After a long, cold, brutal winter many of us are very welcoming to blooming flowers, trees and grasses, that is, unless you suffer from allergies. Unfortunately this year is predicted to be the worst year ever for allergy sufferers…talk about unfair, huh?! Blurry, itchy eyes, sneezing and a runny nose are just a few of the symptoms to look forward to. Many of us turn to over-the-counter anti-histamines and nose sprays which can eliminate those pesky primary symptoms. But, did you know that working hard to avoid allergens all together can be really beneficial to your health and help ward off those secondary allergy symptoms like bronchial irritation, swollen ear drums and asthma? Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself against spring allergies.
This handy little pot is excellent for allergies! When you use a Nettie Pot you are essentially flushing out your sinuses with a natural saline solutions, which means you are getting rid of all those pesky spores and mites that are making your miserable. To use, fill the Nettie Pot with a pre-mixed saline solutions (available at most drug stores), lean over the sink and put the spout in one of your nostrils. When you tip the liquid into your nose it will go up one side and flush out the other. Many doctors recommend panting when you do this because it will keep the liquid from draining out the back of your nose into your throat. The Nettie Pot is safe to use every day, or several times a day during high allergy season.
After living with the windows closed all winter many of us can’t wait to let in fresh air in the spring. However, this is a great way to introduce outside allergens into your home so I recommend using a high quality air purifier to keep you breathing easier. Make sure to keep your bedroom windows closed at all times during allergy season, though. Once those allergens get in they can make their home in your mattress, carpets, headboards, blankets and anywhere that is soft and plush. Houseplants like Aloe Vera, the Rubber Tree, a Peace Lily, a Snake Plant, Bamboo Palm and Spider Plant have been shown by NASA to be excellent natural air purifiers!
Whether it’s your sheets, your hair or your favorite sweatshirt it is important to keep things clean during allergy season. Change your sheets 2-3 times a week if possible and avoid hanging them outside to dry. It is also a good idea to shower before you go to bed whenever possible to wash off any allergens you may track into your bed with you. Your hair is the number one culprit for hiding allergens so I recommend rinsing it off as much as possible. You could also wrap your hair in a scarf or tuck it up in a hat when you are outside to help keep it clean.
This is a tough one for many allergy sufferers. It is finally nice enough outside to take a bike ride or hike through the woods, but if you can bear it, stay indoors as much as possible during high pollen days, especially if it is windy! Blustery days whip around allergens that on calm days may not bother you as much so it is important to be cautious.
Honey can be highly beneficial for your seasonal allergies! Bees eat pollen in order to make honey and when you eat the honey it’s like you are getting a natural allergy shot. The trick is that you have to eat local honey. This is because different parts of the country have different types of allergens: ragweed, pollen, mold, dust, dander, etc. are not distributed evenly by geographical location. So, if you eat local honey the bees will have fed on local pollen, the same pollen that may be making you sick. Many food co-ops, farmers markets and apple orchards stock up on local honey so pick up a jar and get snacking!
Doing your best to protect yourself against allergens can mean the difference between enjoying spring and being miserable. Allergies are no fun for anyone but can be especially annoying when they turn into colds, bronchitis or full-blown asthma. Depending on your sensitivity to allergens you may need to see a specialist but if you take the precautions outlined above you may be lucky enough to avoid your allergy symptoms all together!