The months between March and May are filled with the cheerful warmth of spring, however, the blossoming of budding plants also means the increase of pollen in the air. Pollen (from trees, grass, and weeds) is the most common allergen to aggravate the body’s defenses: a release of histamines that causes the uncomfortable symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. The most common, yet overlooked, disease in America, allergies, sometimes known as hay fever, affect 30% of adults and 40% of children. Most people that suffer from indoor and outdoor allergies are set off by more than one allergen (other common triggers include mold spores and dust mites).
This hay fever is made worse by warm, dry, and especially breezy weather, such as those found in the Midwestern and Northeastern regions of the United States. Cities in New York, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas are among those with the best conditions for allergic reactions to thrive. While some opt for pharmaceutical treatments to remedy the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery, or dry eyes, there are some that find comfort in the organic methods that are free of side-effects and warning labels. Here are 10 natural fixes to help prevent and ease springtime allergies:
- Wash away the pollen:
When you are outside, you expose yourself to pollen and dust that can cling onto you and your clothes. Changing and washing those clothes once you get back inside is one way to ensure that pollen doesn’t brush off and stick to other objects around your home, further irritating your allergies.
Inhaling steam not only moistens dry nasal passages, but also clears out mucus build up. This can be done in a hot shower or with an air humidifier, but the easiest and probably quickest way is to pour boiling water into a bowl and inhale deeply with a towel over your head.
- Eucalyptus oil:
Adding a few drops of this oil to the bowl in the previous remedy can have a great impact. The strong-menthol like sensation that comes from inhaling the vapor of eucalyptus oil (which has been suggested to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties) can further aid in clearing your sinuses and nasal passages.
- Local honey:
While not backed by any scientific evidence, eating fresh, local honey could ease the suffering of seasonal allergies. The theory is that bees transfer pollen to honey, and consuming it could immunize yourself against the irritating symptoms that occur from coming into contact with pollen.
- Apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar has a reputation for aiding almost anything: acid reflux, blood pressure, diabetes, and weight loss. Adding 2 tablespoons of this to some hot water can make an all natural tea that cleanses the lymphatic system and reduces mucus. The strong flavor can be made less potent with some lemon juice and honey.
- Rethink your diet:
Your pesky allergies can be reduced by consuming essential fatty acids, such as those found in organic flax seed and hemp seed oil. Foods that cause mucus and congestion such as dairy products and processed wheat and sugar can worsen allergies, so avoiding them is a good way to lessen symptoms.
- Neti pot and saline solution:
A treatment that directly targets pollen and other allergens in your sinuses, a neti pot is a quick way to rinse out mucus. Fill the pot with a mixture of salt and water (you can make your own or buy kits), tilt your head and pour the solution into one nostril until it comes out the other. Repeating the process with the other nostril, you end up with cleared nasal passages. Be sure to use boiled or distilled water only.
- Invest in bedding
Buying high-quality, allergy-free bedding for your mattress, box spring, and pillows is a nonconscious way to fight your allergies. In addition to this, wash your bedding and sheets at least once a week to prevent build-up of bacteria and to kill dust mites.
- Non-toxic cleaning products
Most store-bought cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that are known to agitate allergies. Organic, non-toxic cleansers are safer and aren’t exposing you to allergy-inducing agents.
- Protect yourself while gardening:
Allergies shouldn’t be a reason to keep you stuck indoors during one of the nicest times of the year. Wearing a mask while doing yard work can keep pollen out of your system, and if that’s too extreme, simply work around the weather. Pollen levels are at their highest from 5am to 10am, so plan to go outside after that time period has passed. Consistently checking pollen levels in your area is a good way to help keep your allergies in check.
Although seasonal allergies can be bothersome and draining to manage, symptoms can easily be put to rest with the help of these natural tips, and without the alarming side effects of prescription medicines: ask your doctor for even more details on how to stay allergy-free this spring. If your condition persists or becomes severe, be sure to see your physician.
Source: Globalhealingcenter.com, Health.com, aafa.org, webmd.com
Image Credit: Poolmaninc.com