Photo: The Urban Spotter
Between open-toe shoes, happy hour al fresco, and the promise of a suntan sometime soon, spring should be a few of the best months of the year–unless, of course, you suffer from hay fever.
Sadly for the 50 million people across the U.S. who get nasal allergies, the season of picnics and pretty blossoms is the also the season during which pollen–a major allergy trigger–becomes unescapable.
We are here to tell you that there is hope beyond just dosing yourself heavily with allergy drugs, and spending spring curled up in a sniffling, sneezing heap. We asked a couple of natural wellness pros for their tips to naturally beat allergies, including Geri Giagnorio, a certified nutritional consultant and licensed aesthetician, and Simar Singh, founder of natural wellness brand, Rootology.
Here are their must-read thoughts. And, as a side note, this is a super handy free online test if you’re feeling a little sniffly lately, but you’re not sure if it’s allergies.
1. Sleep-in, or at least stay indoors in the morning.
Pollen is a major trigger for allergies in spring, so Singh suggests staying indoors in the morning, when pollen is everywhere: “Pollen counts are the highest early in the morning, between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so if you participate in outdoor activities like jogging, it’s better to jog in the evening or after 10 a.m.” So yes, now you have permission to feel less guilty about hitting snooze tomorrow morning.
2. Change your diet.
We hate to be the ones to tell you to cut down on sugar, but Giagnorio is adamant that in order to naturally prevent allergies, you need to adopt “an anti-inflammatory diet at all times.” And yup, that means no sugar.
She warns you might want to think about avoiding foods like dairy, coffee, wheat grains, and sugar. Instead, she advocates taking a probiotic, and eating plenty of chia seeds and flaxseeds to support your body’s anti-imflammatory response.
3. Don’t hang dry your clothes outside.
Drying your sheets and clothes outdoors could give pollen a chance to bond to your various fabrics, and cause you to sneeze and wheeze all day and night.
4. Wash your hair more frequently.
Pollen can stick to your hair and trigger allergies, so put down that dry shampoo and start washing your hair more regularly.
5. Pump up the air conditioning.
If you want to avoid outdoor allergens getting inside, it’s a smart idea to simply keep your windows closed. Consider flicking on the recirculate button on your air conditioner to keep outside air out, and remember to change or clean the filter regularly in both your home and car.
6. Try natural medicine.
Do your research and keep an eye open for new products–both natural and traditional medicine. Natural herbs and medicines have been shown to relieve the symptoms of allergies, and Singh recommends using a combination of herbal extracts looking out for products that include magnolia, anemarrhena, xanthium, ledebouriella, schisandra, cinnamon, phellodendron, schizonopeta, licorice, chrysanthemum, forsthia, angelica, and platycodon. New York-based allergist and immunologist Dr. Joan Lehach agrees that herbal treatments “immediately alleviate sneezing, nasal itch, congestion, and rhinorrhea (runny nose) without side-effects.”
7. Avoid grass.
Sorry allergy sufferers, but a picnic in the sunshine is just about your worst enemy right now. If you live in a suburban area, keep your grass short and have someone else mow it.
8. Use neti pots.
Yes, neti pots–the containers designed to rinse mucus from your nasal cavity. They might be completely gross but, dear allergy sufferer, they’re also kind of brilliant. While the concept might be disgusting, neti pots are helpful in reducing the severity of symptoms, so it might be worth a try.