Hayfever: Stopped by a Red Light
Coinciding with the grass pollen season, every year since the age of 7 or 8 hayfever has been an unwelcome constant of the British summer – more predictable than the weather but never good :). Antihistamines help but it’s no miracle cure.
I get the full range of symptoms so I’ve tried pretty much everything. I’ve therefore learnt to treat complimentary or ‘alternative’ treatments with some skepticism since most seem to make little difference. However, this year it’s been different. At the end of last summer I came across a new treatment, which actually seems to work, and work well.
It uses red light to desensitize the nasal passages, thereby inhibiting the allergic reaction and hence reducing irritation. I got it from my local chemist for the princely sum of £15. Used for 4 minutes morning and night it almost completely relieves my symptoms so for the first time in 40 years I’ve had a summer without antihistamines.
It’s made possible by the availability of high brightness red LEDs. Yet another example of how LEDs are changing our world. We’re familiar with the thermal challenges of using LEDs for lighting purposes, particularly as replacements in existing light fittings where heat previously lost by radiation now has to be removed from the luminaire by convection. If you’re interested in thermal design of LEDs you can check out a recent web seminar on this by Paul Rose and myself here.
Since I’ve ventured to provide medical advice I’m going to sign off with the ‘rap name’ my colleagues bestowed upon me due to my recently spending a lot of time with headphones on to check the recording of the presentation…
Till next time,
Dr. J, Hampton Court
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