Winter’s finally over, and the sun is warm and bright. If only the story ended there. Sadly, for those 36 million of us (states Discovery Health) dealing with seasonal allergies, a happy ending is just out of sight — obscured by all the sneezing, itchy eyes and coughing. If flurries of snow have been replaced by flurries of pollen, you’ll need these tips for surviving allergy season.
Sinus rinse. Physically removing the inhaled irritants of allergy season can be a top defense in the fight against seasonal allergies. A medical grade saline solution and a neti pot or saline nasal spray can be your best friend when allergens have slowed you down. Rinse the congestion, pollen and airborne irritants right out with a twice-daily sinus irrigation. It’s simple to do, free from nasty drug side effects and very effective, according to the New York Times. Using sinus irrigation not only lessens sinus problems, it also reduces the necessity for allergy medication like steroids.
Local honey. Fight seasonal allergies with locally produced honey. This immunological theory is that eating local honey produced by local bees, feeding off local plants and their pollen, will inoculate the honey consumer against the allergic autoimmune reaction of hay fever brought about by that local pollen. There are no conclusive, scientific studies proving this theory, but many people swear by this sweet treatment. Be aware, though, that honey can pose its own health risks and should not be given to infants, according to the Mayo Clinic. Speak with your doctor to be sure you can try this tip safely.
Irritant avoidance. The best defense against the allergy season wars is avoidance. Keeping the pollen out of your respiratory system will keep the allergic reaction from happening in the first place. This method poses a challenge, as it is difficult to stay indoors, with conditioned air all the time. Whenever possible, use central air and heat. When driving, select the recirculating option on your car’s heat and air conditioning unit.
Shower nightly. Any time you spend outdoors or with the windows open is an opportunity for pollen exposure. If this is something you are dealing with, take a shower at night and wash your hair. Removing the pollen before you go to sleep will keep your contact with pollen to a minimum.
Herbal options. If drug alternatives — as an option to prescription medication — are intriguing to you, the Mayo Clinic has a few recommendations. Allergy season need not handicap your life if you have butterbur supplements. Try the UPA-free butterbur supplements. These are free from toxic substances that may be found in butterbur without this labeling. Stinging nettle, Tinospora cordifolia, cat’s claw, choline, goldenseal, belladonna and bromelain may also reduce the allergic reaction.