Living in the Sunshine State, where weather is pretty much ideal all year, it’s easy to want to spend time outdoors, but having seasonal allergies can make that difficult.
You’ve probably tried every over-the-counter allergy medication available, but still have a hard time not coming down with a case of the sniffles this time of year.
If you’re sick of taking medication, there are some natural remedies that could bring you some relief.
1. Wash up
Without even realizing it, you bring in tiny pieces of the outside world every time you return home. Whether they were tagging along by hitching a ride in your hair or on your skin or sticking to your clothes or shoes, taking a shower right away can help rid you of the little particles you’ve collected while out and about, according to WebMD. Rinsing off will wash away any allergens you would have otherwise allowed to make their way into your home. In the same way, experts also recommend you rinse off your pet if you’ve had them outside on a high-pollen day. Pets can carry or collect some of the dust that could later irritate you.
2. Block them out
Just because you spend the day inside doesn’t mean you’re safe from the outside allergens, experts say. It may be tempting to crack a window or open the garage to get some fresh air while cleaning, but in the same way you don’t want to bring those outside particles into your home with what you wear, you don’t want to invite them in with a gust of wind. WebMD recommends keeping windows closed. Another way to shut allergens out is by taking your shoes off at the door, so those outside particles don’t spread. You can also kindly ask your guests to do the same.
3. Keep the fluids coming
No one likes the stuffiness or occasional postnasal drip that comes with severe allergies, but staying hydrated can help. According to WebMD, having extra liquid in your system from sipping more water, juice and other nonalcoholic drinks can help thin the mucus in your nasal passages and bring some relief. Pro tip: warm fluids, like tea and soup, have the additional benefit of steam.
4. Suck in some steam
Speaking of steam, simply inhaling it can help open up those nasal passages and make breathing a bit easier. WebMD recommends holding your head over a warm bowl or sink full of water and placing a towel over your head to trap the steam. If it’s easier for you, sitting in the bathroom while a hot shower is running will also do the trick for a stuffy nose.
5. Rinse them away
Some people swear by nasal rinses when it comes to easing allergy symptoms. Rinses can flush bacteria and thin mucus, which can help cut down on postnasal drip, according to WebMD. You can probably find a rinse kit that will do the job at your local pharmacy, but WebMD also offers the following instructions if you want to make your own with a neti pot or nasal bulb:
- Mix 3 teaspoons of iodine-free salt with 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Store mixture in an airtight container.
- To use, put 1 teaspoon of the mixture into 8 ounces of distilled or boiled, then cooled, water. Lean over a sink and gently flush one nostril at a time.
6. Make natural home cleaners
You’ve probably heard that keeping your home clean can help get rid of those indoor allergens, and while that’s true, certain cleaning products could be creating new problems for you. According to WebMD, some of those store-bought cleaning products with harsh chemicals can irritate your nasal passages and worsen your symptoms. Instead, experts recommend you try making your own natural cleaners out of products like lemon, baking soda and vinegar.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Not only does apple cider vinegar work wonders when it comes to cleaning around the house, it can also be useful in the fight against allergies. According to TruHealthMedicine.com, the sour condiment can help reduce the production of mucus and clean your lymphatic system. If you’re pretty hardcore, you can simply throw back a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. If you need to sip on it slowly, you can try adding it to some warm water or tea and masking the taste with some honey.
8. Cover up
Protecting your eyes, nose and mouth from the things that irritate them is obviously important, which is why experts recommend you keep those areas covered. If you know you have to be outside, or in any place you know you won’t be able to avoid allergens, WebMD recommends you wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth to keep those allergens out of your airways. According to the website, an N95 respirator mask, which you can likely find at most drugstores and medical supply stores, will block 95 percent of small particles, like pollen and other allergens. Wearing sunglasses outdoors can also do the same for your eyes.
If your allergies are really weighing you down, you may consider acupuncture. According to multiple health websites, including WebMD, studies have shown that it may help reduce allergy symptoms, but it’s still unclear how. Though many believe the ancient practice can treat a number of health issues, you should talk to your doctor before trying acupuncture.
Of course, no single treatment is a one-size-fits-all solution. If you’ve tried several remedies and still haven’t felt any relief, it’s possible you don’t know exactly what’s causing your symptoms.
It’s important to know your triggers if you’re looking to treat them.
Making an appointment for an allergy skin test can help you narrow it down to the root of the problem so you know exactly what to avoid.