Sniff Sniff Hooray! … not. It’s allergy season in the US and for many that can bring a whole-lotta ACHOOS!
From spring to late summer, the birds and bees are relishing in the sweet nectar of pollen but that also means the relentless allergy season preys upon many of us. Nearly 50 million people suffer from allergies in the United States. For some it’s a quick allergy shot or antihistamine solution, unfortunately for many others, allergies may be experienced year-round and are quite the disturbance in everyday tasks.
What are seasonal allergies?
So, what exactly is an allergy and are there natural solutions to relieving this nettlesome issue? An allergy is an immune system response to a foreign substance that's not typically harmful to your body. This is nothing to sneeze at as these foreign culprits are commonly known as allergens and they are all around us. The symptoms of allergies may include a runny nose, skin rash, itchy watery eyes and in some cases may trigger asthma.
For relief, both doctors and natural healers will suggest that you limit or avoid allergens, which are what causes your allergic reaction. Knowing what to avoid is key and a visit to an allergist can help discover exactly what is driving your histamines to flare up.
Next let’s break down common allergens and natural tips to alleviate them when they strike.
What are some common indoor allergens?Allergies to everyday household items are common. These indoor allergens can include:
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Old Mattresses
- Mold spores
There are natural solutions for allergy relief inside your home. Each of these steps are an organic approach to have an allergen-free abode.
Flooring: Carpets are a trap door for dust and allergens. Remove carpeting and use hardwood or linoleum flooring and washable area rugs. If that is not an option, shampoo wall-to-wall carpets periodically.
Bedroom: Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust-mite-proof covers. Heat the dust mites out! Wash your sheets and pillowcases in hot water (130° F) once a week and dry them in a hot dryer; do the same for your duvet cover every other week. Advocates of natural healing suggest using eucalyptus oil as an antimicrobial agent by adding it to each load of wash during allergy season.
Remember to always use quality essential oils. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t oversee the purity, quality, and packaging of essential oils. Test the oils first on unbroken skin, such as your forearm. If you do not have a reaction in 24 hours, it should be safe to use. Test each new essential oil, especially if you’re prone to allergies.
This next step may be problematic for those who love to snuggle with their pets. Allowing pets to sleep on your bed may promote pet dander right where you rest. Let Fido sleep comfortably in their own bed and you can both wake up refreshed in the a.m.
Clutter: Get rid of any items that may cause dust and mold. Keep things simple to breathe better by using an air filtration system. Choose an air filter that has a small-particle or HEPA filter.
Shower before bed: Wherever your day has taken you, don’t bring it into your bedroom. Take a quick shower before bed to rinse off any pollen, dust or allergens and climb into a blissful clean bed.
Get an allergy proof mattress: Your mattress can play a role in whether your allergies act up. Check out this guide from sleep.org of the best mattress for allergies.
Outdoor allergens may include:
- Grass pollens
- Weed pollens
- Fern spores
For natural allergy relief start by cleansing your nose daily. Pollen adheres to our mucus membranes. Try cleansing your nasal passages with a sinus irrigator or nasal oils. Here are some tips on how to safely use nasal irrigation treatments.
Hay fever symptoms (seasonal allergic rhinitis) are often less prominent on rainy, cloudy or windless days because pollen does not move around during these conditions. Pollen tends to travel more with hot, dry and windy weather, which can increase your allergy symptoms.
Watch the pollen and mold count. The National Allergy Bureau™ (NAB™) is the nation’s only pollen and mold counting network certified by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). The NAB compiles pollen and mold levels from certified stations across the nation. You can find counts for your geographic region at www.aaaai.org/nab. If the count is high try to stay inside that day with the air conditioning on and windows closed.
Allergies and the Immune System
It may be possible to alleviate allergies by strengthening your immune system. Let’s explore how your hay fever and immunity are intertwined.
When your immune system sees an allergen, like pollen, as a foreign threat, it creates an immune response to deal with the invader. For most, this may trigger a runny nose, itchy eyes and even hives. The longer the exposure to the allergen, the longer the symptoms may last. By strengthening your immune system daily your body is able to protect itself from these outside agents. Learn more about arming your immunity here.
A variety of foods may help manage allergies and support a healthy immune system. The elderberry is a highly nutritious fruit with many benefits that may provide powerful immune support.* Elderberries can't be eaten raw like blueberries or raspberries; instead, they need to be processed to be consumed. Elderberries are loaded in essential vitamins; A, C, E and more!
Vitamin A often works as an antioxidant, fighting cell damage, and it also has many other uses from supporting bone density to supporting proper functioning of eyes and skin health. Given its beneficial properties, vitamin E has long held assistance as an immunity enhancer by protecting cells from free radical damage.
Vitamin C is one of the most important water-soluble vitamins and essential to our bodies for enhanced antibody production fighting off those pesky allergens.
Another natural remedy includes Omega-3 fatty acids. These may help improve gut health and alleviate bronchial inflammation and allergic disease. Different types of fish, fish oil, nuts/seeds and green leafy vegetables are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Ways to Naturally Relieve AllergiesThere are some immune-supporting ways to help relieve your seasonal allergies. These include:
- Exercise, per your doctor’s advice
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats
- Avoid tobacco and limit alcohol consumption
- Wash hands throughout the day
- Control blood pressure
- Add high antioxidants into your daily supplements like elderberry syrup packed with zinc and vitamin C in just one spoonful. Honey is delicious and powerful too!
- Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night
- Spirulina. A 2015 study source indicated that dietary spirulina — a blue-green algae — demonstrated antiallergic protective effects towards allergic rhinitis.
Take precautions when using home remedies. Don’t use home remedies to treat severe allergic reactions like Anaphylaxis, seek immediate medical attention. Always consult a trusted healthcare provider before trying home remedies for a personalized treatment plan. The best natural relief for allergies is, when possible, avoidance. We hope you find these natural allergy relief tips useful. Make your health a priority, when you feel better, you live better.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.