life’s not meant to be sneezy

by Sophie Kalagas

Suffering from a bit of hay fever? Laugh at the pollen count with these old-timey cures.

hay fever 1

HONEY It’s not a coincidence that Winnie the Pooh and his animal pals spent their lives in the Hundred Acre Wood with nary an itchy eye between them. Locally produced honey is jam-packed with pollen from the plants that trigger your sneeze-causing allergies, and it’s widely believed that a couple of spoonfuls daily will help desensitise you to its nasty effects. Just like an immunisation, only sweeter.

VASELINE The ointment equivalent of a quicksand moat around the castle of your nose, smearing Vaseline around the edges of your nostrils each morning will thwart those bothersome pollen particles on their mission to invade your nasal passages. It might not be the most glamorous way to combat the springtime sniffles, but as well as acting as a goopy barrier, it has the added benefit of soothing your sore, overblown shnoz.

STEAM If you need a reason to slave away over a piping hot sink full of dishes, here it is: steam. Burying your face in a cloud of warm vapour is a nifty way to unclog your sinuses and allow trapped allergens to escape. A few drops of eucalyptus oil in the water will pack some extra punch – just make sure to keep tissues handy to mop yourself up post-inhalation.

KISSING It might sound like an elaborate ruse to score some lip-on-lip action, but studies in Japan apparently show that 30 minutes of solid snogging could help overcome hay fever. Making out relaxes the body and inhibits the production of histamine, the symptom-causing chemical pumped out to fight allergens. So pash on, friends.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Swapping burning eyes for a burning tongue will not only distract you from your hay fever woes, it can also provide some longer term relief. Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which has naturally calming and decongestant properties. They also cause a deluge from your eyes and nose, which flushes out all the problematic pollens, so don’t be afraid to try a little extra heat.

HERBAL TEA Sipping on a cuppa is a top hay fever remedy, and different herbal blends lend a hand in their own allergy-fighting ways. Chamomile is a natural anti-inflammatory, peppermint breaks down nasal congestion, green tea hinders histamine creation and ginger loosens the gunk that builds up in your throat. For an extra wallop of scrummy medicine, try a side of dunkable bickies.

DITCHING THE MO’ Sprouting some heavy whiskers on the upper lip may be de rigueur these days, but a gentleman who suffers from the sneezes would be wise to consider losing the mouth brow. Studies show that mustachioed chaps are more likely to get stuck into antihistamines, as their facial hair acts as a trap for airborne allergens. If you’re not prepared to scrap the ‘tache, regular soapy washes could also help.

STAYING INDOORS Fact: you can’t be attacked by a barrage of pollen bombs when you’re hiding safely behind closed doors. Sunny, windy days are bad news for the itchy-eyed, so you’re best off holing up inside with your windows down, away from grassy parks, freshly mowed lawns and other lovely springtime things. That goes for your laundry too: steer clear of outdoor washing lines, which are one of pollen’s favourite stomping grounds.

PRAYING If all else fails, try praying to St Bernardine of Siena, the patron saint of allergies and respiratory ailments. Word has it in the 1390s he spent months curing the plague-stricken of his Italian hometown. So, after that deadly, infectious epidemic, your itchy palate should be a breeze.

This story first appeared in our issue 61. Lovely snap from Lukasz Wierzbowski.

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