The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and – “achoo!” – spring allergy sufferers are suffering. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, nearly 8% of American adults suffer from seasonal allergies, or hay fever. This amounts to millions of adults and children suffering from a runny nose, itchy eyes, and other allergy symptoms in the spring, summer, and fall. Though there are over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications available, the side effects can be disruptive or even dangerous for some people. Try these natural remedies to reduce your allergy symptoms this spring.
Natural Relief from Spring Allergy Symptoms
Allergies are caused when your immune system overreacts to a typically harmless foreign substance, such as pollen. In the spring, when many flowers, trees, and grasses begin to bloom all at once, the levels of pollen in the air rise quickly, triggering allergy symptoms. Fortunately there are some ways to reduce your exposure and reduce your symptoms.
Avoid Pollen When Possible
Short of staying inside all the time, you can’t avoid all pollen exposure in the spring. However, you can reduce your exposure during high-pollen times. These include:
- Nights and early mornings
- Dry, windy days
- When someone nearby is mowing lawn
- When local officials post high pollen warnings
Staying inside with the windows closed during these times can help minimize your exposure to the worst of the allergens, and reduce your symptoms.
However, when you do go outside, you should be aware that pollen is in the air. It’s a good idea to change your clothes and shower when you return indoors, before you go to bed at night. Pollen can stick in your hair, so be sure to wash that, too. Don’t hang your laundry outside to dry during pollen season. If you are doing outdoor chores or pollen counts are high, consider wearing a pollen-filtering mask.
Keep Things Clean
Pollen can blow in through open windows to your car and house. Keeping windows closed can minimize this, and this is especially important in the bedroom. Air conditioning and air filters will help cleanse the air in your home to remove allergens. Be sure to change and clean the filters according to manufacturer instructions for maximum benefit. HEPA filters are especially recommended in your air filters and your vacuum for their superior ability to remove most allergens from the air. Regular vacuuming can also help remove irritating allergens from your carpets. If you have an upholstery attachment, vacuuming your furniture can also be beneficial, or you can use washable slipcovers that you clean regularly. You should also change your sheets frequently during allergy season.
Clean Your Sinuses
Many allergens enter your body through your nose as you breathe. Here they can sit, causing the nasal symptoms that plague allergy sufferers. You can clean your nasal passages and sinuses by using a squeeze bottle or neti pot filled with a saline solution. If used properly, this can cleanse your nasal passages of the allergens, relieving congestion. Similarly, if you suffer from itchy eyes, saline eye drops can help flush the allergen, allowing you to see clearly again.
Other Things to Try
Allergies can vary widely between people, and so can remedies. While science can’t always agree on how well some of these treatment work, there is enough anecdotal evidence that you may want to give it a try. Consult your doctor if you have any underlying health issues or are taking medications that may be affected by consuming any of these products. ·
- Butterbur extract, an herb obtained from a European shrub
- Quercetin, found in onions, apples, and black tea
- Spirulina (dried algae)
- Freeze-dried stinging nettle leaves
- Local honey – be especially careful of this if you have a bee allergy, and remember children under the age of 1 should never consume honey
There is also evidence to suggest acupuncture can be effective for seasonal allergy sufferers.
Seasonal allergies can seriously impact your life, and causes the loss of 4 million workdays each year. Trying to avoid pollen by staying indoors when levels are high and cleaning the air and surfaces in your home can improve your symptoms, and other natural remedies show promise in improving the lives of the millions of people sneezing this spring.
This material is for informational purposes only. Speak with a medical professional before starting or changing anything in regards to healthcare.