An allergy is basically a reaction by the immune system to substances that are normally not harmful and as such, does not bother most other people. Example of substances that often cause allergic reactions includes; pollen, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, insect stings, medicines, and foods.
Genes and environmental factors play a major role in having allergies. For instance, if both of your parents have a particular allergy, there is a high propensity that you would also have that allergy.
Furthermore, for millions of people, the environment plays a significant role in having allergies. For example, each seasonal change brings its own allergy triggers and irritants. Spring brings about airborne pollens, summer comes along with summer smog, autumn is dominated by dust and falling leaves while winter cold can easily exacerbate any allergic tendencies.
Common symptoms of allergies include; skin rashes, itchy eyes, sore or scratchy throat, wheezing, nausea, abdominal pain, nasal congestion, blisters, skin peeling, and coughing.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with allergies;
- Avoid drying your clothes on the clothesline as these would expose your clothes to pollen in the air.
- You should strive to wash your clothes often as pollens tend to cling to them.
- You could also monitor pollen levels especially during spring and summer.
- You could use a neti pot for nasal irrigation if you have a runny nose or nasal congestion.
- You could install HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) filters in your home to help trap pollens.
Below are home remedies and natural treatments for allergies;
Ginger is widely praised for its excellent medicinal and culinary purposes. It works as an antihistamine which plays a pivotal role in relieving symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis. To prepare ginger tea, put finely chopped ginger in a cup of water, boil for 15-20 minutes and drink early in the morning. You can also add a natural sweetener like honey if the taste is too strong.
Apart from maintaining a healthy gut, probiotics can help to treat seasonal allergies. Furthermore, probiotics have a positive impact on your immune system. Examples of foods rich in probiotics include kefir, yogurt, and cheese. The good bacteria, in probiotics, can also be found in fermented soybeans, dried cereals, and some powdered drinks. Medical experts recommend that you take one glass of yogurt every day. You may also consider purchasing dietary probiotic supplements in the form of capsules or tablets.
Garlic works as a natural immune booster, thus, making you more resistant to allergens. Garlic also helps to ward off viruses and infections thanks to its antibacterial properties. To keep allergies at bay, chew a few garlic cloves every day. However, if you don’t like the smell, you can incorporate them into your dishes or go for garlic supplements.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is loaded with vitamin A, B6, and acetic acid which help to boost the immune system. These nutrients also help to balance the body’s pH, and most importantly cleanse the lymphatic system. When allergies hit, dissolve unfiltered ACV in warm water and drink up to 3 times a day. Alternatively, you can add some lemon or raw honey. Discontinue this treatment if you experience allergic reactions like swelling or itching.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an active ingredient which works as an antihistamine. This herb is potent in reducing the inflammation in your respiratory tract. To reduce the severity of allergic symptoms, mix two teaspoons of organic honey with one teaspoon of turmeric powder. Eat the mixture 2-3 times a day. Alternatively, you can add 1-2 teaspoon of turmeric in warm milk, stir well and then drink the solution up to two times a day. Your doctor can also advise how to take turmeric supplements.
6. Steam Inhalation
Steam inhalation helps to remove irritants like dust and pollen which can cause inflammation in the air passages. Steam inhalation could also help with nasal congestion. For this remedy, put some boiling water into a basin, cover your head with a thick towel and then inhale the hot air for 10-15 minutes. After that, blow your nose to remove the excess mucus. For optimal results, you may want to add some essential oils like peppermint oil, rosemary oil or eucalyptus oil. Be careful not to scald your skin with this remedy. Continue with steam inhalation for a couple of days until you clear your nasal passage. The method may not be suitable for young children.
7. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle contains antihistamine agents which give quick relief to allergic symptoms like itching, coughing, sneezing, and uncomfortable congestion. To prepare stinging nettle tea, steep dried nettle leaves in water for 15 minutes and drink while still hot. You can also add the leaves to your soups, smoothies, and salads. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid using this herb.
8. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C is the best natural alternative to over-the-counter medications. Vitamin C eliminates free radicals from the body and boosts your immune system. Furthermore, it lowers the histamine levels which prevent the allergies. Examples of foods rich in ascorbic acid include strawberries, lemons, broccoli, potatoes, kiwi, and grapefruits. There is also some evidence that shows intake of vitamin C supplements can prevent the onset of allergies by up to 40%.
9. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing organic coconut oil in your mouth early in the morning. You should hold the oil in your mouth for 10-15 minutes before spitting it out. Once done, brush your teeth. Ideally, the oil will kill all the bacteria in your mouth. The taste of the oil may put you off, but you’ll get used to it with time. You can substitute coconut oil with sesame oil.
Raw, unfiltered honey comes with an array of health benefits thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, mix one teaspoon of raw honey with a quarter cup of lemon juice and then add to a cup of hot water. Drink the solution very early in the morning before you take your breakfast. Follow this regimen throughout the allergy season.
11. Saline Solution
Saline solution (salt rinse) aids in clearing the excess mucus out of the nostril. It also helps to wash away the irritants especially when you have allergic rhinitis. To make your solution, mix equal amounts of salt and baking soda in 500ml of distilled water. Then, pour the solution through the nostrils using a dropper. If you’re not able to make the solution, you can go for over-the-counter saline sprays. Use the salt rinse method a couple of days until the respiratory tract clears.
Peppermint oil has antispasmodic and relaxing properties. It eases allergy symptoms by decongesting the respiratory tract. For instant relief, put 2-3 drops of peppermint oil in a diffuser to disperse the healing benefits into the air. Alternatively, you can dab 3-5 drops of the essential oil on your chest or forehead. You can also make some tea by boiling peppermint leaves in a cup of water for 30 minutes, strain off, then, add some honey. The hot tea will help to break up the mucus in the chest.
Lemons are a good source of calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. These fruits are also loaded with antioxidants making them excellent immune boosters. For these reasons, exchanging your hot cup of coffee with lemon juice can keep allergens at bay. It’s crucial that you drink the lemon juice on the onset of the allergy season and continue until the season ends. You can also prepare a concoction by mixing one teaspoon of raw honey with half a cup of lemon juice and some cayenne pepper. When you drink the solution during the allergy season, you’ll keep your body detoxified.
14. Hot Shower
When you spend long hours outside during the allergy season, your skin is exposed to pollen and dust particles which can trigger some allergic symptoms. A hot shower helps to clear stuffed airways which make breathing easier. Additionally, hot showers, especially during the winter, would ensure you enjoy a sound sleep. This remedy is suitable for small children who cannot withstand steam inhalation.
15. Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms contain triterpenes which help to reduce allergy reactions. Reishi mushrooms protect the digestive lining, lower inflammation, and boost the immune function. Since the mushrooms are composed of water-soluble polysaccharides, complex carbohydrates, and amino acids, they work as an expectorant and an antiviral agent. Studies have also linked this potent fungus with restoring the body functions to their normal state. The best time to take the mushrooms is early in the morning when on an empty stomach. You can also pair them with foods rich in vitamin C.
16. Use Hot Spices
When you consume spicy food, your nose runs. So, a hot spice can relieve sinus congestion by keeping the mucus thin. Examples of spices that can help to relieve the allergy symptoms include licorice root, horseradish, hot mustard, and hot pepper. If you can’t stand the taste, you can take the spices alongside your meals. However, you may have to avoid spicy food if the pollen count is too high.
Flavonoids are natural products with anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. They help to inhibit histamine release which prevents the onset of allergies. Examples of foods rich in flavonoids include strawberries, apricots, apples, blueberries, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, and parsley. These foods are loaded with antioxidants and trace minerals. Make sure you include any of these foods in your daily diet. Flavonoids work better compared to over-the-counter medications.
18. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help to treat many inflammatory diseases including allergies and asthma. Since omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid) cannot be manufactured by our bodies, we have to consume them. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kales, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybean oil, and many more. To combat allergies, aim for two servings per week. If you don’t have access to these foods, you can go for omega-3 supplements. Consult your doctor before taking any supplement.
19. Keep Pollen Out Of Your Home
A few changes in your home can help to keep the allergens at bay. First, get rid of the carpet. This is because dust and pollen accumulate on the carpet. Try to replace the carpet with impervious hardwood flooring. However, if you have to use carpets dust them off with a vacuum cleaner regularly. Secondly, cover your mattresses and pillows with zip-on dust covers. In addition to that, avoid hanging your beddings outside on the drying line.
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