Hay fever: Can sex improve your runny nose and sore throat? Doctor weighs in

Doctor Hilary on the difference between covid and hay fever

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Hay fever might feel worse than ever before this summer. According to experts, social distancing is the reason for this. Staying indoors has prevented us from being exposed to pollen and reduced our level of immunity to it. It can be tempting then to seek out an immediate fix for your hay fever especially if your antihistamines don’t seem to be working. One of the recommendations out there is to have sex.

The advice has been circulating online based on a 2008 study that found sex and ejaculation could reduce nasal congestion.

So, how true is the claim?

The study, conducted by Sina Zarrintan from Tabriz University in Iran suggests that male ejaculation has the potential to alleviate the symptoms in a similar way to anti-allergy nasal sprays.

It explains that a runny nose is caused when the blood vessels in the nose expand due to high levels of pollen. Nasal sprays and, reportedly, male ejaculation have the effect of narrowing the vessels and thus unblocking your nose.

The study even recommends that “the patient can adjust the number of intercourses depending on the severity of the symptoms”.

But according to Doctor Ooi, while a bit of hanky panky might distract you from the sniffles, it won’t cure you of the condition.

She told Express.co.uk: “The typical hay fever symptoms are a runny nose, sneezing, puffy itchy eyes, and congestion.

“Sadly, having sex cannot treat these symptoms. It may give you temporary relief as it provides distraction and pleasure but it isn’t a cure!”

Another study came out shortly after Zarrintan’s in the same research journal titled: “Ejaculation as a treatment for nasal congestion in men is inconvenient, unreliable and potentially hazardous.”

Doctor Ooi of the London-based MyHealthcare Clinic instead went on to recommend an anti-hay fever approach called triple therapy – a mix of nasal spray, antihistamines, and eye drops.

She added: “Every year, new unorthodox methods of dealing with hay fever seem to dominate social media.

“It might be tempting to try potential new solutions, especially if your hay fever symptoms don’t seem to subside with standard antihistamine tablets, but many of these aren’t backed up by science.

“Simple methods such as dabbing a little vaseline under the nose, quitting smoking, and keeping pets clean can go a long way to keeping allergies at bay.

“If you have ongoing symptoms please see your GP as there are prescription medications that can help as well.”

The doctor also went on to debunk some other popular myths about hay fever treatment – including using honey.

“Honey is useful when you have a cold as it is anti-inflammatory, and I can see why people might think it would work for hay fever too.

“Unfortunately, while it might soothe a tickly and other mucus membranes, it won’t go far in saving you from pollen and other irritants completely.”

She also targeted a TikTok trend in which hay fever sufferers stuff raw garlic up their nostrils.

When the garlic is removed in the videos, so too is snot.

Doctor Ooi explained that the method irritates the inside of the nose, causing more mucus to form, which is trapped by the garlic plug.

She continues: “Not only does this not work, with anything that goes up your nose, it could get stuck. It could also cause dermatitis by inflaming the skin.”

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