Depending on where you live, it’s allergy season! Are you experiencing itchy eyes, a foggy head, stuffy nose, and more congestion? Even here in the Pacific Northwest where it continues to rain, people are beginning to complain and reach for their tissues. This year, start your allergy prevention early with these simple tips I have found helpful both in my experience and in my medical practice instead of waiting until it’s too late.
1. Nasal rinses – try a Neti pot. This nifty little device is shaped like a tiny watering can and is filled with water--and sometimes a pinch of sea salt or baking soda--which is then rinsed through your nose and sinus cavities to pull out pollen, bacteria, and other microbes trapped up inside. The first few times can be tricky and I recommend practicing over a sink or in the shower and watch the how-to videos online. Do it daily to reduce the pollen floating around your head.
2. Dietary changes – cut out or reduce your dairy and sugar intake. Foods such as milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and sugary treats thicken the mucus in your sinuses making your feel more congested and stuffed up than you actually are.
3. Air filters – buy a small HEPA filter air purifier and run it in your bedroom before you go to bed--and if you can stand the noise, while you sleep too--to reduce the airborne toxins floating around causing your allergies to worsen.
4. Shower before bed – especially if you have been outside during the day, to rinse off any dust, pollen, and mold that has stuck to your skin or hair. By showering, you don’t bring allergens into your bed while you sleep.
5. Try allergy alternatives – supplements like quercetin, bioflavinoids, vitamin C and nettle root are natural anti-histamines and can be taken daily throughout the season. I suggest starting them now in preparation for the season.
Remember to stay really hydrated, get enough sleep and work on stress reduction. These things can naturally support your immune system and help you combat allergy symptoms as well.