This allergy season, don’t just sit around and wait for your allergies to get better on their own. With pollen counts projected to hit record highs earlier than ever before, a proactive approach to allergy management is essential to keeping your allergy symptoms at bay.
In fact, many allergy sufferers started experiencing typical Hay Fever symptoms – runny nose, watery eyes, congestion and difficulty breathing – as early as late January. According to Dr. Gailen Marshall, chair of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (ACAAI), “We didn’t have a winter in this country this year. From Florida to Maine to California, people are being hammered with allergies.”
Many allergy sufferers know that getting a jump-start on allergy management is essential to keeping the worst symptoms under control. Unfortunately, will pollen counts more aggressive than ever before – especially in the South and Midwest – even the most experienced allergy sufferers are at a loss. According to Dr. Marshall, traditional allergy medications can help, but often do not provide enough relief for extreme symptoms.
Here are six natural ways you can help ease your allergy symptoms:
1. Relax. Allergies are caused in part when the body’s immune system become stressed and overreacts to the presence of pollen particles in the air. Studies show that living in a constant state of stress can exacerbate allergy symptoms by intensifying stress on the immune system. Take time each day to relax and unwind: yoga, massage therapy, meditation, prayer or even a quiet bath at the end of the day can help relieve stress and improve sleep.
2. Wash your hair before bed. Does your typical routine include a morning shower? Consider this: pollen particles can become trapped in hair and then end up on our pillows and in our beds at night. This is especially true for men and women who use gel or mousse products in their hair. Taking a shower in the evening and washing hair before bed is an easy way to relax at the end of the day (see #1) and reduce your nightly pollen exposure. You’ll wake up feeling fresh, rather than congested.
3. Keep the outdoors outside. Yes, there’s nothing quite as lovely as a spring breeze blowing through your car’s sunroof. But everything from open windows to shoes can track pollen into your home and car upholstery, aggravating allergy symptoms. Keep the windows (and sunroof) closed, take off your shoes in the garage, and wipe off your dog’s paws before he enters the house.
4. Wash sheets and towels every week. A weekly washing of your linens and towels will keep pollen and dust mites out of your bed. Be sure to wash on hot water to kill any dust mites, which are also a common allergen.
5. Adjust your schedule. Pollen counts are often highest early in the morning. Switching up your regular schedule can reduce your exposure to pollen. For example, take your dog for a longer walk in the evening, rather than the morning.
6. Rinse out your nose. Yes, that sounds a little strange, but Dr. Marshall says that a simple saline rinse can help clear pollen from the nasal passages. Saline rinses are available over the counter at most drugstores.
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