Allergies are weird. There is still a lot we don’t know about them. For example, allergies can develop in adults over time and no one knows why. You could have gone years without suffering an allergy and then one day, you’re in a field sniffling and suffering.
What Causes Allergic Reactions?
Grass pollen is the most common allergen, which affects sufferers at the specific times of the year when grass pollen is released. Grass pollinates between May and July, for example. However, some people become allergic to tree or weed and shrub pollens, and will therefore be affected at different times of the year.
Some people find that they are getting symptoms at different times of the year because they are becoming sensitive to tree pollen, particularly to birch pollen. You can be different to a variety of difference kinds of pollen, which is why you don’t always suffer when you go out in summer.
The most common causes of allergic reactions are:
- pollen from trees, flowers and grasses
- proteins secreted from house dust mites (not just dust, like people think)
- foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs
- pets including: cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and guinea pigs
- insect venom from wasps and bees
- medicines such as anaesthetics
But there are two things we do know about allergies…
Histamine is what causes the itchy, stinging sensation in your eyes and nose, and that putting things in your eyes (that isn’t a contact lens, or of course!) is dangerous.
Histamine is a chemical released when the body detects something harmful, such as an infection. It causes blood vessels to expand and the skin to swell, which helps protect the body.
People who suffer allergies have bodies that mistake something harmless, such as pollen, for a threat. It then produces histamine, which causes symptoms such as rashes, a runny nose and/or sneezing.
Antihistamines help stop this happening if you take them before you come into contact with the substance you’re allergic to. Or they can reduce the severity of symptoms if taken afterwards.
Due to concerns over possible side effects, some people with allergies look for ways to address hay fever symptoms “naturally”. However, it is important to remember that any medication can have side effects, even if it’s considered natural.
Eye Allergy Home Remedies
Raw honey contains traces of pollen. The theory is that by ingesting it, you’ll build up a resistance to the effects of pollen. Ingesting honey is fine, but mixing it into a solution and putting it in your eye is not recommended.
Some people recommend using castor oil to remove make up and even use as an eye drop to relieve the effects of hay fever. This is definitely not recommended. Castor oil dries out your eyes, potentially causing more harm than good.
The problem with acupuncture is the lack of scientific support for its results. There are cases of acupuncture treating eye allergies, but they are from groups with no relevant sample size.
Along with nettles and similar plants, there are a range of plants and roots that claim to reduce the symptoms of eye allergies. Like acupuncture, none of these have been proven to a level of sufficient scientific scrutiny to be advised and should not be administered through the eye.
Don’t Risk It!
Aside from home remedies, options can also include alternative and complementary medicine. The downside to these treatments can be that there’s little supporting evidence to prove that they’re safe or effective. The correct dosing may also be difficult to determine or achieve.
Although these alternative treatments are derived from plants and other natural substances, they can possibly interact with medications, as well as cause reactions.
The best thing a home remedy can do is help flush pollen out your eyes and reduce swelling. Antihistamines actively prevent histamine from being produced in your body. This stops a reaction occurring before it even starts. So don’t risk the weird and wonderful… #loveyoureyes by giving them tried and tested solutions.