Spring is often characterized as a season of renewal, hope, and rebirth.
Spring is often characterized as a season of renewal, hope, and rebirth. However, for many, it’s also a season of runny noses, itchy and watery eyes. In fact, about 25% of North Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, with the spring season being the biggest offender.
Spring allergies typically happen when your immune system detects a substance, often a windborne pollen, as something dangerous and mounts a defensive response by releasing histamines. Histamines spring into action to try to rid your body of that substance, but the results are annoying symptoms like:
● Watery eyes
● Runny noses
● Scratchy throats
● Congested ears
Birch pollen is a common trigger in the spring, as well as cedar, willow and poplar pollen.
Many people also experience reactions indoors that are triggered by dust, mold, or pet dander.
You might also wonder why some people develop allergies, while others sail through spring unscathed? It’s likely a combination of genetics, physiology, and environment. You’re also more likely to have allergies if you have asthma.
Let’s take a deep dive into some strategies for combating spring allergies the natural way.
It goes without saying that if your allergies are triggered by dust or mold, you should keep a clean home. You also want to be sure you’re eliminating any grass or pollen you’ve tracked in. Some people find they have to wear an N-95 mask when they clean because of the dust they stir up. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter and using a HEPA air filter can help keep your home allergen-free.
An often-overlooked risk of cleaning the home is reactions to cleaning products. Many commonly used products contain chemicals that have been shown to damage lung function. Many studies have found several harmful effects from commercial cleaning agents, and conclude that household products like vinegar, soap, water, vinegar, and baking soda can accomplish as much as their more harmful counterparts.
Here's a simple recipe for an all-purpose natural home cleaning solution:
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)
In a spray bottle, mix together the white vinegar and water. If desired, add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil. Tea tree oil, lavender oil, and lemon oil are all great options for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Shake well to mix all the ingredients together.
Use the natural cleaning solution to clean and disinfect surfaces throughout your home. Simply spray the solution on the surface and wipe clean with a cloth.
This natural cleaning solution is safe, effective, and free of harmful chemicals found in many commercial cleaning products. Plus, the addition of essential oils can leave your home smelling fresh and clean!
Here are a few herbal supplements that are known to help with allergy relief:
● Butterbur: This herb has been used for centuries to treat allergies and asthma. It contains natural antihistamines, which can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and congestion.
● Stinging nettle: This herb is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form or made into a tea to help relieve allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and congestion.
● Licorice root: This herb has natural anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties. It can be taken as a supplement or made into a tea to help relieve symptoms such as coughing and sore throat associated with allergies.
● Ginger: This root has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion and itchy eyes. It can be taken in supplement form or added to food and drinks as a spice.
As with any herbal supplement, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking them, especially if you have any medical conditions or take other medications.
Flushing your nasal passages with saline water can ease allergy symptoms. Be sure to use saline water, not salt water, and work with clean tools.
There are several ways to reap the benefits of essential oils in allergy treatment. Note, however, that some people are allergic to certain oils, so start slowly and make notes on how you feel with each one you try. You can use a diffuser, dab some diluted oil behind your ears, spray diluted oil into the air, or simply breathe in their scent right from the container. Effective oils include:
● Lavender, which works by reducing inflammation in the nasal passages. Try adding some to a warm bath!
● Eucalyptus, which also helps inflamed nasal passages. You’ll notice a welcome cooling sensation when you breathe it in.
● Peppermint also has anti-inflammatory properties
● Frankincense has been used for centuries to reduce asthma and respiratory symptoms.
Probiotics help maintain a good balance of bacteria in your gut, which in turn supports your immune system. Talk with your healthcare practitioner about the right probiotics for you. Eating fermented foods like tempeh, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut can also help maintain a healthy biome in your gut.
A well-rounded diet centered around whole foods helps your immune system and overall well-being. To help combat allergies, be sure to include:
● Plenty of vitamin C, which can reduce your histamine levels.
● Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like nuts and fatty fish, which fight inflammation
● Food that contains bromelain, such as pineapple and mangos. Bromelain has been shown to reduce allergy symptoms.
● Foods high in quercetin, which inhibits histamine production. Good sources of quercetin include broccoli and cauliflower.
It’s also important to pay attention to any foods that cause an allergic reaction or exacerbate other allergies. we can conduct blood tests and other tests to determine this. When you’re experiencing allergy symptoms, keep a detailed diary of anything you consume to help narrow the cause.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, allergies are caused by an imbalance in the body's energy flow or "qi". Acupuncture helps to rebalance this energy and boost the immune system, leading to a reduction in allergy symptoms. Additionally, acupuncture is a safe and drug-free option for those looking for natural solutions to allergy relief.
Exercise can increase circulation in your lungs and nasal passages, which can help with congestion and drainage. However, exercising outdoors can trigger seasonal allergies, so you may have to stick to indoor workouts for the season. Alternatively, stick to morning or evening activities which often carry the smallest risk since the dew can weigh down pollen. And, be sure to shower and wash your clothes after exercising outdoors, since you may be carrying pollen!
You don’t have to suffer with terrible allergy symptoms this spring! A few simple steps can reduce your symptoms and help you get back to enjoying the nice weather outdoors.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Allergies” https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm
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