Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis if you want to sound smart, is a very common condition that affects millions of people every year. You will know you have hay fever when you have itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, and scratching in the throat. Hay fever typically strikes right around the spring season when the conditions are perfect for it: a fresh new bloom, a whole lot of pollen, and warm, humid, and windy weather to spread it around.
Usually, you would treat hay fever with medications such as antihistamines, but have you heard of gin tonic against hay fever? Yes, that’s right- everyone’s favourite alcoholic drink can be used to reduce hay fever symptoms.
While it is a well-known fact that alcohol worsens symptoms of hay fever, gin against hay fever might just be the new hack you need if you love your booze.
According to research conducted by Asthma UK, more than 75% of the people who take alcoholic drinks such as red wine, white wine, and beer reported that their asthma symptoms worsened. Asthma and hay fever are essentially linked since the treatment of both requires limiting the body’s response to allergy triggers.
Here is something not many people know about their favourite alcoholic drink: in addition to containing ethanol, alcoholic drinks also have sulphites– an essential ingredient used by many winemakers and brewers- and histamine, which is a compound released in the body during an allergic reaction. Sulphites and histamine are more common in darker, fermented alcoholic drinks such as beer, brown spirits, and red wine. If you absolutely have to drink alcohol, and you do not want to worsen any allergies, it is a good idea to stick to the clear stuff like spirits such as gin and vodka which have low histamine content. Gin also contains no sulphites unless the brand purposely incorporates them.
So, can you exclusively use gin tonic against hayfever?
Well, not really. If you have a sensitive reaction to pollen during hay fever season, drinking gin and tonic may be helpful in reducing your symptoms, but it is unlikely that it will make them fully stop.
Keep in mind that while clear spirits such as gin may be lower in histamines, they are not completely devoid of them. It is also important to note that the research conducted by Asthma UK focused on asthma sufferers only.
Also, according to Dr Helen Webberly of My Web Doctor, consuming drinks with a low histamine content may not necessarily ease hay fever symptoms anyway since ingesting histamine may not have the same reaction in the body. Therefore, relying on gin tonic against hay fever may not be the best option.
Instead, you can control your symptoms by taking preventive measures such as:
1. Stay indoors whenever possible during hay fever season. This way, you will avoid exposure to allergens like pollen which are floating around outdoors.
2. Apply a small amount of petroleum gel to your nostrils. This will trap pollen and prevent them from getting into your nose.
3. If you have been outside, make sure you shower and change your clothes to get rid of any pollen.
4. Vacuum your home regularly and dust with a damp cloth.
5. When you go out, wear wraparound sunglasses to keep the pollen from getting into your eyes which can cause itching.
6. Invest in a pollen filter for your car so that you can get rid of the pollen that may be trapped in the air vents.
7. If you already have hay fever, there are several ways you can treat it. Use antihistamines which will keep allergic reactions at bay, and corticosteroids to help bring down any inflammation that may occur. You can get nonprescription drugs from your local pharmacy, but if the symptoms are serious, consult your GP.