Hay Fever and Respiratory Exercise

Hay fever, don’t take it literally as it is not a fever and it is not caused by hay. Hay fever is a condition characterized by itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, headache and sore throat. It is similar to the symptoms of influenza. It is called allergic rhinitis as it is caused by allergens such as pollen or molds found in the air and can cause constriction of the breathing airways causing shortness of breath.

There are several ways to manage this condition and relieve the patient of the symptoms such as taking medications like antihistamines and decongestants, nasal sprays and some anti inflammatory medicines.

Preventive measures can also be done like taking allergy shots or what is medically known as immunotherapy. This can help improve symptoms of hay fever.

There is also a method where respiratory exercise is utilized to help deal with hay fever. This is called the Buteyko method or the Buteyko Breathing Technique, this is discovered by the late Ukrainian doctor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko in 1960s. It is a procedure which involves breathing exercises that aids in the balance of carbon dioxide levels in the blood. It mainly focuses on nasal-breathing, breath-holding and relaxation. This is a procedure to manage asthma which can be a complication of hay fever; it is also a therapy for bronchitis and emphysema.

Buteyko method is used to recondition the breathing of patients with hay fever. It helps adjust the breathing volume to normal levels. It also makes the patient aware of correct and proper breathing. It helps unblock the nasal air passage using a simple breath hold technique. It teaches the patient how to correctly switch from mouth breathing to nasal breathing permanently. Breathing through the nose helps the body maintain higher carbon dioxide and nitric oxide in the lungs. Mouth breathing is discouraged as it dries up the airways. During hay fever, the patient tends to hyperventilate or over breathe. This means that the body is taking in more air than the body requires thus leading to loss of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is an essential part for normal body functioning so we must also prevent losing all of it in our system. Though carbon dioxide is known as the waste product of our respiratory system it has its important functions and also a smooth muscle dilator or a bronchodilator. It also transports oxygen to the tissues and a regulator of the PH level of our blood.

This method also induces relaxation to avoid over breathing or hyperventilation.

Normally, Buteyko method is done in the following steps:

1. Inhale

2. Exhale

3. Hold your breath until the first urge to inhale is felt

4. Inhale

5. Hold your breath until your threshold is reached

These steps are done 3 to 5 times a day. It helps the patient control their breathing and practice nasal breathing. This can help patient relieve them of the symptoms of hay fever and also helps them to properly control their breathing.

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