Hayfever – I cry every time.

It is that time of year where, without medication, I would be an eye-watering, sneezing mess. It makes me wonder how my ancestors coped as I do not understand how they could leave the house and be productive without medication.

My allergies coincide with early British summer; how did my ancestors work on the fields and eat? I remember the first time I knew I had allergies, I was playing cricket in the park as a youngster, and the ball went into the long grass after a decent hit! Whilst searching for the ball, my eye began to swell up, and I had to race home, and my mother took me to the doctors. I ended up having eye drops, and eventually, my eye returned to normal and from that point on the summer has been a pain without medication.

If you look on the NHS website, one of the things they suggest is ‘staying indoors whenever possible’. What did people do when the boundary between indoors and outdoors was not so well defined? The first known case of hayfever (that I could find) was recorded by John Bostock on the 16th of March 1819. Presumably, no one bothered to record it prior to this as I highly doubt he discovered patient zero. You can read about that here.

Hayfever is known to be an immune reaction to pollen; although, as far as I can tell, the cause is not very well studied. The body detects pollen as a danger and tries to rid the system of it. All the physical symptoms are produced by your own body. If you’re unfortunate to become sensitised to an allergen of any kind, then you’re on the ride for the rest of your life. If only we could convince ourselves that this particular pathogen is a false alarm. I suppose having a ruthless commander in charge of your immune system is helpful in certain circumstances although I have to say this blue on blue situation I have going on every summer is something I would like to conscientiously object.

If you’re a sufferer like me, you would have all manner of people telling you of there homespun remedies. Like eating honey from local bees…

if that worked:

A) Doctors would recommend it as it would save a lot of money.
B) The landscape of medical science would be very different.
C) Unless you’re a doctor, please don’t give medical advice.

If you are an expert in the field, please could you let me know when this allergy was likely to have come about as I am extremely curious as to how my distant ancestors coped with it? Presumably, they worked in a mine or on a ship where there was less pollen. But that is just a guess.

Author: ljphd

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

22 thoughts on “Hayfever – I cry every time.”

  1. I’m right there with you! I’m not sure where the allergy came about, but I do know it appears to be getting worse. Perhaps the plant world is fighting back. As we clear field and forest for the next cathedral of commerce, the plants are trying desperately to slow us down.

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      1. I copied this off facebook (and cause its on facebook it must be true 😉 )
        “Basically, as soon as the spring starts, he told me, and the first nettles sprout out, pick a bunch and sting myself with them. Do that once a week until the end of autumn. Apparently this would make my immune system concentrate on nettles and forget about the pollen…” Apparently the guy has been 3 years without hayfever

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  2. Bless you…I feel your pain. My husband has the same issue at least once a year. His comes from tree pollen, although we haven’t determined which tree it actually is. I can attest to the use of honey. Local honey, used over a period of time (2yrs for my man) has reduced the allergic reactions he used to get significantly!

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  3. Although I don’t suffer from hayfever, there is one flowering something we have in our garden that when it’s at the height of its flowering will give me mild hayfever. The trouble is I’m not sure which plant it is, and I know it’s something in our garden because if I move away from the house the symptoms subside.
    Perhaps our ancestors didn’t suffer unless they moved into territories unknown to their bodies, and when the reactions happened they simply left the area?

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  4. Interesting article. I’ve had lots of problems with hay fever and allergies and used to walk around with Piriton which always made me drowsy. Currently managing without the allergy meds, things seemed to have stabilised.

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    1. My Father suffers as well, although he has been suffering less as the years go by. I hope it’s not just his immune system that is weakening and therefore, the allergen response is less.

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  5. Hayfever is the worst, even more so since I developed lactose intolerance. Most of the tablets contain lactose, so I’ve had to resort to a nasal spray this year! Luckily my symptoms are barely an issue at the beach, so I just spend as much time as I can there over summer!

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