Manage Your Seasonal Allergies Naturally With These 8 Tips
Updated: Jan 23
Here in the Pacific Northwest outdoor activities are part of life and the reason why many people live or move here. We have beautiful mountains, lakes, and rivers where people enjoy fishing, skiing, hiking and camping. Our warm summers are perfect for being outdoors and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. Being outside is a way of life here and seasonal allergies can make this nearly impossible. Keep reading to find out how you can end your suffering and get back outside where you want to be!
Why do I have allergies?
There are many things that can trigger seasonal allergies such as pollen from grass, flowers, or trees. Common household exposures to dust mites, pet dander or mold can also cause symptoms. When you are first exposed to something like pollen your immune cells make proteins against the pollen to "remember" it for the next time you come in contact with it. Exposure to pollen after that causes your immune system to trigger a cascade of reactions that leads to histamine release and symptoms. Overall, the immune system is reacting to substances that it shouldn't be because it's "overloaded" which is why treatment focuses on taking the pressure off the immune system so it reacts to true threats and not things like pollen. As anyone who has suffered from allergies knows, symptoms can be really disruptive to daily life and make you feel miserable! Symptoms of seasonal allergies can include fatigue, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes, mouth, ears or skin. It can become more severe and lead to asthma or anaphylaxis where the throat and lungs become so inflamed and swollen that the person can't breathe.
What can I do about my allergies?
There are many things that can be done to relieve allergies and I'd recommend beginning these treatments 1-2 months before you typically start to experience allergies to get a headstart and reduce the severity of symptoms. Earlier in this post I mentioned that allergies can result in a medical emergency called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is an emergency situation that can escalate quickly. If you have asthma or your allergies are so severe that you have experienced anaphylaxis, please discuss this with your doctor and have proper medications on hand such as inhalers or an Epi-pen.
Get your gut in shape - Much of your immune system is managed from your gut. If it's not running smoothly with good digestion and healthy elimination the immune system will not function as it should. It's important to eat a diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein and little to no sugar. Make sure to include probiotics from foods like saurkraut, yogurt, or kombucha. If you are sensitive to certain foods like wheat, dairy or eggs, decrease or remove them from your diet or try an elimination diet where you take them out for at least 4 weeks to see how you feel.
Improve elimination - Regular daily elimination is important for healthy digestive and immune function. A good place to start if you're dealing with constipation is magnesium, increasing hydration, increasing fiber through supplements and in your diet, digestive bitters, probiotics and decreasing stress.
Rinse and repeat - Use a neti pot or saline nasal rinse. Neti pots look like small mugs with a spout. I often recommend doing this at least daily to rinse out the sinuses of pollen, dust and anything else that may be causing you to sneeze. Use warm water mixed with 1/2 tsp salt, put the spout into one nostril, lean forward and slowly pour the water into your nose. It feels weird and may take a few tries to get the angle right, but it can really help to flush out the sinuses. The water should flow into one nostril and out the other so play around with the angle of your head and upper body to prevent the water from flowing down your throat. You can do this in the shower if it's easier.
Stop histamine in its tracks - naturally
Many of you have probably used over-the-counter antihistamines to control symptoms, but there are natural products that can do the same thing. These nutrients stop the release of histamine or act as general anti-inflammatories so your sneezing and itching don't even start. All of these are safe for kids too.
Vitamin C - is very easy to find and affordable. Vitamin C can cause diarrhea so start low and work your way up to an effective dose. Also be sure to include colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet because they will contain bioflavonoids, which is another helpful antihistamine.
Quercetin - is an overall anti-inflammatory that may be especially important if you have digestive inflammation. It's also found in fruits and vegetables like apples, berries, citrus fruits, peppers and leafy greens.
Stinging nettle leaf - this plant grows wild in the Northwest and if you've ever brushed up against it you know that it can cause a red, painful rash. I'd recommend finding a product that has been freeze-dried because that is close to fresh. Also make sure to buy nettle leaf and not nettle root because they are used for different health conditions.
Omega-3 oils - found in either fish or flax oil, these healthy fats are general anti-inflammatories. You can get them in your diet by eating fish, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, and pasture-raised animal products like eggs and meat.
Homeopathy for allergies
There are a couple homeopathic remedies you can try depending on your symptoms. Start with about 5 pellets dissolved under your tongue every 2 hours when you have symptoms until you notice a change. If there's no change after a few doses, try another remedy.
Allium cepa - allergies are mostly affecting the nose with lots of nasal discharge that feels like it's burning. The eyes are watery and you feel better in the open air and worse in a warm room.
Euphrasia - allergies are mostly affecting the eyes. Eyes are burning, itchy, irritated and may be sensitive to light. The nose is runny, but doesn't feel like it's burning.
I hope this post has given you some ideas for how to treat your allergies naturally. Common symptoms of hayfever or seasonal allergies are sneezing, fatigue, and itchy, watery eyes, mouth or throat. Starting natural treatment before allergy season can be helpful. There's a lot you can do like improving your diet, taking care of your gut, using a neti pot, using natural antihistamines, and trying homeopathic remedies. If you liked this post and found it helpful I'd love to know! Please subscribe to my site if you'd like to be notified about updates and blog posts.
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