H_H Spring 09qxd

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					Hayafever: view
                                                                                 by Jacqueline M Mardon

    ar from bringing happiness, the            Other problems                                 certainly would aim to help minimise
    innocuous-sounding hay fever (also         There can be associated health problems        reliance on these drugs using a variety of
    known as seasonal allergic rhinitis)       which are provoked by the hay fever such       methods. As this condition can affect all
may cause many to dread the cheery             as sore throat or sinusitis. There may also    ages and last many, many seasons and
spring and summer months. Never                be other allergic conditions in the same       years of life, I think it is reasonable to
experiencing the joys of lying outdoors        person such as eczema, asthma or known         use alternatives. Also, I have to point out
on a bed of grass, senses alert to the         food intolerances or allergies. This could     that the conventional approach to treat-
beauties of a summer’s day, the indi-          point to “atopy” which is another way          ment does not necessarily bring relief to
vidual may mope wanly indoors and              of expressing that someone has possibly        everyone and there are side-effects such
take elaborate and isolating precautions       a family tendency to be sensitive to “aller-   as drowsiness with antihistamines which
to remove themselves from as many              gens”. These may be common things in           can curtail or limit their use. I would not
potential triggers in the environment          their surroundings such as dusts or            claim homeopathy helps everyone, but
as possible.                                   pollens, and this can cause problems for       it certainly deserves a try!
    The homeopathic practitioner seeks         them. There could be a kind of allergic
to render that unhappy and unwell              spectrum in the same person, such as they      Causes: the history
person once more in connection with            had some patches of dry and itchy skin         The person attending the clinic has their
their greater surroundings. I have been        as a child and they may have had hay           own particular story to tell and as always
thrilled when a patient tells me that after    fever in their teens, possibly with an         with homeopathy, it is the individual
homeopathic treatment they were able           increased chance of asthma at a later          experience which weighs the most. Some
to cycle a favourite country route once        stage in their life.                           background knowledge about pollens
more. About 20 per cent of the popula-             Hay fever may just occur on its own,       and other triggers can be helpful in
tion may suffer the condition, severity        but I think the reasons it comes on at dif-    identifying what may be causing the

                                                                                                                                            Photo: istockphoto.com/epicurean
tending to peak in the 20s. There can be       ferent times for different people is inter-    symptoms. Classically, those sensitive
varying patterns though and, perhaps           esting and not really easily explained.        to grass pollens have symptoms any time
more commonly than classic hay fever,          For example, some women start to expe-         from May to September and, depending
symptoms can be seen in people that are        rience it at the menopause. It is not          on weather conditions and early signs
year-round, which would be known as            always possible to dismiss such phe-           of spring that can burgeon in northern
perennial rhinitis. The homeopathic            nomena as due to environmental changes         climes like Glasgow these days, the
approach can be similar.                       or variations in pollen count. I think the     symptoms can start much earlier than
                                               condition is probably a lot more com-          this, certainly in April. Trees which have
The sufferer                                   plex in the way it waxes and wanes and         wind-borne pollen, that is, those with
Early in the year, in January and              certainly lends scope to a look at the         the characteristic, rather lovely catkins,
February by preference, I like to see the      whole complexity of the person, as with        can cause symptoms at varying times
return of patients to the allergy clinic       a full homeopathic consultation. It is not     depending on their individual season for
who have recurrent symptoms of rhinitis        always necessary to do this, though, and       flowering, from February to June. Weed
which they link to the spring or summer        it can be possible to self-treat too.          pollens or fungal spores can cause prob-
months. The miseries of hay fever can                                                         lems later in the year in the autumn.
be very troublesome as any sufferer            Conventional treatment                             Where rhinitis is year-round, consid-
knows! The individual can experience           Conventional treatment of the condition,       eration may be made of the possible
itchy, swollen and red eyes, sneezing          which of course is very varied in the way      contributory factor of dusts or house
bouts, running and itchy nose, even an         the individual experiences it, in terms of     dust mite. The person may live beside
itchiness inside the ears or throat. There     particular focus of symptoms and in how        a forest of birch or have particular
can also be a great sense of heaviness         severe it is, tends to be on the lines of      triggers in their garden such as a shrub
and malaise associated with hay fever          antihistamine tablets or sprays to the         or flowers. There may be one picture
and a stuffiness or cotton wool sensa-         nose or eyes, or by the use of cortico-        superimposed on another, such as when
tion of the head. It can be really difficult   steroid sprays. In the past few years it has   an animal lover has sensitivity to their
to concentrate and it is little wonder that    become as “normal” to many people to           pet cat (year-round symptoms) but there
students who experience these symp-            buy these over the counter as buying           is worsening when cutting the grass. It
toms have more to dread than some of           paracetamol, and this social acceptance        could be a very simple or complex story,
their peers at exam times, as they won-        of potentially harmful drugs does con-         but will reveal much to the attentive
der how this will affect their revision and    cern me. I really hope and expect to be        listener. As with other allergic com-
performance.                                   able to offer a different approach, and        plaints, the history offers the clues.

8 H&H Spring/Summer 2009
                                                                                           appreciation, there could be consider-
                                                                                           ation of the nosode Carcinosin. The
                                                                                           person may feel drawn to the sea and
I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm,                                                particularly love chocolate. The history
                                                                                           in the family of cancer, diabetes or tuber-
I’m as jumpy as a puppet on a string
                                                                                           culosis in a close relative could be sig-
I’d say that I had spring fever, but I know it isn’t spring                                nificant. Also, some sense of not pleasing
I am starry-eyed and vaguely discontented,                                                 a parent and having unreasonable
like a nightingale without a song to sing                                                  demands made during childhood. They
O why should I have spring fever, when it isn’t even spring                                tend to be very conscientious and
                                                                                           others rely on them. With their warm
                                                                                           and sympathetic natures, they tend to
 (from It Might As Well Be Spring, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II,                         do a lot for others, sometimes with scant
                                        in the film State Fair 1945)                       regard for themselves.
                                                                                                With such a person who may pres-
                                                                                           ent to the practitioner with severe illness
                                                                                           and multiple allergic sensitivities, the
                                                                                           relationship may be longer for thera-
                                                                                           peutic effect and a rewarding opening
                                                                                           to the process can be with Carcinosin in
                                                                                           a high potency such as 200c or 1M or
                                                                                           perhaps LM as these individuals may
                                                                                           particularly risk aggravation, a legacy
                                                                                           of suppression I suspect.
                                                                                                Other nosodes can be helpful such
                                                                                           as Psorinum in an extremely chilly
                                                                                           person who is rather bleak in their out-
                                                                                           look. There could be dryness of the nose
                                                                                           rather than a discharge but unpleasant-
                                                                                           smelling and sweaty feet or discharge
                                                                                           from the ears. Probably this remedy
                                                                                           would not be a first approach but helps
                                                                                           if there is no progress. There might have
                                                                                           been suppressive treatment with steroids
                                                                                           of asthma or bronchitis and skin can
                                                                                           appear unhealthy and somehow
                                                                                           unwashed. Medorrhinum is worth con-
                                                                                           sidering in children who are a bit slow
                                                                                           in their development, fearful of the dark
                                                                                           and with a tendency to bite their nails,
                                                                                           with a snuffly nose or perhaps with the
                                                                                           sensation of it being blocked. They may
                                                                                           have asthma and characteristically sleep
Multiple sensitivity: a case for a           had many courses of antibiotics for colds     on their tummies, maybe on their knees
nosode?                                      and chest infections and whose grand-         with face pushed into the pillow.
In people with multiple sensitivities who    mother and uncle or cousins have “poor
demonstrate allergic reactions on many       chests”, chronic bronchitis or asthma or      The option of Isopathy
levels, such that their skin and breath-     other allergies, could benefit from a short   The wide variety in the way the person
ing is affected, and who may have a          course of Tuberculinum 30c, or 200c,          can experience hay fever or allergic
history of family members affected by        three doses. If the indications for this      rhinitis ensures many diverse approaches
similar complaints, the practitioner may     remedy are strong, such as the child has      to treatment. The simplest may be with
consider using a nosode and in fact this     a marked need to be outside, they may         isopathic remedies, which are made from
may be the preferred first option. In such   sweat easily at night or have unusual         the potentisation of pollens, dusts or
a person, the choked up catarrh may be       tastes for salami and smoked flavours,        other substances that the person may be
the tip of the iceberg, with much allergic   be real grumps when it is time to wake        sensitive to. The history alone may be
disease underlying, particularly if          them in the morning and generally live-       the key here. The seasonal effects of
there have been a lot of suppressing con-    wires, always running about, then this        grass pollens or trees may seem clear to
ventional treatments, such as steroid. I     may be enough treatment in itself.            the person by their own observation.
also sometimes regard the constantly             In a young adult, who is rather           It can be very specific, such as for the
running, inflamed nose as a sign of a sort   restrained and fastidious, warm in            patient I had who was a beautiful singer,
of pressure valve for the person.            their approach to others and extremely        called to do solos at church weddings
    Homeopathy can treat the underly-        sensitive in their perceptions and            and funerals. Unfortunately, she was
ing imbalance and have a more lasting        sensitivities, both to allergic stimuli and   intolerant of the ebullient and heavily-
benefit. For example, a child who has        also to the environment in an artistic        scented lilies decorating these occasions.

                                                                                                             Spring/Summer 2009 H&H 9
Another person from the east coast of                    With treating this condition, there                                         extremely chilly, tidy and perhaps a bit
Scotland may be affected by the acres of             can be an improvement the first year,                                           anxious, with burning, watery discharge
violently-hued yellow oilseed rape which             with a stronger improvement expected                                            from the nose, the skin about it very raw,
is commonly grown there.                             in subsequent years, working to a                                               including the top lip. With Lycopodium,
                                                     progressive cure. If there are multiple                                         there could be an unpleasant sensation
Allergy testing                                      sensitivities to allergens, confirmed on                                        of the nose blocking at night, possibly
Testing with skin prick tests can help               investigations, I would consider com-                                           with catarrh dripping down the throat,
identify allergens and I do this commonly            bining the nosode with a constitutional                                         which may be sore. There could be
in my clinic, particularly where there are           approach and limit isopathy to the two                                          abdominal bloating and a certain stiff-
long-term symptoms with no clear                     or three strongest reactions on skin prick                                      ness in demeanour, with underlying con-
pattern or the picture is changing all the           testing. I also prefer to space isopathy                                        fidence actually low.
time. The person has to stop their anti-             at least a month apart. If isopathy works
histamine treatment for two weeks before             well for that individual, then they may                                         Local prescribing
                                                                                                                                     The use of low potency remedies to help

                                                                                                    Photo: istockphoto.com/kryczka
                                                                                                                                     with symptom relief, as an alternative to
                                                                                                                                     conventional antihistamine use, can be
                                                                                                                                     very supportive for example as back-up
                                                                                                                                     or while waiting for prophylaxis to take
                                                                                                                                     effect, and may be how many try to
                                                                                                                                     self-treat their hay fever symptoms.
                                                                                                                                     Proprietary mixes do seem beneficial to
                                                                                                                                     some. Similarly topical preparations of
                                                                                                                                     Euphrasia as eye drops can be soothing
                                                                                                                                     where the eyes are stinging and running,
                                                                                                                                     the lids may be swollen and itchy.
                                                                                                                                     Euphrasia (6c, 12c) in sub-lingual form
                                                                                                                                     can be taken too, and the nasal discharge
                                                                                                                                     is typically not burning or uncomfortable,
                                                                                                                                     although there can be lots of it. Where
                                                                                                                                     sneezing just doesn’t seem to stop,
                                                                                                                                     Sabadilla can be an aid. There may be nose
                                                                                                                                     bleeds too and watering of the nose, with
            Pussy willow looks delightful but can make a hay fever sufferer’s life a misery
                                                                                                                                     itchiness inside, the smell of flowers or cut
                                                                                                                                     grass seeming to aggravate. The eyes can
this test can be carried out. In allergic            only need to plan their remedies early in                                       be red and burning and there can be a
rhinitis, whether seasonal or perennial, I           the year. Of course, those fortunate to                                         strange improvement from being in a
test with a wide range of house dust,                go abroad chasing the sun in winter may                                         warm room, whilst being outside makes
house dust mite, pollens such as mixed               need their preventive treatment then.                                           the person worse. Allium cepa, a remedy
grasses, flowers, weeds and mixed trees                                                                                              from red onion, can have the opposite
with sometimes individual pollens like               Constitutional prescribing                                                      symptoms of being better in the open and
birch or timothy grass, moulds, and                  This can be a mainstay of treatment for                                         worse in warm indoors. The eyes run and
animal fur or hair when appropriate. The             hay fever and rhinitis in general and I                                         the nose runs and burns. There can be a
results may sometimes be surprising and              use it commonly with more complex                                               heaviness and dullness, with the person
help to inform a treatment, which remains            cases of allergy. Remedy pictures can                                           finding it difficult to concentrate.
based on the history. There can also be a            come to mind and patients to illustrate                                              Homeopathy, as the above shows, has
contributory effect from foods and these             this. Natrum muriaticum, for example,                                           much to offer the hay fever sufferer, but
might be included with the tests if there            describes aggravation with heat and the                                         to lift the spirits as the season approaches,
is a suspicion of this.                              sunshine, with protecting of the eyes,                                          I would like to end with a song:
                                                     perhaps with headache. The nose may
                                                                                                                                      “I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud,
Isopathic treatment                                  run profusely and non-stop, with blisters
                                                                                                                                          or a robin on the wing
This can be with a regime of three doses             around the nose and lips, often cold
                                                                                                                                      But I feel so gay in a melancholy way,
of a 200c or 30c preparation of mixed                sores. The person may seem rather
                                                                                                                                          that it might as well be spring
grass pollens, usually given in March in             guarded but very agreeable. They may
                                                                                                                                      It might as well be spring.”
a preventative way for the season that               crave salt. Someone for whom Arsen-
year. Mixed tree pollens would tend to               icum album may be helpful could be                                                (Oscar Hammerstein II as previous page)
be given in February. An alternative is
to take a month’s course of 30c strength,
twice a day. The patient may get a feel
for what kind of regime suits them best                                      Jacqueline M Mardon MB BS MRCGP MPhil MFHom works at
or which they prefer. Sometimes a boost                                      Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital as a specialist in homeopathic
of a further short course of mixed grass                                     medicine. She also runs the allergy clinic and uses homeopathy for
pollens in early June will be of benefit if                                  many people with multiple allergic-type problems.
they have had a worsening at that time
the previous year.

10 H&H Spring/Summer 2009

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