From itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a sore throat to sinus pain and pressure, headaches and wheezing, seasonal allergies can mimic the symptoms of a bad cold. But unlike a cold, seasonal allergies don’t typically go away on their own, and they can make life miserable for weeks or even months. Here are some tips on how to deal with allergies in every season.
With many plants and flowers shedding the cold veil of winter, all the increased growing activity of springtime brings with it a whole host of allergy triggers including tree, grass and weed pollen and mold spores. Try these tips to alleviate symptoms:
Start treatment early. Waiting until symptoms are unbearable can reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. Think of it as keeping a forest fire under control by extinguishing the earliest sparks.
Keep an eye on the pollen count. Plan on wearing respiratory protection if outside during high pollen days.
Get a HEPA air filter. Since outside air gets inside even if the windows are closed, it’s a good idea to keep furnace filters clean and invest in a good quality air filter to trap allergens.
With summertime comes the added complication of air pollution from ozone which can worsen allergy symptoms when the temperatures rise. Ragweed also starts to bloom in August and can make life downright miserable for allergy sufferers. For a more natural alternative to medication, try these suggestions:
Neti Pot– Nasal irrigation is a great way to flush irritants out of the nasal passage. A warm saltwater solution is gently poured into one nostril and drains through the other. It may feel strange at first, but it has few side effects, and even children can do it with supervision.
Eye Drops– Homeopathic drops can be effective in reducing itching and burning that comes with summertime allergies.
Natural Herbs– Butterbur, Quercetin, and Stinging Nettle have shown varying degrees of effectiveness as a natural antihistamine.
Oligomeric ProanthoCyanidins (OPCs)– These compounds found in pine bark and grape seeds (among other sources) can also help reduce the body’s histamine response and provide relief.
Of course, even if something is labeled “natural” or “homeopathic” doesn’t mean it is safe. It’s always wise to check with a doctor before pursuing any course of treatment.
In the autumn, ragweed continues to persist until a good frost comes and kills the offending plant. Because ragweed pollen is carried on the wind, it can travel for hundreds of miles affecting all those allergic to it. Keeping household filters clean and staying inside on windy days can help prevent some of the worst symptoms.
Even though most allergy-producing plants are dormant during the winter, mold is an equal-opportunity offender and can grow year round. Cleaning mold-prone areas (basements, air ducts, and damp areas outside the home) and keeping them dry can help keep wintertime allergies at bay. Find out more about: allergy