In spring especially, allergies can wreak havoc on your day-to-day. Rather than sneezing your way through the season, it may be worth trying a few natural remedies to keep allergies at bay. There are a few simple habits that may make a big difference, like bathing before bed or keeping the windows closed. While some suggestions may seem straightforward, like using an air filter or dusting, others may come as a surprise. For instance, receiving acupuncture and eating onions may have a positive impact on your allergies, too. Read on to discover what you can do about those pesky seasonal allergies.
Use A Neti Pot
Neti pots are containers designed to pour a solution into one nostril so that it drains out of the other. The process essentially rinses debris and mucus out of the nasal cavity, eliminating allergens that may be lingering in your nose.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology suggests mixing 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of sterile water, and 1/3 a teaspoon of baking soda. Pour the solution into the neti pot and allow it to drain through one nostril and out the other while breathing through your mouth.
Eat Local Honey
One of the leading causes of seasonal allergies is a sensitivity to pollen, leading to increased symptoms in spring. That's why some suggest consuming local honey, which may contain trace amounts of pollen from the area.
Though more research is needed, one study in Malaysia found that consuming high amounts of honey did have a positive impact on allergies. Another option is to take bee pollen supplements. Exposing the body to this pollen may help build its resistance to allergens, resulting in fewer symptoms over time.
Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a home remedy that has stood the test of time. Many swear that consuming the raw/organic version has positive impacts on their immune system and decreases their allergy symptoms by breaking up mucus.
While research has proven that apple cider vinegar may have anti-inflammatory effects, more studies need to be done to analyze its potential impact on allergies. To give the natural remedy a try, mix 1-2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water and consume the solution three times a day.
A scientific review published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences found that multiple studies show that probiotics have a positive impact on allergies. Such studies reveal that probiotics may be an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis and may result in reduced symptoms.
These days, probiotics are available in an array of foods and supplements. Whether its a part of your daily vitamin regimen or infused in your favorite snack, consuming probiotics regularly may be helpful to those with allergies.
Keep The Windows Closed
One simple yet effective way to help reduce allergies is to keep the windows closed. It may be tempting to open up the windows to let in some fresh air, but doing so can also being in a mass of allergens.
That's why it's also important to keep the house as clean as possible. Each time you enter or exit the house, you bring allergens from outside in with you. Doing a light dusting a few times a week can make a big difference in reducing allergy symptoms at home.
Dust With Natural Cleaning Aids
The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology states that while regular cleaning can help reduce allergy symptoms, the products you use may aggravate these very symptoms, too! The problem is that many cleaning agents are made with harsh chemicals.
That's why cleaning with natural products like salt, vinegar, and baking soda can be of use. Using these substances can help ensure that you aren't breathing in agents that irritate the nasal cavity while you clean.
Use An Air Filter
One way to keep the air in your home free of allergens is to invest in a high-quality air filter. HEPA filters, for example, claim to capture 99.97% of air particles that include allergens, dust, pet dander, and more.
The HEPA filter's ability to trap very small particles also makes them capable of sanitizing the air, according to the product's website. Filtering the air can also lessen the amount of cleaning you need to do, saving you time and money.
Bathe Before Bed
While many of us enjoy waking up to a morning shower, it may be worth considering bathing before bed. The reason is that we collect allergens on our hair and skin throughout the day and then drag that into the bed.
As time goes on, there may be a buildup of allergens in the bed that worsen symptoms at night. Taking a shower or bath before bed helps to ensure that any lingering allergens don't make it into the sheets.
Put Essential Oils Under Your Nostrils
One way to clear the sinuses is through the use of essential oils. These highly concentrated oils offer herbal relief to allergy symptoms along with a lovely, calming scent. Peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender are just a few examples of a variety of oils that may soothe and open the nasal cavity.
Use your fingertips to apply the oil directly to the area around your nostrils, or rub the oil into your palms and cup your hands around your nose and mouth to breathe it in.
Eat Spicy Foods
Similar to essential oils, spicy foods have a way of opening up the sinuses and loosening congestion. Another bonus is that certain spices have a host of health benefits such as combating inflammation, aiding blood flow, and providing antioxidants.
For best results consume food that is both spicy and hot in temperature, such as curry. These foods not only will open up your nasal passages but will also fill them will soothing steam.
Breathe In Steam
Steam is a wonderful way to soothe a triggered nasal cavity. Not only does the steam fill the nasal passages with moisture, but in doing so it also flushes out allergen-containing mucus. As we mentioned previously, consuming hot foods is one way to breathe in steam.
Hot tea can provide steam along with helpful herb and spice compounds. A hot bath or shower can also do the trick. Alternatively, you can fill a bowl with hot water and lean your face over it for a steam facial. Add a few drops of essential oils in for a complete spa treatment.
Go Out When It's Lightly Raining
Rain and allergies have a complex relationship. In light rainfall, the moisture weighs down on allergens, cleansing the air and providing relief to some sufferers. In a hard downpour, the rain can make allergens worse by causing pollen particles to burst and become more prevalent.
For those who have seasonal allergies, it may be best to head outdoors when the rain is light or has just settled. This way, you'll be breathing in air that has the least chance of being full of pollen.
Keep A Nasal Spray On Hand
Nasal sprays can be an incredible solution to allergies because, unlike antihistamine pills, they deliver the medication directly to the area being affected. There are both prescription and over-the-counter nasal sprays, but the right place to start may be with a saline spray.
These saltwater sprays don't have any side effects because they are all-natural, and they work by softening mucus. Keeping one one-hand and using it regularly may help mitigate the problem before it gets to the point of needing a more robust alternative.
Paying someone to poke needles into your skin may sound like a sick joke, but acupuncture is an ancient practice used for a variety of health problems, including allergies. How it works is that needles are inserted at certain points to direct the flow of energy towards a certain ailment.
Though studies have had inconclusive results regarding the effectiveness of acupuncture on allergies, many believe in the practice that's stood the test of time. Scientific evidence does hint at acupuncture's effectiveness at pain relief, so it may be worth a try when it comes to allergies.
WebMD reports that when the body is in a state of stress, it releases chemicals including histamine. This increased presence of histamine in your system can cause allergy symptoms to worsen.
That's why it's important to try to remain as calm as possible, especially when experiencing allergy symptoms. Activities like meditation, yoga, going for a walk, reading, or listening to calming music can be effective at keeping stress levels low, especially when they are combined.
WebMD reports that children who consume more fruits, vegetables, and nuts tend to have fewer allergies. One reason may be that a healthy diet encourages the body to perform optimally and release harmful toxins.
To keep the body performing at its best, try to avoid sugar and drinking too much. Doing so will give your liver a break so that it can focus on eliminating other toxins in the body. Drinking tons of water is another great way to keep your body cleansed of allergens, and it can also thin your mucus and prevent congestion.
Cook With Tumeric
Tumeric is known for its impressive anti-inflammatory properties, which may help calm irritated nasal passages. One study conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin concluded that curcumin-- the anti-inflammatory property found in Tumeric-- prevented allergy symptoms by inhibiting the release of histamine.
Furthermore, researchers have found that black pepper may increase curcumin's effectiveness. That means that cooking with a heavy dose of both Tumeric and black pepper may be a helpful aid when combating allergies.
Get Your Daily Dose Of Omega-3
A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a high content of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with decreased risk of allergic rhinitis. Another study from 2019 found that omega-3 helped reduce the narrowing of airways resulting from seasonal allergies.
To reap these benefits, consume at least 8 ounces of fish that's rich in omega-3s, such as salmon or tuna, each week. Another option is to take a daily supplement of omega-3, which is typically available at the grocery store or pharmacy.
Tomatoes have two compounds that make them great at fighting allergy symptoms: vitamin C and lycopene. A study published by Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research found that consuming foods rich in vitamin C helped to decrease allergic rhinitis.
Lycopene, on the other hand, has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that may assist during allergy season. Interestingly, the body tends to absorb lycopene from cooked foods better, so it may be wise to grill up your tomatoes before ingesting them.
Consume More Onions
It may come as a surprise that eating onions could help alleviate allergy symptoms. Aside from possibly loosening your mucus by making you cry, onions may reduce your levels of histamine. That's because they are packed with quercetin, a natural antihistamine.
Red onions have the highest content of quercetin, but unlike lycopene in tomatoes, the concentration is reduced in cooked foods. For best results, incorporate some raw, red onions into your diet. They also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components that may further help with allergies.