Seasonal allergies can be annoying at best, and for some people allergies dramatically interfere with daily life. Itchy, red eyes, sneezing, congestion and wheezing all make allergies hard to bear. If you're wary of taking medications, there are natural remedies that can ease your allergies.
Why Treat Allergies Naturally?
Many people hesitate to take prescription or over the counter medication and prefer to treat their symptoms naturally. Some medications can cause dependency, and they typically cost more than natural treatments. Plus, if you can treat a problem naturally and avoid the extra cost and hassle of medications, why not try natural treatments?
Regardless of how you treat allergies, avoidance is the most effective method. Obviously we cannot completely avoid seasonal allergens short of locking ourselves up in a climate controlled room. However, there are steps you can take to avoid some allergens. Wear a paper mask when you leave the house or do yard work. Better yet, let your spouse do the yard work during your peak allergy season. Use air conditioners rather than open windows during peak seasons and stay indoors when the pollen counts are high.
Treat Your Home
Keeping your home clean is another effective way to reduce allergy symptoms. You may want to wear a mask while cleaning, as you'll be stirring up all sorts of potential allergens including dust mites, mold, pollen and pet dander. Clean the house regularly with a filtered vacuum and fresh mop. Check air filters and be sure to dust all fans and air vents regularly. If you have an outdoor pet, bathe it often and don't allow it in your bedroom so you can sleep at night. Keep shoes, coats and anything else that goes outdoors in one area to reduce the amount of allergens that enter the house.
Saline Nasal Irrigation
Many people find relief through nasal irrigation using a saline solution. This process involves pouring salt water through the nasal passages, which helps clear them of mucus, pollen and any other inhaled allergen. To irrigate the nasal passages, you'll need a bulb syringe, Neti Pot or spray bottle and some salt water (usually 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of water; use less salt if it stings). Leaning over the sink with your head tilted to the side, pour the salt water into one nostril and let it run out the other. Blow your nose, and then repeat with the other nostril. This should be done nightly.
There are two herbs used to treat allergies: butterbur and goldenseal. Butterbur is the lasted herb ad is undergoing clinical trials in Europe. While the US does not monitor the production of herbs, European countries have found butterbur to be as effective as generic antihistamines. Goldenseal has astringent and antibacterial properties which make it a useful herb as well.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture provides relief for a number of conditions. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into key places of the body. In the case of allergies, acupuncture is thought to stimulate the immune systems response to allergens. Regardless of the treatment method, natural therapy for allergies can be an effective alternative to prescription and over the counter medications. Consider trying natural remedies for your seasonal allergies before you turn to medications.
Photo Credit: Jim Petranka