Sunshine Can Help with Seasonal Allergies

      October 22, 2015 08:18

      Autumn is a season to dread for sufferers of seasonal allergies due to the large daily variations in temperature and moisture level.

      The likelihood of experiencing allergic rhinitis -- a hypersensitive reaction of the nasal passages to antigens such as dust mites, mold and animal fur -- increases by up to 81 percent in those with vitamin D deficiency.

      Symptoms include spasmodic coughing, sneezing, blocked nose, and clear and thin nasal discharge. Other symptoms include itchy eyes and throat, tears, headache and reduced ability to smell. The number of allergic rhinitis patients has increased steadily since the 1960s in tandem with environmental pollution.

      A research team led by Kang Hye-ryun at Seoul National University Hospital, analyzed the relationship between blood levels of vitamin D and allergic rhinitis prevalence in 8,012 people aged 18 or older using the 2009 Korean national health and nutrition data.

      The team found that people with lower levels of vitamin D reported far more episodes of allergic rhinitis. If two people have similar constitutions and vulnerability to allergic rhinitis, the one with lower vitamin D intake is more likely to suffer from the illness.

      "Vitamin D is formed in the body by exposure to the sun, and people who spend most of the time indoors or use a lot of sun screen may lack it," Kang said. "An adequate level of outdoor activity in autumn can help sufferers of allergic rhinitis." At least 20 minutes of activity in the sunshine is recommended each day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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