7 Natural Remedies to Kiss Your Spring Allergies Goodbye
When the cold weather of winter becomes overwhelmed by warmth and vibrancy, it gives way to spring. What appeared to be dead, comes roaring back to life – blooms, greenery, birds, critters, and all manner of life. Unfortunately, it also means the powerful and sudden release of pollen – leaving millions of people suffering with the unmistakable and dreadful symptoms of springtime allergies.
In pursuit of relief from spring allergies, people often turn to anything that promises to provide a respite from sneezing, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and that terrible foggy feeling that just won’t go away. The problem is that they often turn to the wrong solutions and remedies.
If springtime inflicts havoc on your health each year, it’s imperative that you understand what’s really happening and how you can beat spring allergies in the safest and most natural ways possible. Otherwise, you’ll fail to enjoy the relief you’re seeking – and may actually be doing a long-term disservice to your body.
Getting to the Root Cause of Spring Allergies
Every individual is unique, but the biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen. Everything from trees and grasses to weeds return to life during this season and release specks of pollen into the air to fertilize other plants. But because they’re so small (and can travel so far), they frequently end up in the respiratory systems of people. When they enter the nose of an allergic individual, the body’s defense mechanisms kick in.
As WebMD explains, “The immune system mistakenly sees the pollen as a danger and releases antibodies that attack the allergens. That leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms that are all too familiar if you have allergies.”
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, there are eleven types of trees that commonly trigger springtime allergies (or hay fever): oak, western red cedar, sycamore, maple, elm, birch, ash, cypress, walnut, hickory, and poplar.
While tree pollen is the most common culprit for springtime allergies, mold spores also come into play for many people. Mold spores are abundant from spring through fall, but allergy symptoms tend to peak during the earlier months. Common outdoor molds include Alternaria, Cladosporium, and Hormodendrun. Common indoor molds include Aspergillus and Penicillium. The symptoms are nearly identical to that of tree pollen – sometimes making it difficult to differentiate between the two.
While it seems that the easiest solution to preventing springtime allergies is to avoid living in a neighborhood where trees and other triggers exist, the reality is that pollen often travels for miles at a time before finding its way into your system. Short of living in a sanitary bubble, there’s no way to avoid it.
There are, however, ways to reduce your susceptibility and diminish the severity of symptoms. But as with most health issues, you have options in how you seek treatment and relief.
The Problems With Allergy Medications
When seeking relief from allergy symptoms, most people initially turn to allergy medications. This includes both over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. While they certainly work for some people – in reducing the severity of symptoms, that is – the long-term outlook for continued use of these medications isn’t certain.
It’s been known for a number of years that allergy drugs can have a long-term impact on the human body’s central nervous system. For example, multiple studies show the risk of Alzheimer’s disease is significantly higher for people who regularly consume diphenhydramine or Benadryl.
Another recent study indicates there may be a long-term association between allergy drugs and an increased risk of developing memory loss – especially in older individuals. In most cases, the increased risk is directly tied to high-dosage intake of the drug in question.
For those who have heart issues, the combination of decongestants and high blood pressure can be a big problem – often increasing blood pressure and pulse at the same time.
The list of potential issues with allergy medication goes on and on, but it ultimately comes down to one big problem: drugs that block your body’s natural mechanisms don’t treat the cause of your allergies – they simply mask symptoms.
Antihistamines, for example, are designed to make your immune system unable to produce certain chemicals that make you sneeze. While this sounds great in theory, it actually puts you at a greater risk of contracting other illnesses. (If a pathogen that’s actually dangerous enters your body, your immune system will have trouble properly getting rid of the disease.)
Then there are the side effects that some newer antihistamines are known to cause, including sedation, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, urinary retention, liver failure, and worsening of glaucoma.
In other words, allergy drugs can provide relief, but it typically comes at a cost. If you’re looking for relief that doesn’t come with long-term consequences, you’re better off implementing natural remedies.
7 Natural Remedies to Beat Spring Allergies
Your body’s reaction to springtime pollen and mold is a natural one. Thus, it makes sense to take a natural approach to the underlying causes – rather than just masking the symptoms. As a result, you can enjoy immediate relief without the long-term consequences that come with questionable drugs and risky medications.
Here are some ideas:
1. Give Your House a Deep (Natural) Clean
For starters, you need to clean your house and remove any presence of mold and/or pollen from your living spaces. This will give you a clean slate to work with and provide some initial relief.
If you typically clean your home with commercial cleaning products and harsh chemicals, you may benefit from transitioning to green products. You may even find that you can use basic ingredients like vinegar and water.
2. Keep Your House Clean
It’s not enough to clean your house once. Since pollen can easily be brought in from outside, you need to focus on keeping your house clean during the spring months. It’s also smart to keep windows and doors closed, take off shoes before entering, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, and avoid line-drying clothing outside.
3. Add Cayenne Into Your Diet
Cayenne pepper is known for its pain management properties, but did you know that it can also reduce inflammation in your nasal passages and improve allergy symptoms like sneezing and itching?
There are multiple ways to add cayenne to your diet – including in capsule and tea form – but a cayenne shot with other ingredients like ginger and lemon is a great option.
4. Flush Your Nasal Passages
Perhaps you’ve seen the ridiculous commercials for neti pots, but did you know they actually work pretty well? As opposed to certain remedies that simply mask symptoms, a neti pot – which holds a saline solution and flushes your nostrils – actually removes irritants from your nasal passages. This study shows that it’s particularly beneficial to those suffering from hay fever.
5. Breathe in Eucalyptus Oil
In order to effectively fight off allergies, you need to balance the immune system and inflammation within the body. One of the most natural ways to do this is by diffusing certain essential oils in the air. This will help detoxify the body and fight off harmful toxins and microorganisms.
“They reduce the bodies susceptibility to outside sources and reduce the overreaction of the immune system when it is faced with a harmless intruder,” Dr. Josh Axe explains. “Some exceptional essential oils even work to relieve respiratory conditions and increase sweat and urination — helping with the elimination of toxins.”
The best essential oils for allergies include peppermint, basil, eucalyptus, lemon, and tea tree. You can take these oils internally and topically, but diffusing may offer the best long-term relief.
6. Improve Your Diet
Believe it or not, diet actually has a big impact on how springtime allergies affect you. By adjusting what you eat, you may experience considerable relief.
Foods that commonly make springtime allergy symptoms worse include caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, dairy, peanuts, sugar, wheat, and food preservatives like sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, and artificial sweeteners.
Foods that can help you during allergy season include local raw honey, bone broth, hot and spicy foods, apple cider vinegar, and probiotic-rich foods
7. Sleep With a Humidifier
Seasonal allergies often cause dryness in the nose and sinuses. This can lead to congestion, swelling, and worsening of underlying symptoms. One way to reduce dryness is to sleep with a humidifier in your room.
Humidifiers work by releasing water vapor into the air. This helps moisturize your nasal passages and reduce dryness. As a result, you should suffer less congestion and discomfort.
Take Care of Yourself
At the end of the day, springtime is always going to be a season where allergy sufferers have to be on high alert. But it doesn’t have to be a season where you’re miserable. By making smart, natural choices, you can enjoy significant relief in the short-term, without putting your long-term health at risk. Be smart and healthy!