According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, approximately 35 million Americans suffer from a range of allergies. That’s a lot of watery eyes, sniffling and congestion going on. Seasonal allergies are particularly likely to kick in during the summer season when people are out and about and more active than usual. Whether your car is covered with pollen, you spend a lot of time in the garden, or you simply start sneezing as soon as you open a window, the goal is to find relief fast.
However, rather than turn to over-the-counter or even prescribed medications, consider natural alternatives. Not only are they often more easily accessible and affordable, but they don’t come with a slew of side effects. After all, who wants a headache or, worse, stomach ulcers, oral yeast infections, osteoporosis and disruptions of hormone levels—all things the Mayo Clinic identifies as possible health risks that come with many popular allergy medicines.
Here are some easy ways you can improve seasonal allergy symptoms naturally.
Enjoy raw honey
Raw honey (i.e. honey that’s not processed or pasteurized) has properties that act as anti-allergens, helping your body become more resistant to certain pollens. However, it’s important, to avoid heating the honey, as this can compromise its effectiveness. Forgo adding it to tea, and instead drizzle some over fresh fruit, eat it directly from a teaspoon, or add it to a smoothie.
Finding raw honey should be relatively easy. Your local health food store will carry it, as will the health or organic sections of most supermarkets. A visit to a farmer’s market should also guarantee the sight of raw honey.
Eat some ginger
The next time you go food shopping, add ginger to your list. It’s been known to help open up the airways by relaxing muscle tissue, making breathing easier.
Simply add a few slices of peeled ginger root to boiling water, let it steep for up to 15 minutes and enjoy once it reaches a comfortable sipping temperature. Alternatively, try adding it to meals (such as a healthy stir fry) or even grating it over your favorite recipes—your taste buds will get treated to some extra zing while your body works to keep allergies at bay. A win-win situation!
Assess your diet
When a sneezing fit hits, don’t be so fast to blame it on seasonal allergies. Of course, they play a role in the onset, but the way you eat can be a large factor in worsening or prolonging your apple cider vinegar for allergies.
For example, experts say that eating highly processed foods that are laden with sugar (think desserts, wheat, potato chips, and vending machine snacks) or even dairy can exacerbate your allergy symptoms. Researchers maintain that these ingredients cause excess mucous to form, impeding your ability to overcome seasonal allergies and making you feel worse in general.
Instead, these experts urge people to follow in the footsteps of those living on the island of Crete; a scientific study showed that residents there regularly enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and cold-pressed oils. Tomatoes, apples, oranges, and grapes comprise a great deal of their diet and, in turn, they experience improved upper respiratory health.
However, as with all dietary changes you’re considering, it’s best to have a medical professional assess your entire background (which may include food sensitivities) before adopting this new eating plan.
Wear a mask outdoors
Many times, your itchy eyes or that stuffy head feeling can be eased by what you wear. No, stepping out in a designer handbag won’t do the trick (we have yet to see a study about that!); however, simply donning a mask while engaging in outdoor activities can help immensely. If you’re mowing or pulling weeds, be sure to wear one to keep pollen away.
Also, keep in mind that pollen levels typically peak between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so if there’s any time to wear a mask, it’s during these hours. Don’t worry about looking silly if a neighbor sees you—your health and comfort are at stake, so don’t think twice about it.
Invest in a quality dehumidifier
Finally, mold can be a nightmare if you suffer from allergies. However, there’s pretty much no escape; the typical spring and summer month conditions of rain followed by heat are ideal for mold, which can wreak havoc on your health. Purchasing a dehumidifier can help keep mold away and restore balance in your living environment so you suffer less.
In sum, making easy changes to your diet and protecting yourself both outdoors and indoors are some of the smartest, natural ways to improve your seasonal allergy symptoms.