With Spring now upon us, many of us start to experience hay fever and other seasonal allergies. This article will discuss several effective ways of treating and minimising symptoms of seasonal allergies, naturally and without medications.
1. Eat Well
When we treat food as medicine, it can become our most powerful ally in treating seasonal allergies. Eating a diet that is packed with fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds and clean protein keep a healthy gut. This, in turn, can help the body remain strong and fight allergens. Some experts suggest that vegetables such as yams, cabbage, beets, carrots, and swiss chard, which are high in Quercetin, can help fight inflammation and symptoms of hay fever. Other primary dietary sources of quercetin include citrus fruits, apples, onions, olive oil, grapes, parsley, sage, tea, dark cherries, berries, and red wine.
2. Steam Inhalation
Steam helps to open up nasal passages and ease congestion. Simply fill a large bowl with hot water, Add 3-4 drops of Lavender, Lemon, or Eucalyptus essential oil. Place your head over the bowl, cover your head with a towel (in a tent-like way to capture the steam) and breathe deeply. Experiment with your preferred essential oil. In some rare cases, whilst Eucalyptus has strong anti-inflammatory properties, it can trigger an allergic response for some.
Alternatively, add a few drops of one of these essential oils to a face cloth. Jump into your shower and use the face cloth to cover the drain. The steam from the shower can provide a similar, milder effect as the bowl method.
Probiotics can play a strong part in keeping your immune system strong and balanced., especially those containing Lactobacillusrhamnosus GG, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Acidophilus. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Experimental Psychology found that a particular strain of probiotics known as Lactobacillus paracasei ST11 reduced nasal congestion in those suffering from seasonal allergies. Natural forms of probiotics include fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yoghurt & kombucha.
4. Minimise your intake of mucous-producing foods
To minimise allergic symptoms getting worse, avoid the following foods that are known to produce excess mucous for many people, exacerbating allergic symptoms.
- Dairy products, including cheese, cream, ice cream and milk
- Grains, especially gluten-rich ones, such as white bread, rye and barley
- Sugar and sugary products such as biscuits, lollies and ice cream
- Potatoes and other starchy root vegetables
- Deep fried foods and highly processed foods
5. Cleaning your home
One of the most effective ways of keeping allergic symptoms to a minimum is to keep your home clean. This includes removing dust, mould and pet hair. Invest in a quality vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter to trap allergens and minimise exposure.
However, be also mindful of the products that you use for cleaning around your home. Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can amplify allergic symptoms. Some of the worst offenders include ammonia, bleach and formaldehyde. The fumes produced by these chemicals can be irritating on the respiratory system, and have been shown to increase the risk of developing asthma and rhinitis (inflammation of the nose).
There are now many natural cleaning products now on the market that are affordable. If you like to make your own, a simple starting kit includes white vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils of clove, lemon and eucalyptus.
6. Consider Acupuncture
If you are committed to a drug-free approach to over-the-counter antihistamines, Acupuncture can offer a safe and effective alternative. A 2015 medical article reviewed the results of 13 individual studies assessing the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating hay fever. The authors found that allergy sufferers who underwent acupuncture experienced a significant reduction in nasal symptoms, compared to people who did not undergo acupuncture. Those who received acupuncture also used less medication and reported increased quality of life, with no recorded side-effects.
7. Wear a Mask
Most of us are now familiar with wearing a mask as part of a COVID-19 safe strategy. An N95 mask, which is readily available these days, can block up to 95% of small particles including pollen. Use a mask when working outdoors, for example, mowing the lawn or working in the garden. In addition, you may get some benefit from wearing a mask when vacuuming or dusting at home.