Spring is upon us and so are seasonal allergies. Now I have bad allergies and over the years have spent some miserable springs and falls. Now much of what I do to mitigate them goes out the window when the system fails. I can no longer hide in an air-conditioned house and most medications will be in short supply. So what is the solution?
Tips to help deal with seasonal allergies
- Stock pile medications, while you have a chance. My doctor gives me refills for 12 months a year. My allergies only act up for about 6 months a year. So every year I stock up some extra meds. If over the counter meds work for you, talk to your pharmacy about buying them in bottles of a thousand. They are much cheaper this way. Costco also has some good prices on large bottles.
- If you have to work in the garden, wear a dust mask. Get or make some old-fashioned cloth ones that you can wash and reuse. Also, wear goggles or wraparound glasses to help keep the pollen out of your eyes.
- Take a spoonful of local honey every day. This contains local pollens and will help build up your resistance.
- Stinging Nettle. A good herbal remedy, it acts similar to many of the drugs sold to treat allergies, but without the unwanted side effects of dry mouth and drowsiness. Nettles a common weed in many parts of the United States, actually inhibits the body’s ability to produce histamine. The easiest way to take it is a freeze-dried extract of the leaves sold in capsules. Studies have shown that taking about 300 milligrams daily will offer relief for most people, although the effects may last only a few hours. You also can make your own tinctures or teas with stinging nettle.
- Brigham tea or Mormon tea which grows in much of the west is a old treatment for allergies
- Limit your outdoor activity to specific times. Pollen counts are highest between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and lowest right after it rains or at night. Pollen counts are highest on warm, dry, breezy days.
- Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and can be found in fruits and vegetables such as oranges, lemons, limes, potatoes, green peppers and red peppers. Histamine is a substance that is released when your body is having an allergic reaction and causes itching and inflammation.
- If you have indoor pets, it is best if they have short hair and are brushed regularly. Pets will carry in pollens as well as produce dander, both of which you may be allergic too.
- Avoid any nasal spray that contains steroids, if you read the fine print on the warnings you will find that they cause cataracts and glaucoma. I used them for years and have had cataract surgery
- Try salt water. A saline nasal rinse with a neti pot or a spray seems to help many people. This is something I have never tried and as such can’t personally recommend.
- Change your clothes as soon as you get home. Don’t spread pollen inside your home.
- Eat on foods with natural antihistamine properties such as garlic, onions, citrus and apples.
- Household dust contains pollens. So, to reduce symptoms, minimize the dust in your home. Chemical irritants, such as fumes from a wood-burning stove or fireplace, pollution, or cigarette, pipe, and cigar smoke, can also worsen allergy symptoms.
- After being outdoors take a shower. Shower and wash your hair every night to avoid bringing pollens into your bed.
- Avoid drying your clothes and bedding outdoors when your local pollen count is high.
- Quercetin is a natural plant-derived compound. It helps stabilize mast cells and prevents them from releasing histamine. Citrus fruits, onions, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, and lettuce are naturally high in quercetin. However it is hard to get enough of a dose from foods. The recommended dosage is about 1,000 milligrams a day, taken between meals.
Now remember I am not a Doctor and if you are having seasonal allergies, I recommend you get medical help. The tips I have given here are ones that I have encountered and I have tried most of them and they help to varying degrees depending on how severe your allergies are.