the fundamental cause of the illness rather than simply alleviating the symptoms. Whether the allergy is hot or cold in nature, it can arise simply because the patient’s vital life energy or “Qi” has become depleted or out of balance in some way. Long term treatment would be directed towards discovering the underlying cause and rebalancing and strengthening the “Qi”.
Treatment for Hay Fever
Up to now, western medicine has provided satisfactory treatment for only some hay fever sufferers. Medication such as antihistamines and cortisones give temporary relief to symptoms only, not without their side-effects. Desensitisation therapy aims at identifying and desensitising you to the allergen. However, success is uncertain due to circumstantial difficulties.
Fortunately, hay fever can be treated effectively with Chinese Medicine. A combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs can either greatly reduce or completely resolve the condition.
Acupuncture may be used to help re-establish the flow of the vital life force or “Qi”. Points may be used where there is the greatest discomfort. The treatment principle is to open the congested area allowing the “Qi” to flow easily. Sometimes there may be block of energy flow between two meridians. Several meridians either start or end around the sinus areas. Inserting very fine needles into these points helps to ensure that the “Qi” can flow easily between the meridians.
Chinese herbal medicine plays a very important role in the treatment of hay fever. Not only is it effective in improving symptoms, but it also serves to correct underlying immune system imbalances.
“Wei-Qi deficiency” (lack of resistance) is thought to be a contributing factor to hay fever, so strengthening the body is a part of the TCM therapeutic strategy. TCM also views “lung deficiency,” “spleen deficiency,” and “kidney deficiency” as the root causes of immune system imbalance, so correction of these deficiencies during the remission stage is very important.
In our clinic, Dr. Jim Xing has a wealth of experience in treating hay fever and other allergy related conditions such as asthma, eczema, and hives. A great number of allergy sufferers have received very satisfactory results from his treatment. The benefits of his treatment include lasting results with no side effects and improvements to your general well-being.
Helped at the centre:
Dr. Xing has successfully treated many patients who had previously been suffering from hay fever. Of these, many had tried other treatments without success, or had believed that their condition could not be treated. Hay fever is one of the most common conditions which Dr. Xing sees, and excellent results have been achieved at our clinic in treating this condition.
One patient had been suffering from hay fever and catarrh for many years. She had tried using many different types of ‘over the counter’ sprays, which were only able to alleviate the symptoms of her condition for a few hours. After a referral from her doctor, she visited Dr. Xing, where she was treated using acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Within a matter of weeks, her condition had dramatically improved, and she had already felt much healthier. In addition, she had also felt that her energy levels had improved, and her acute back pain had also stopped after Dr. Xing’s treatment.