According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, more than 25 million Americans experience allergic rhinitis, known to us non-doctor folk as spring allergies or hay fever.
One of the most common ways people treat their allergies is by reaching for over-the-counter medication. Unfortunately, many of these have side effects including drowsiness, which have really negative impacts on a person’s day. Who has time to be in an allergy medicine coma when a report needs finishing at work or the kids need to be picked up from school?
This is why, more than ever, people are seeking out natural remedies for their spring allergies. From CBD tinctures to nasal irrigation, this article will explore nine allergy prevention strategies and treatments so you can enjoy spring like everyone else – without the side effects.
- Butterbur: A member of the daisy family, this plant has been a useful one to people for a very long time. Butterbur gets its name from when people used its broad, soft leaves to wrap butter. But more recently, it has been researched for its effectiveness in treating allergies naturally. In a randomized, double-blind, parallel group comparison between butterbur and a popular antihistamine pharmaceutical, the researchers concluded that the effects of butterbur were similar to the antihistamine with the added benefit of no drowsiness!
- Healthy Eating and Proper Hydration: Eating well and getting enough liquids will always be a great way to help alleviate allergies and be a top prevention tool to ensure they don’t get too bad. Why? By eating a diet that works for you and your body – free of foods that you know yourself to be allergic to or have sensitivities to – you’ll be promoting a better immune system and overall homeostasis. You can also help your body by using supplements like CBD products that are known to help in this area. In addition to that, making sure you’re staying well hydrated will help regulate histamine overproduction in your body, which can impact allergies as well as the production of other hormones.
- HEPA Filters: High-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters are going to help pull tiny particulates out of the air in your home and trap them so they don’t make their way into your body and sinuses. There are a few ways you can introduce HEPA filters into your life and we recommend all of them. You can purchase air purifiers with HEPA filters and place them in rooms where you spend a lot of time – like your bedroom, living room or even office. And you can add furnace filters with HEPA ratings and even HEPA filter vent covers to your heating/cooling systems to make sure that circulating air is thoroughly cleaned. Lastly, look for vacuums that make use of HEPA filters so that when you clean, everything is staying trapped for proper disposal and not getting blown back into the air.
- Shut the Windows: When the weather is nice, especially after winter for those of us that get hit hard, it’s really nice to open the windows and get some of that fresh air circulating in our homes. However, depending on the levels of pollen, other allergens and even pollution in the air, you may be doing more harm than good. Consider downloading an app or two to help you track air quality and allergen levels in the air. This way, you know when it’s okay to pop open those windows for some fresh air but can seal them back up when necessary.
- Acupuncture: By now, most of us are probably familiar with this traditional Chinese medicine that many healthcare practitioners are recommending as a complementary therapy. It involves using thin needles to prick the skin at strategic points on the body. Many will associate acupuncture with pain relief, but it is also being used to provide relief from other issues, including allergies! Researchers are constantly investigating acupuncture for its popularity in providing allergy relief and, while more research is recommended, it continues to be used regularly by folks across the U.S., Europe and East Asia to find relief.
- Wear a Mask: Many of us with spring allergies want to spend time outdoors in the nicer weather, but instead remain trapped indoors because of the potential chaos that just breathing the air will have on our systems. Wearing a mask is a great solution, as it allows you to bring a portable air filter with you anywhere you go. Try to use N95 masks which offer the best filtration and ensure that they cover your nose, mouth and chin with a tight seal. If you wear glasses and get annoyed at them fogging up when you wear a mask, use a couple pieces of medical tape at the top of your mask where your glasses sit to stop air from escaping and causing you grief.
- Nasal Flush/Rinse: This involves using a saline solution to rinse out your nasal passages on a daily basis during allergy season. It has been investigated by researchers and shown to be a great complementary treatment for allergy sufferers with no side effects. A popular tool to use is a neti pot that will allow you to flush debris and mucus from your nasal passages. If you’re making your own solution, be sure to use bottled water that is distilled and sterilized to avoid introducing any dangerous parasites into your system.
- Shower More: This may seem a little silly but hear us out because it’s especially important if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors. During allergy season, there is a lot of pollen in the air. This can attach itself to your clothing and even your skin and hair. You’ll be carrying that indoors with you and spreading it around your home. Change out of your clothes and put them directly into the hamper – or better yet washer – and jump in the shower for a quick rinse and hair wash. By doing so, you’ll be removing allergens from your body’s surface and preventing those same invaders from getting around your house.
- Avoid Strong Scents/Chemicals: These come in all forms, from perfumes and colognes to beauty products like hand creams to cleaning products. You might find many of them quite nice and thoroughly enjoyable. However, their strong scents can further aggravate already beleaguered sinuses and cause further grief. You may find that you tolerate them just fine at other times of year, and that’s great. But during allergy season, it’s best to opt for some scent-free choices and avoid anything too potent.
Know Your Triggers – Get an Allergy Test!
One final note about allergies: It is to your advantage to know your triggers so get tested! There are many different plants that come alive in springtime, but do so over the course of a few months. You might not be triggered by everything. Getting an allergy test will help you plan better for when you need to kick your prevention methods into high gear and prepare those treatments should your allergies get the best of you. An allergy test may also reveal more minor triggers that, when controlled, make your life a lot easier as well.