Spring has sprung! The days are beginning to get longer, the rain is plentiful, and things that have lain dormant during the long winter months are beginning to grow. Trees are budding, flowers are blooming, and gardens are being planted. This is a time when we are reminded that all things are made new. While most people enjoy the beauty and wondrous scents that are ushered in with spring, many have a love-hate relationship with it.
Seasonal allergies are an issue for approximately 50 million people in the United States. That translates to about 30% of adults, and 40% of children. There is no cure for seasonal allergies, but there are many ways to combat the symptoms.
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies:
• Stuffy nose
• Runny nose
• Watery eyes
• Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
• Poor sleep
Many people go to their primary care physician and receive prescription drugs or over the counter drugs to deal with allergy symptoms. Some allergy medications include Benadryl, Allegra, Singulair, Claritin, and Zyrtec.
For those of us trying to approach health and wellness from a more natural standpoint, there are many options available to deal with these annoying symptoms.
Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies:
• Neti pots-a saline rinse that cleanses the nasal cavity, flushing out allergens and loosening mucus
• Local honey-the honey is pollenated by bees with allergens from your area, and eating a little bit each day seems to help some people increase their tolerance of allergens
• HEPA filters-trap allergens such as pollen, dust, and pet dander inside the home
• Herbal supplements such as nettles, spirulina, goldenseal, eyebright, and butterubur. Stinging nettles work similarly to prescription and over the counter allergy medications without unwanted side effects such as dry mouth and drowsiness by inhibiting histamine production by the body.
• Hot showers or steams to open up nasal passages and allow for drainage of mucus
• Eucalyptus oil to open up airways and nasal passages
• Tea-there are good effects from the heat and steam but benefits don’t stop there. Peppermint tea works like a decongestant and expectorant to break up mucus and get it out of nasal passages. Green tea has antioxidants that inhibit allergic reactions.
• Apple cider vinegar with the “Mother”-reduces mucus production and cleanses the lymphatic system
• Probiotics-allergies are usually an over reaction of the immune system to a stimulus, and new research indicated that healthy gut bacteria can help reduce the incidence of allergies
• Nix the hair spray and hair gel. These act like magnets for pollen.
• Opt for allergy friendly flowers in your garden. In our area these include: periwinkles, irises, begonias, bougainvillea, and for the inside, orchids.
• Pay attention to the pollen count on a daily basis. If you plan ahead, you are going to know when you should do your best to stay indoors. You can get a daily update at AAAAI.org/NAB
So get out there and enjoy the sunshine, soak up some Vitamin D, and may you find success dealing with seasonal allergies.
By: Rachel Clark, RN, BSN