Got seasonal allergies? So do we!
Tulsa ranked 16th and Oklahoma City 9th out of 100 of the most challenging cities in the US for allergies. I didn't have any allergies growing up, but sometime in my mid-twenties I had developed seasonal allergies living in the same place I had grown up, the northeast. Early spring is the worst for me, but for many, allergies are year-round.
Here are just a few ways to help keep your allergies at bay naturally. As always, these are not meant to replace any current treatments, but taking an integrative approach can be included as part of your prevention or treatment. You should always consult your doctor and see a specialist to determine the cause of your allergy symptoms.
- Shut out breezes. When the weather gets nicer and the pollen count is high, keep windows and doors closed to protect your indoor air. You can also install filters on your air conditioning and furnace systems.
- When you come inside from being out, take a shower and change your clothes to wash away any allergens. Every time you step outside, you bring in particles from everywhere you’ve been inside. Leave your shoes at the door too!
- Wear a mask to keep allergens from getting into your airways. This is now our new normal, so should be much easier for allergy sufferers ro follow.
- Eat healthy. Many studies have shown a correlation to eating healthy and fewer allergy symptoms. In one particular study in children, they found children who ate lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts, especially grapes, apples, oranges, and tomatoes, had fewer allergy symptoms.
- Rinse it out. A nasal rinse cleans mucus from your nose and can ease allergy symptoms there.
- Drink more, If you feel stuffy or have post-nasal drip from your allergies, sip more water, juice, or other non-alcoholic drinks. The extra liquid can thin the mucus in your nasal passages and give you some relief. Warm fluids like teas, broth, or soup have the added benefit of steam:-)
- Go natural. Keep your home clean. It's one of the best ways to avoid indoor allergens. Harsh chemicals can irritate your nasal passages and aggravate your symptoms. There are many recipes out there for natural cleaners with vinegar and baking soda. These won’t kill viruses, but are a great alternative to daily cleaning solutions. Also, use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter to trap allergens.
- Get Steamy: Inhale some steam. This simple trick can ease a stuffy nose and help you breathe easier.
- Avoid irritants like smoke. Smoke from a fireplace, cigarettes, and aerosol sprays can worsen your runny, itchy nose and watery eyes.
- Manage Stress. Stress hormones wreak havoc in the body and especially in the immune system, making seasonal allergies even worse.
- Include antihistamine foods into your diet. Quercetin is a nutrient found in onions, apples, and black tea that research has shown to block the release of histamines. Spirulina, a type of dried algae has shown to help too. Turmeric, ginger, and tomatoes contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve some allergy symptoms. Speak to your doctor before trying alternative treatments.
- Take local honey. The theory behind eating local raw honey is called immunotherapy. When a person eats local honey, they are thought to be ingesting local pollen. Over time, a person may become less sensitive to this pollen. As a result, they may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms. This theory has not been proven and there is very little scientific evidence that supports honey has said immunotherapy effects. However, it is one of the healing foods mentioned in the Quran (the holy book for Muslims and the Sunnah, supporting materials). If you are a believer, as I am, I would take honey with the sheer knowledge that scientists have yet to unlock the infinite blessings and healing power of honey.
- Know your triggers. You may think you know what the problem is, but are you sure? Make an appointment with an allergist to pinpoint your triggers. Then, you can make a plan to avoid them, if possible, and come up with a long-term plan with your doctor.
Sources: Harvard.edu, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, clevelandclinic.org