I’m dying, you’re dying and it’s all because of allergies. It’s just that time of year again when the air is heavy with flowers blooming and bees pollinating. And a quick shout out to all the poor souls who have to go through this again in the fall. Outdoor and environmental allergies are out of our control, and it can be maddening. My allergies are so bad they’ve sent me to the hospital, so I definitely understand your struggle, and I’m here for you. If you’ve gone through the gamut of over-the-counter drugs and are still struggling, here are some remedies that should help.
That being said, don’t try to use these allergy-hacks if your allergies are extremely serious. Go to the doctor and discuss your options for seasonal or year-round allergy medication or other solutions to fit your needs.
There are a few things you can do to superficially reduce the effects of allergens. For red, itchy eyes there’s a myriad of eye drops–even medicated ones. Try wearing sunglasses whenever you go out to shield your eyes. Cool, wet compresses are great to reduce the swelling and itchiness of your eyes. That is if you find the time to lay back with a cold wash cloth pressed against your eyelids. Showering as much as possible is another great way to remove allergens off your body. If you went outside at all during the day and you get in bed you’re rubbing the potential pollen and allergens trapped in your hair all over your pillow. And, as you’re sleeping you’re rubbing your face onto your pillow and your hair. When you wake up your nose is dripping, eyes are stinging and you may even be hacking up a lung.
Shower every night before bed and wear your hair up as much as possible if you’re going out to avoid bedtime allergy trauma. You can also wear a face mask of some kind to avoid allergens entering your airway if you’re going out. But, be careful. Having cloth close to your face as it gets warmer can trap heat and lead to acne. If you’re the type of person to break out into hives going outside because of allergies I would suggest chilled aloe or a medicated itch cream. Benadryl has a medicated cream you can put on hives or rashes caused by an allergic reaction.
One of the main side effects of allergies is mucus. Mucus is what gets your sinuses backed up and your bronchial tubes blocked. The main contributor to mucus can be found in your diet in the form of dairy. That doesn’t mean you need to immediately go vegan (though I endorse that), but maybe cut back while you’re struggling through spring. I definitely get it if you can’t quit milk and butter. So, try adding apple cider vinegar into your diet by adding it to your dressings, smoothies or even in the form of shots. It dries up your mucus on impact. Plus, it adds an alkaline element to your body. Mucus is less likely to survive in an alkaline system versus an acidic system. So, that also means cleaning up your diet in general to switch your body to an alkaline environment.
Another helpful item to add to your diet is pineapple. Pineapple contains the enzyme known as bromelain. Bromelain is known for helping respiratory issues as it blocks the allergens that cause swelling and inflammation. Adding any citrus at all can be beneficial because the Vitamin C blocks histamines from forming, which is the root of all evil when it comes to allergies (Almost every medication you take for allergens is labeled as an antihistamine). And don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Maybe try to double your daily water intake to flush out allergens. Ultimately, take this as a sign. If you were thinking about changing your diet or taking steps to a healthier you then that time is definitely now.
Another way to get rid of mucus and make your body more alkaline would be a black seed oil supplement. Derived from the black cumin seed, you can find the supplement in pill or liquid form. The liquid form is more biting and can dry out your mucus quicker if you’re about that instant-gratification life. Aside from instant gratification, there’s one supplement you can take a few weeks before peak pollen season to bolster your immune system. Quercetin, often found in foods like apples and onions, is a concentrated anti-inflammatory that is known to help the respiratory system. You can also try the aforementioned supplemental form of bromelain found in pineapples. Stinging nettle is another great herb you can use as a supplement because it is a natural antihistamine.
A lesser-known herb that’s great for allergies is mullein leaf. It’s one of those unknown cure-alls that has been used in holistic medicine for years. You can find it in almost every form from pill to tea. It reduces inflammation in the lungs, so any respiratory issues, coughing, bronchial-related problems, asthma and many other complications can be remedied using mullein leaf.
At the end of the day, while clutching Zyrtec and tissues while trying not to sneeze, I can’t say there’s one solution to allergies. In fact, even though I have indulged in traditional and holistic medicine, my allergies still aren’t completely gone. I suggest trying as many potential solutions as you can until you find what works for you. Or, everyone’s favorite, just avoid going outside for spring and re-emerge when the atmosphere is allergy-friendly.
Good luck, all my immune-system-challenged friends. Stay strong!