Allergy season is almost here, and that means many of us will soon be dealing with frequent sneezing and coughing, congestion, runny noses, headaches and watery, itchy eyes. The spring allergy season in the United States usually starts in February and lasts until the summer, thanks to tree and grass pollination. Climate factors that can affect your seasonal allergy symptoms include things like pollen counts and mold growing in areas of high heat and humidity. Rainfalls and warm, windy days can also cause pollen counts to skyrocket, but don’t run off the pharmacy just yet, here are some natural remedies to combat allergy season.
Seasonal allergies (AKA hay fever) can make life miserable, but there are ways to reduce your exposure to those environmental triggers. Staying indoors on dry, windy days can definitely help. Not to mention, avoiding outside chores like gardening and lawn mowing is also a great idea.
You also want to skip the clothesline and dry your clothes indoors, so the pollen in the air doesn’t stick to your laundry. If you must be outside for an extended period of time, throw your clothes in the laundry as soon as you get home and take a shower to wash the pollen out of your hair and skin.
You should also keep the windows closed in your house and car, and use the air conditioning whenever possible. A dehumidifier can also help keep the air inside your home dry, and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter is a must when cleaning your floors.
Even if you take all of these precautions, if your local weather forecast is calling for high pollen counts, it is best to take proper precautions and try natural approaches to alleviate the problem.
Apple cider vinegar
Is there anything apple cider vinegar can’t do? It can be a big part of a healthy diet when added to salad dressings and marinades, but you can also use ACV to clean your bathroom and kitchen and even removes odors from your laundry.
When it comes to seasonal allergies, drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (or mixing it in a cup of hot water with a squirt of honey) can reduce the production of mucus — the sticky stuff that lines your nose, throat and sinuses.
Allergens can make your mucous membranes more productive, and the mucus can contain histamine. This leads to swelling of your nasal passages, and the production of more, thinner mucus that results in a runny nose, sneezing and itching.
Switching to a low-fat, high complex-carbohydrate diet can help reduce allergy symptoms. You want to eat things like leafy, green vegetables, yellow and orange veggies, onions, garlic and ginger. Be sure to avoid alcohol, caffeine, dairy, citrus fruit, sugar, wheat and red meat.
Drinking a lot of water every day is also essential. Naturopathic Physicians recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces on a daily basis. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you would want to drink 100 ounces of water.
Dehydration can heighten allergy symptoms, so drinking more water will make you feel better.
There are multiple supplements that you can buy to help you with your allergy symptoms. Bioflavonoids and vitamin C are natural antihistamines, Bromelain can reduce swelling, and Butterbur (Petadolex) can be just as effective as Zyrtec according to recent studies.
Probiotics can also boost your immune system and you can get those via supplement or through fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles.
Using high-quality herbal medicines at their recommended doses can help with your hay fever. Consider using ginkgo biloba, as it is a bioflavonoid that is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, milk thistle is also very effective and can reduce allergic reactions, and yarrow can help with congestion.
Eyebright is a good solution for sneezing and itchy eyes, and stinging nettles are a natural antihistamine.
You can make tea with any of these herbs to drink throughout the day or place a few drops of tincture under the tongue.
According to a study in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, acupuncture can help with multiple health issues, including allergy symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes. The best part is that many find some relief with just one visit.
Research shows that thirty minutes of aerobic activity can soothe allergy symptoms because it will naturally create an anti-inflammatory effect. When you are working out, the blood flow in your body goes to where it is needed most. Since the blood vessels in your nose aren’t on the top of the list, they will constrict and this eases congestion.
“The effect typically occurs within five minutes of exercise and can last for several hours afterward,” says Michael Benninger, MD, institute chair of the department of otolaryngology at the Cleveland Clinic.
If you must go outdoors to get your exercise, it is best to wait until the afternoon or early evening because pollen levels are usually higher in the morning.