(photo credit: Pollen by Lennart Tange on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode)
My daughter texted me from college the other day asking if there is anything stronger than Zyrtec to deal with her seasonal allergies. I’m always coming across articles that offer natural allergy remedies, but, of course, when she asks, I can’t remember any of them.
So off to the internet I went, surfing my way through articles about dealing with seasonal allergies. I was surprised by the breadth of information out there about keeping seasonal allergies at bay.
I have created a list of the top ten tips based on the information I gleaned from several articles on the subject. Now I will have it written down in a known place so if anybody asks me again, I will have an intelligent answer. And since my daughter gets my blog but rarely reads it, I will have a list to send to her, if I ever get over the fact that she doesn’t read my blog religiously.
Top Ten Tips For Dealing With Seasonal Allergies
- Eat With Allergies In Mind: Omega-3s help fight inflammation and can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts and flaxseed oil, as well as grass-fed meat and eggs. To help keep airways clear when pollen counts are high, add a dash of horseradish, chili peppers or hot mustard to your food — all act as natural, temporary decongestants. It’s also a good idea to avoid foods that you’re slightly allergic to until the air clears. Fighting off allergies can render the body hypersensitive to those foods, causing more severe reactions than usual.
- Avoid Peak Pollen Release Times: Don’t take your jog early in the morning during allergy season. Plants release pollen between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., so it’s better to stay inside and avoid the attack. Also, you can check the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s website (link here) to find out the current pollen count in your area. You can also sign up for an allergen report via email.
- Take Probiotics: Allergies are the result of an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to react too strongly to a stimuli. New research links the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut with reduced incidence of allergies. Fermented food like Kombucha and Kefir can help boost gut bacteria as can a high quality probiotic capsule.
- Consider Using These Herbs: One study by Swiss researchers showed that one table of Butterbur extract four times daily was as effective as a popular antihistamine drug in controlling symptoms of hay fever without the traditional drowsiness that sometimes occurs with pharmaceuticals. Nettle leaf is a natural antihistamine that blocks the body’s ability to produce histamine. Either make a tea or use capsules for allergy relief. A tonic made from the herb goldenseal added to a saline nasal spray washes out pollen, reduces or thins mucous and has astringent and local antibacterial properties which can aid in the allergy relief process.
- Seek Out an Acupuncturist: Accupuncture treatment is thought to affect the immune system, where allergic reactions begin. Acupuncture can be particularly useful if you suffer from multiple allergies since it works to quiet the areas of the immune system that are overstimulated by exposure to multiple irritating factors, according to James Dillard, MD.
- Use The Bioflavanoid, Quercetin: A natural plant-derived compound called a bioflavonoid, quercetin helps stabilize mast cells and prevents them from releasing histamine.
- Learn About Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT): In SLIT treatments, patients put drops of a very small dose of the allergen (initially a 1:1,000 dilution) under the tongue for two minutes, then swallow. The daily therapy begins before peak pollen season for seasonal allergy sufferers, but also can be used to treat year-round allergies, though treatment must be specific to the type of allergen. A recent study in the United Kingdom found that patients who used SLIT for two years were nearly seven times less likely to suffer runny noses, and almost three times less likely to experience sneezing, than those who took a placebo. Because an allergy extract has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States, check with your doctor and insurance provider before considering SLIT therapy.
- Gear Your Personal Care Habits Accordingly: Some things you can do to keep allergens to a minimum: Shower and wash your hair before bed to get rid of the daytime pollen that can collect on your body; wear natural fibers since synthetics such as polyester and nylon can create a pollen attracting electrical charge when rubbed; breathe through your nose because it is better designed to filter out foreign bodies than your mouth; avoid secondhand smoke because it exacerbates allergic response.
- Keep Your Home Allergen-Resistant: Invest in a HEPA filter which removes irritating dust and pollens from the indoor environment; keep windows closed at night because pollen is released in the early morning; clean house often to reduce levels of pollen, dust and mold to reduce symptoms.
- Neti Pot and Saline Rinse: Can rinse away pollen grains and help treat allergies. To flush your sinuses, mix a quarter to a half teaspoon of noniodized table salt into a cup of lukewarm water and pour it into the pot. Lean over a sink with your head slightly cocked to one side, then put the spout of the neti into one nostril and allow the water to drain out the other nostril. Use about half of the solution, then repeat on the other side, tilting your head the opposite way. Use your pot about twice a day during allergy season, especially in the morning and after spending time outdoors.
Please don’t take these tips as doctor’s advice. I’ve used some of the tips myself but I am not qualified to tell you what is best for you. Just here to offer some suggestions to explore and consider.
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