I am a chronic illness warrior who is always on the lookout for scientifically proven ways to support natural wellness.
Spring is in the air! And so is the pollen.
Millions of people every year suffer from seasonal allergies. According to one study, an estimated 10–30% of the global population afflicted by allergic rhinitis! Much like the common cold, seasonal allergies seem to be one of those things that modern ingenuity has yet to rid us of.
They occur when airborne substances like pollen are inhaled prompting an immune response from your body. When this occurs, your body releases a protein called histamine. When histamine is released, it increases blood flow and can even result in minor swelling of affected areas (like your nose or eyes). It can also cause your throat and eyes to itch.
While over the counter medications may help, they can often have side effects and must be rotated every season or two to continue being effective. Fortunately there are some simple things you can do today to help fight seasonal allergies without a prescription. Here are some suggestions:
One place that allergens (seasonal and otherwise) love to hide out is in carpets. If not dealt with these particles can work their way into the fibers of your carpet, making them very hard to remove. Often times these particles enter the home on the soles of our shoes (a good reason to remove shoes at the door, especially if you have small children crawling in your home) and on your pets.
So how often should you vacuum? Most carpet manufacturers recommend at least once or twice per week. This will not harm your carpet and can even help it last longer because embedded dirt and pet dander aren’t breaking it down.
Saline Nasal Rinse
Saline nasal rinse has several benefits for those struggling with seasonal allergies. Not only does it help rinse out irritants creating a friendlier environment inside your nasal passages, it can also help reduce swelling due to the histamine response. There are several methods for performing a saline nasal rinse. Developed in ancient India, the Neti Pot has proven effective for centuries with very few potential side effects.
Change Your Sheets
According to AmeriSleep, sheets and pillowcases that have not been washed in a week have more bacteria in them than a door-handle. Yikes. Much like your carpets, bed sheets can quickly build up pollen as well. Changing sheets at least once per week can help keep pollen (as well as a host of other undesired microorganisms) out of your bed.
Drink More Water
Among the many benefits of hydration is that it increases your body’s natural ability to flush irritants like pollen. Turns out, when you’re dehydrated you’re body has a stronger histamine response which can worsen already existing allergy symptoms. According to Doctor Neeta Ogden, ”Studies have shown that when you're dehydrated your body produces higher histamine levels and that drives allergies. When you get dehydrated you could run risk of making your symptoms worse.”
By starting your day with a glass of water, you give your body an immediate opportunity to hydrate. This practice has also been proven to have many benefits including improved digestion and increased ability to focus. Following that up with a liter and a half to two liters of water throughout the day should help improve many common allergy symptoms.
Get Some Houseplants
Besides making beautiful home decor additions, houseplants have surprisingly powerful air purifying qualities. Some of the best plants for fighting indoor pollution and allergies are Pothos, Peace Lillies and Bamboo Palms. These plants are also less likely to trigger allergies themselves so they may be a good addition for even the most sensitive plant lovers.
Diffuse Essential Oils
Unlike many natural "cure-alls" essential oils have a surprising number of scientific research studies behind them. Long used to treat a variety of ailments, and now becoming more and more popular, essential oils have been found to have powerful effects on allergies. A 2012 study found that lemon was effective in reducing seasonal allergies. Frankincense, peppermint and chamomile have also been commonly used to manage seasonal allergies by diffusing or adding a few drops to a spray bottle of water and spritzing throughout the home. But beware, not all essential oils are the same quality. Try to stick with trusted brands such as Young Living or DoTerra.
What Won't Work
Several common natural allergy remedies have been thoroughly debunked.
Commonly believed to help allergy sufferers build up a tolerance for local pollen types, honey from the surrounding area has long been heralded as a safe method for beating seasonal woes. However, this belief is unfounded. Because bees tend to collect honey from flowers, not trees (where most of the pollen causing your allergies is coming from) there is actually very little tree pollen in your local honey.
Himalayan Salt Lamps
Discussed in depth in my article HERE, there are some things your Himalayan salt lamp just can’t do. Among them is ridding your home of pollutants. Unfortunately, the bulb inside a salt lamp isn’t equipped to heat the salt hot enough for it to ionize the air or attract pollutants to its surface. (In order for salt to release a negative ion it has to be heated to a whopping 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.)
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Abigail Hreha (author) from Oregon on May 23, 2019:
That's brilliant, John! I never would have thought of that. Thanks for sharing!
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on May 23, 2019:
I found out about nasal saline rinse years ago from a physician in the Navy. An easy way to do it is to make a salt water solution and dip a cotton ball in it. Then placing the cotton in a nostril, breathe back quickly with a strong sniff. It brings the liquid up and over the passage. When you feel the liquid dribble down the back to your throat, spit it out. It works like a charm, and relieves that awful soreness in the passages.
Great article for folks dealing with seasonal allergy.
Abigail Hreha (author) from Oregon on May 23, 2019:
Thanks so much for the encouragement, Lorna! We love out saline rinse. Instead of a Neto Pot we use a similar product that’s a plastic squeeze bottle. You don’t have to tilt your head that way. Super effective! It’s amazing how much better you feel after a good rinse!
Lorna Lamon on May 23, 2019:
I really enjoyed this article Abigail, and as I suffer with hayfever, I have tried different remedies throughout the years. I like natural remedies and one I haven't tried is the saline nasal rinse, so I will definitely give it a go. Thank you for sharing.