You Blinked, Spring Is Gone and Summer Is Here!
Welcome to summer allergy season! It keeps going long after April’s showers and May’s flowers.
It’s hard to smell the roses when your nose is stuffed up. Or, enjoy the gorgeous colors around you when your eyes are watery and itchy.
More Than 50 Million Americans Suffer From Allergies Each Year.
Chances are you know someone or suffer from allergies yourself. You also know it’s part of the routine to go to the doctor in an attempt to manage the symptoms. Then you’re treated with routine pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals can not only aggravate your symptoms but make them worse.
And unfortunately, they also come with side effects. This band-aid approach is not addressing the root problem. And if you don’t address the root cause, the allergy will never go away, it’s simply maintained.
To get to the root cause, we need to understand what allergies really are.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies, also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, are an immune response to an exposure. Your immune system sees these allergens as dangerous.
Then your body creates antibodies to fight them. These antibodies create histamines that result in your allergy symptoms.
Common Seasonal Allergy Symptoms Include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy sinuses and throat
- Dizziness, light-headedness
- Itchy and watery eyes
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies come from airborne substances — such as pollen. Common triggers vary from season to season.
Let’s take a look at all four seasons and who the culprits are in these different times of the year.
During spring, trees start bouncing back to life and releasing pollen into the air. Tree pollen is the big culprit and comes from numerous varieties. Some of these trees include birch, cedar, hickory, walnut, alder, and horse chestnut.
Hay-cutting season is where we get the name Hay Fever. It’s microscopic, you may not see it, but grass pollen is the most common trigger for anyone with hay fever. Some of these grasses would include timothy, rye, Bermuda, and Kentucky.
Fall is where ragweed comes to plague us. There are over 40 species worldwide of ragweed. This type of pollen seems impossible to escape. It’s everywhere. The symptoms can be quite severe. These would include sage, rabbit brush, mugwort, sorrel, and nettle.
In winter, most allergy sufferers experience relief from symptoms. But because you’re spending more time indoors, you may react to indoor allergies as well. Some of these include mold, pet dander, dust mites, or cockroach droppings.
Treating Seasonal Allergies
Millions of Americans are turning to Claritin, Benadryl, and other medications in search of relief for seasonal allergies. Unfortunately, when you turn to medications for allergies, you throw off your natural immune system’s balance.
Yes, you may experience relief of symptoms — but you’ll have to continue to use them long-term. Long-term usage comes with a variety of negative side effects.
Typical allergy medicines block the production of histamines. Dr. Julie A. Wendt, an allergist-immunologist from the Relieve Allergy, Asthma and Hives Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ says, “It's not necessarily good for the brain. Histamine is an important brain chemical for memories and sleep. These drugs can increase the risk of dementia over time."
Thankfully, there’s an array of natural remedies for seasonal allergies. Allowing you to skip the prescriptions and associated side effects such as drowsiness, fatigue, and nausea.
Natural Remedies for Allergy Relief
Let’s look at ways you can relieve your allergy symptoms, address the root cause, and build your immune system.
1. Eat a Healthy, Anti-Inflammatory Diet
By caring for your body with nutrient-dense food, you’re naturally boosting your immune system and your immune responses.
Reducing inflammation also helps with promoting gut health. Speaking of gut health, did you know that 70% of your immune system stems from your gut?
Eat these foods to build your gut health, boost immunity, and fight allergens:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Probiotics – supplements, yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha
- Black Cumin Seed
- Bromelain – an enzyme found in pineapple and papaya
- Spirulina – a blue-green algae that can be used in powder form
- Stinging Nettle
- Quercetin – an antioxidant found in onions and apples
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil
2. Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise may not be on the top of your to-do list when you’re feeling lousy with a headache or runny nose. But getting regular exercise can help with allergies.
Strong physical activity results in a strong blood flow. This allows your body to flush out allergens quickly and reduce or even eliminate symptoms.
Exercise doesn’t have to be intense or exhausting. Simply taking long walks can get your blood pumping and rid you of those bothersome, pesky allergens.
3. Adequate Sleep
Loss of sleep is an overlooked symptom of seasonal allergies. While the loss of sleep seems minor compared to other symptoms, it can actually contribute to larger difficulties.
You need a full 8 hours of sleep to give your body what it needs. Adequate sleep contributes to brain function, immune function, and reduces the risk of disease.
When you’re getting proper sleep, your body is equipped to perform at a top-notch level, keeping you healthy and strong in the fight against seasonal allergies.
4. Nasal Irrigation
Neti pots are an alternative approach to clearing sinuses and removing congestion. It’s effective and has no negative side effects.
Studies have proven that using a neti pot is beneficial for preventing and treating upper respiratory conditions, the common cold, and seasonal allergies.
When using a neti pot, make sure to always use distilled water. You want the water to be as sterile as possible, eliminating fluoride and chlorine – which can worsen your symptoms.
Avoidance is key to minimizing exposure and symptoms. Monitor the pollen count and take these steps to keep those pesky allergens at bay:
- Close the windows and keep the pollen outside where it belongs. This includes your car windows as well.
- Use air conditioning which cleans, cools, and dries the air.
- Minimize early morning activity, when pollen count is especially high.
- Jump in the shower after being outside for an extended period of time. Pollen clings to clothes, hair, and skin.
- Use a HEPA filter in your home, trapping airborne irritants and reducing allergens.
- Stay indoors on windy days. The best time to go outside is after rain, which clears pollen from the air and surrounding surfaces.
6. Stay Hydrated
You know how important water is for your body and overall health. So it should be no surprise that water can also combat seasonal allergies.
Water works wonders by flushing out toxins and impurities. It makes sense that if you’re washing your body of internal irritants, you’re going to experience fewer symptoms.
Your body produces histamines to guard your body against irritants. But histamine also helps regulate your body’s water supply. So when you’re dehydrated, histamine production increases trying to preserve the remaining water in your body.
7. Go Natural
Keeping your home clean is one of the best ways to reduce symptoms. Make natural cleaners using baking soda and vinegar. Dusting and vacuuming often reduce pollen.
Another great option is to use essential oils. Essential oils have powerful healing properties. The use of aromatherapy can benefit your respiratory system with many benefits, including humidification.
Try essential oil rollers to have relief on the go. Try rubbing a few drops on the soles of your feet, behind the ear, or the back of your neck.
The top oils I recommend are:
Acupuncture was developed by traditional Chinese practitioners and has been gaining popularity. It’s commonly used to treat a wide variety of health ailments, including seasonal allergies.
Studies show that acupuncture has proven to provide both short-term and long-term clinical benefits for sufferers of allergies.
Acupuncture is generally regarded as safe with no side effects. But it’s also best to look for a licensed and professional practitioner.
Precautions to Take Into Consideration
Most of the time, seasonal allergies are not life-threatening. However, some severe allergic reactions may require medical attention from a professional doctor.
Don’t use home remedies to treat severe allergic reactions, which can be identified by symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Blood pressure changes
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
If you experience these symptoms, head to your doctor or the emergency room right away.
Also, use precautions when using essential oils. Some aren’t safe at all for women that are pregnant or breastfeeding. Learn more here about proper usage. Use oils as directed, and perform a patch test to make sure you don’t have a sensitivity or allergic reaction.
The U.S. Food and Drug Association doesn’t oversee the purity or quality of essential oils, so always take extra steps to ensure you’re buying quality products.
The Bottom Line
Seasonal allergies are due to your immune system releasing histamines. Your body then reacts causing those annoying and bothersome symptoms such as itchy eyes and a sore throat.
Over-the-counter allergy medicines typically have negative side effects. They only provide temporary relief.
But the good news is natural remedies do work. They have been proven to be effective not only in managing symptoms but in overall health and healing.
At Elderberry Queen, we want to see you enjoying every season to its fullest!