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An alternative approach to managing hay fever symptoms, thinking particularly about the exam season

It happens every year: summer arrives, and so do exams. How unfortunate for teenagers with hay fever! I’ve recently been reminded of research which shows academic performance can be adversely affected by hay fever (1), and on top of that there’s the anxiety about disturbing others by sniffing or sneezing during the exam. As parents, what can you do to minimise the disruption hay fever causes your child, particularly if you’re someone who’d rather not use anti-histamines or who finds them unsatisfactory? There’s good research which shows homeopathy can provide effective relief from the symptoms of hay fever (2), and it’s still early enough in the season to try something different and see how it works for your child.

There are several ways you can try homeopathic hay fever management: choosing a hay fever combination remedy, choosing a single remedy to match your child’s hay fever symptoms; or visiting a homeopath for tailor-made support. I’ll take you briefly through each of these approaches.

Firstly there are over-the counter hay fever products which are well worth a try, and which are easy to find in health food stores and many pharmacies. These products are made by companies such as Helios, Weleda and A.Vogel and each contain several homeopathic remedies, so the product you buy matches a wide range of symptoms, increasing your chances of a match with your child’s symptoms. Each of the different hay fever products has a different combination of remedies in it, so if one doesn’t work effectively enough with your child’s symptoms then another might well.

Secondly you can buy single homeopathic remedies . There are many which can support the body to minimise hay fever discomfort; each one acts on a particular set of symptoms, so it’s important to find a remedy which matches your child’s hay fever. I remember describing the remedy Arsenicum album to someone who decided it sounded just right for her hay fever, and she got amazing relief! I’m going to give very brief highlights of 3 key remedies you might consider, see here for a fuller list.

Arsenicum album: Streaming from eyes and nose which make cheeks and upper lip red and sore; burning throat; a feeling of anxiety and restlessness and a desire to keep wrapped up warm and sip warm drinks; worse at night time.

Nux vomica: Streaming from eyes and nose during the day, nose stuffed up at night, lots of itchy feelings in ears, eyes and throat etc; lots of sneezing and very irritable. Sensitive to even very small amounts of pollen. Feel worst in the morning.

Pulsatilla: Burning, itching eyes which need rubbing, with a thick yellow discharge or tears. Yellow or clear mucus from nose, headache over eyes; weepy, indecisive, needing sympathy. Feel better with a cold flannel on your face or outside, much worse in a stuffy room and in the evening.

Just by reading these 3 edited highlights I hope you can see the sort of characteristics which homeopaths use to differentiate between remedies. And doesn’t it make sense? I bet you were drawn to one more than the others, and if you can recognise your child’s hay fever in one of those why not give the remedy a go and see what happens? The emotional dimension of each of those remedies – the restless anxiety of Arsenicum, the irritability of Nux vomica and the indecisiveness of Pulsatilla – is a really important characteristic to bear in mind when you’re thinking about selecting a remedy, and you’d expect to see a change there too if you’ve got a good match.

If you found your son’s or daughter’s hay fever didn’t match anything on that list; or you’re also concerned about your child’s sleep, or their anxiety levels, or something else; or maybe you just don’t feel confident in making a remedy choice; whatever the reason, your third and easiest option is to take them to a professional homeopath to get an individualised remedy. The homeopath will ask lots of questions about the hayfever, even when it started, and other more general questions about their likes, dislikes and tendencies. Not only will the homeopath identify a remedy for the hayfever but they’ll also begin the process of unravelling why the hayfever is there in the first place and providemore generalsupport for your child to gently encourage their system to become more balanced.

I usually like to see clients every 4 to 6 weeks to assess how the remedies are working, so there’d be time for a bit of fine tuning before exams, and the opportunity to consider anything else which is concerning them. The homeopathic approach to hayfever management is fundamentally different from the approach adopted by conventional Western medicine, and I’ll go into these differences at a later date. For now, the important points I’d like you to take away from this blog are firstly that homeopathic remedies, when correctly chosen, provide an alternative way of managing hayfever symptoms; and secondly that self-help homeopathy can support symptom relief while visiting a professional homeopath can work more deeply at the same time as relieving symptoms.

About Dorothy
I’m an educator and homeopath with a background in teaching and science, living and working near London. I enjoy working with both individuals and families, and I’m passionate about empowering you to make decisions about your own health.

This information is provided for educational purposes only, it is not a replacement for a consultation with a healthcare professional. It is your responsibility to seek professional advice for all serious injuries or illnesses.


1 eg. Bensnes, SS (2016) You sneeze, you lose: the impact of pollen exposure on cognitive performance in high-stakes high school exams. Journal of Health Economics 49, 1-13

2 eg. : Reilly DT , Taylor MA , McSharry C , Aitchison T (1986); Lancet 2(8512):881-6. Is homoeopathy a placebo response? Controlled trial of homoeopathic potency, with pollen in hayfever as model.