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The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reported that 40 million Americans suffer from environmental allergies. This makes seasonal allergies the fifth leading chronic disease in the United States. What can you do to lessen the symptoms? Nasal irrigation is an ancient east Indian treatment that is very effective in reducing the amount of pollen in the nose. A warm saline solution, which is basically a salt and water combination, is placed in a container that looks similar to a tea pot and is called a Netilota or Neti pot. The warm solution is poured through one side of the nose and is released through the other side of the nose carrying out pollen and extra mucus that has built up in the nose. The Neti pot is one of my favorite treatments.
Also, I know it might not sound like much fun but cleaning your house by vacuuming and dusting on a weekly or bi-weekly basis gets rid of pollen that comes into the house. Buying and using a HEPA filter in your home to clean the air is also important as a treatment option. Also, taking showers and changing clothes when you come in from significant time outside reduces your exposure to your allergens as well.
When I treat seasonal allergies I usually have patient come to start treatments in February, about two months ahead of the beginning of the allergy season. Why do I start so early to get the body prepared for the assault of pollen that occurs when the trees start blooming in April? It is so our bodies are prepared for the allergies ahead of time, thus the symptoms will be significantly reduced. In fact, some of my patients report being “cured” because their symptoms are so reduced. I usually put them on an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce overreaction of the immune system to seasonal allergens. I also recommend food with high levels of quercetin like green or black tea, onions, scallions, garlic, and certain hot peppers. Quercetin helps to stabilize mast cells and reduce the release of histamine that causes symptoms.
Seasonal allergies are an annual problem so it is a great idea to learn how to treat them and use those treatment plans every year.