It’s finally spring! The sunshine, blossoms, and green grass we’ve been waiting for are finally here - and for many they’ve also brought the return of congestion, sneezing, fatigue, and itchy, watery eyes.
If you’re riding the sinus struggle bus this spring, know that you aren’t alone - an estimated 50 million Americans experience seasonal allergies, and that number grows each year. A quick internet search will produce questionable advice promising to cure your allergies, often with unpleasant side effects of their own (we’re looking at you, toxic cleaners and excessive OTC medications). This year, try some tried-and-true natural remedies that do in fact offer safe and effective relief from symptoms of seasonal allergies.
When our bodies detect a harmful foreign substance, the subsequent immune response stimulates a release of histamines. When our bodies mistake common spring substances as harmful, the histamine release causes the familiar, unpleasant allergy symptoms associated with spring pollen, pet dander, dust, mold, and more. So how do we battle these symptoms without introducing toxins to our home or avoiding the fresh spring air?
1. Try a natural antihistamine
Many over the counter antihistamines have unpleasant side effects, such as drowsiness, dry eye, dry mouth, and blurred vision. Natural antihistamines use ingredients with fewer side effects and work just as well as OTC products. D-Hist is a supplement that contains herbs and enzymes found in nature, and it relieves symptoms of seasonal allergies exceptionally well.
2. Monitor pollen counts
Checking daily pollen counts can help you prepare for an increase in symptoms before you leave the house. Websites like www.pollen.com provide current local pollen counts as well as forecasts. Knowing what’s coming means you can implement some of the other tools listed here before the sneezing starts.
3. Invest in an air purifier
A HEPA filter can trap pollen and other allergens and keep them from recirculating throughout your home. Freestanding air purifiers are a great option, and make sure you’re using a vacuum with a HEPA filter frequently. Even if you don’t upgrade to a whole-house HEPA filter, make sure you’re changing your standard filter regularly to guarantee the cleanest air possible.
4. Optimize Vitamin D and Vitamin C intake
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, and it occurs naturally in many foods. To help decrease histamine production, incorporate foods like kale, broccoli, strawberries, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, and citrus into your diet regularly.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to allergy problems. Immunolgobulin E (IgE) helps rein in the antibodies that mistake spring substances for harmful antigens, and low Vitamin D can contribute to low IgE levels. Spring brings sunshine, which means it’s easier than ever to get your Vitamin D by spending time outside, but it’s still a good idea to supplement with a high quality Vitamin D formula. We like Vitamin D3 paired with Vitamin K2 to ensure the calcium you absorb in your food is sent to your bones, rather than clogging up arteries.
5. Try nasal irrigation
It takes just a little getting used to, but using a saline rinse on your nasal passages is like a carwash for your sinuses. Using a neti pot, you can rinse off the pollen trapped inside your sinuses and remove a large amount of the allergens that follow you around all day.
6. Adopt a firm “no shoes” policy in your home
Taking off your shoes when you get home is about much more than just keeping the house visibly clean or giving your feet a break. Shoes can track environmental allergens and other unknown substances all over your house, where they can live in your carpet and wreak havoc on your body. Instead, dedicate a pair of comfortable slippers or shoes to inside-only use, and ask guests to remove their shoes as soon as they come in.
7. Talk to your doctor about testing
If you’ve made changes and you’re still fighting allergy symptoms, it’s possible that an underlying issue could be the source of your struggles. Leaky gut can weaken your immune system, and unknown food sensitivities can cause many of the same symptoms as seasonal allergies. Inflammation in any form can also worsen seasonal allergy symptoms by overstimulating the histamine response. In-depth testing can reveal other conditions that may be contributing to or masking as seasonal allergies.
By implementing one or more of these strategies, you should feel in control of your allergy symptoms in no time. If you find you're still having trouble after making changes, we can help.
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