In many parts of North America, this spring is turning out to be a bad one for seasonal allergy sufferers. Known as “seasonal allergic rhinitis,” these types of allergies are dreaded by many, bringing on nasal congestion, a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, itchiness, and sinus headaches. The symptoms are usually caused by an immune system overreaction to pollen and mold spores, which are practically inescapable, as they’re airborne.
Many of us try to beat those symptoms down, using antihistamines, but these only mask the problem. Here are some tips and tricks to help you conquer the spring allergy madness without resorting to drugs:
— Get rid of items that collect dust in your house, such as carpeting, stuffed animals, and feather bedding.
— Replace window blinds with window shades.
— Wash curtains, rugs, and bedding regularly.
— Do not hang your clothes or bedding up to dry outside.
— Put an airtight plastic cover over your mattress and soft furniture.
— Dust furniture, window ledges, doorframes, and moldings regularly with a damp cloth.
— Wash floors on a regular basis, even with just a damp mop.
— Buy a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for your home.
— Keep your windows closed as much as possible (install an air conditioner).
— Between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. in the morning, try to avoid outdoor activities (this is when pollen emission is the highest).
— Keep your car windows closed.
— Keep abreast of daily pollen counts and humidity levels; when these are high, or when it’s windy, stay inside.
— Do not mow your lawn and avoid areas with fresh-cut grass.
— Do not rake leaves (allergies are the perfect excuse to get someone else to do it!)
— Schedule your vacation during the peak pollen season in your area, and head somewhere else, where the levels aren’t as bad, such as the seaside.
— Eat a low-protein diet (it’s believed that too much protein can send the immune system into overdrive).
— Look into hypnosis as a treatment option; the mind/body connection can be a potent one.
— Keep a journal to determine if stress has a role in the severity of your allergies; if it does, find a way to manage the stress, such as yoga, meditation, or exercise.
If you find your seasonal allergies are crippling your lifestyle, or if they’re just too annoying to cope with, then see an allergist or immunologist.
Alternatively, you can also visit a naturopath. Naturopathic medicine is focused on treating the source of the condition rather than the symptoms; it also involves a whole-body approach.
Naturopathy is a healing method that many people swear by, as it works with the body’s natural abilities to deal with the problem rather than stuffing the patient with drugs to make them feel okay for a short while. You could also see a homeopathic doctor for natural remedies to relieve your allergy-induced misery as well