Are your seasonal allergies driving you crazy?
With gorgeous spring weather and the start of softball season, we’ve been spending a ton of time outside - near grass, weeds, and trees. For me, that means a scratchy throat and lots of sneezing. It is NOT fun! If you don’t have seasonal allergies, you are LUCKY, and you might be everyone’s enemy this time of year...
In the past, when my symptoms started I would start popping AllerClear or whatever generic allergy medicine Costco carried...not kidding. But as I continue to pay more attention to what I consume daily, allergy medicine finally crossed my mind.
The truth is, antihistamines and decongestants are really a band aid solution for allergy symptoms. A way to get through the season without having the intensity of allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, they don’t help the immune system so they don’t get to the root of the problem.
Addressing allergies without medication
I wondered how I could manage the annoyance of sneezing and itchy throat without medication. So I did a little research.
What I learned...the best way to avoid allergy symptoms is to avoid allergens. Duh!
But seriously there are some easy lifestyle changes that can help you avoid allergens:
Clean regularly, vacuuming at least once a week
Leave your shoes at the door
Use allergen resistant covers for your mattress and pillow case
Replace furnace filters regularly
Keep your windows and doors closed, especially at night
Avoid spending time outdoors when pollen is highest (between 5 and 10 am)
Change your clothes and shower after spending time outdoors
Ban the use of artificial fragrance in your home (like in cleaning products, scented candles, and air fresheners)
I also learned that there may be a connection between what we eat and seasonal allergies.
What we eat affects allergy symptoms
It makes sense to me…eating healthier makes our bodies, brains…and sinuses…healthier, right?
Turns out, people with Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) have increased allergy symptoms when they eat raw fruits and vegetables that have similar proteins to the pollen they are allergic to. The American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology has more helpful information along with a table of what to avoid based on the kind of pollen you are allergic to.
Health experts also recommend eating a healthy diet. Also, there is evidence that eating foods high in specific vitamins, minerals, and probiotics might be helpful in reducing symptoms. These include Vitamin C and E, bioflavonoids, Omega-3s, and Magnesium.
What other “natural” allergy treatments are out there?
Beyond avoiding allergens and eating healthy, neti pots are also commonly recommended for managing seasonal allergies. Don’t forget to use sterile water and don’t use them every day. (Using a neti pot too frequently may cause a sinus infection due to removing some protective elements of the membranes of the nasal passage and sinuses.)
I also asked members of my Facebook group what they use to help with allergies. I got a lot of suggestions including:
Honey - local and manuka
Apple cider vinegar
Nettle leaf tea
Since I had local honey at home, that’s what I tried first. And it definitely works! It solved my scratchy throat within minutes!
I’ve also been trying to be more consistent with taking daily probiotics. So far my allergies have been pretty bearable, I might even say mild.
If they get bad enough I’ll probably eventually use my neti pot, but I’m not a fan of dripping warm saline water through my nasal cavity. This is definitely a last resort!
How are you managing your seasonal allergies? I’d love to see your suggestions in the comments.
And, if you don’t have allergies, please don’t rub it in!