New hay fever treatment has no side effects, researchers claim

Drugs currently used to ease hay fever symptoms can cause side effects including drowsiness

A woman blows her nose in Godewaersvelde, northern France on May 18, 2013, as the return of pleasant weather marks the arrival of allergenic pollen.
A woman blows her nose in Godewaersvelde, northern France on May 18, 2013, as the return of pleasant weather marks the arrival of allergenic pollen.

While most of us look forward to springtime, for hay fever sufferers it marks the return of debilitating sneezing, runny noses and the irritating side-effects of antihistamines.

Now, researchers claim a simple spray taken up the nose can ease hay fever symptoms without causing side-effects.

The spray comes in the form of a powder containing cellulose - the compound which make up the cell walls of plants.

When the treatment is puffed up the nose, it reacts with the moisture in the nasal cavity to create a gel barrier against the pollen which hay fever suffers are allergic to.

Around 10 million people have hay fever in the England, according to the NHS. Symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, a runny rose, and itchy eyes. Less commonly, sufferers lose their sense of smell, and feel facial pain caused by blocked sinuses.

Researchers behind the puffer claim that by targeting pollen in the nose, it prevents adverse effects caused by antihistamines and corticosteroids which are commonly used to tackle hay fever symptoms.

The spray comes in the form of a powder containing cellulose, the compound which makes up the cell walls of plants.

When the treatment is puffed up the nose, it reacts with the moisture in the nasal cavity to create a gel barrier against the pollen to which hay fever suffers are allergic to.

Around 10 million people have hay fever in the England, according to the NHS. Symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, a runny rose, and itchy eyes. Less commonly, sufferers lose their sense of smell and pain caused by blocked sinuses.

Researchers behind the puffer claim that it prevents adverse effects caused by antihistamines and corticosteroids, which are used to tackle hay fever symptoms.

Side effects of antihistamines include drowsiness, impaired thinking, dry mouth and constipation; while steroids used on a long-term basis can cause weight gain, acne, stomach ulcers, and can make patients vulnerable to infections.

Patients who used the cellulose spray, however, saw a “complete absence of significant adverse effects,” according to Dr Jean Emberlin, co-author of the research and scientific director of charity Allergy UK, the Mail Online reported.

To make their findings, the team gave 108 volunteers treatments to test three times a day.

Some participants were given the powdered spray, while others took a placebo. The results published in the 'International Archives of Allergy and Immunology', showed that participants who used cellulose powder saw the symptoms improve, while those given the placebo saw little or no change.

The cellulose powder used in the trial is already available over the counter as Care Allergy Defence and Nasaleze.

Dr Emberlin concluded that the powder is particularly effective because it lines a large area of the nasal cavity, unlike commons household remedies like rubbing Vaseline around the nostrils.

Dr Pamela Ewan, consultant allergist at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told the website: "This sounds like an interesting study, and certainly an improvement on the old-fashioned remedy of Vaseline."

But she was sceptical at how the powder could stop streaming eyes. “In the patients in the study the hay fever symptoms were very mild, and the focus was on reducing symptoms in the nose. It is thus not clear if this would help itchy, gritty eyes," she said.

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