The thought of spring and fall wakes up our poetic soul and we think of having a peaceful stroll in the park or take our dog for a walk or just enjoy the enchanting beauty of nature.
And we say Ah! What a time to be alive? But this poetic spirit goes down the drain for most of us when this “Ah” turns to “Achoo”. And it doesn’t stop here. It is followed by runny nose, watery blood shot eyes, itching throat and so on. You guessed it right, this blog is about how to treat seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies are very common but are very confusing for us. The only thing we know about is that it’s caused by pollens. Well yes! But there is so much more to it.
Let’s take a look at what actually are seasonal allergies and how they can turn your pleasant life into a total mess in seconds.
Is It Seasonal Allergy – Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis?
It gets very confusing to decide and differentiate between these terms when talking about allergy. But all these terms have the same meaning. They all refer to pollen allergy.
Let’s begin by looking at the culprit behind the seasonal allergies and then we will look at different types of seasonal allergies.
First culprit is the pollen. Pollens are very useful in fertilization of plants but could be very dangerous and annoying.
Over 36 million Americans are suffering from seasonal allergy. These small, powder like particles are released by many types of trees in different seasons for reproduction.
They are carried by wind and can travel miles from the parent plant. When we breathe in specific pollens in the air we get allergy reaction.
Yes, your own immune system is also involved in this messy situation. It’s actually misinterpretation of immune system that causes an allergic response.
When a pollen enter your body, your immune system considers this harmless creature as an invader and releases special chemicals called histamines in your blood. The symptoms listed below appear as a result of release of this chemical in the body.
- Itchy or watery eyes
- A runny nose or stuffy nose
- Itchy throat
Types of Pollen Allergies
Pollens from weeds (ragweed, tumbleweed), trees (birch, oak, cedar) and grasses are the main cause of seasonal allergies. You may experience allergic reaction from late spring and summer when grasses release their pollens.
You could also experience these same reactions from late summer to fall when weeds pollinate. Since these trees and weeds grow in different seasons they cause allergies in different seasons.
How To Treat Seasonal Allergies?
So the ugly truth is that once you have developed any type of seasonal allergy it’s really hard to get rid of them. But don’t dwell in despair! From medication to dietary changes there are a lot of option to save you from the misery.
The focus of today’s blog would be the various methods of treating seasonal allergies. Here are the basic three methods that could be helpful.
Before going to medications and remedies, the most important thing that you can do is change your way of living. Just like any other disease or medical condition, seasonal allergies also require change in lifestyle in a precautionary way.
Precaution is always better than taking dozens of medicines and still suffering. Read on to know the most important lifestyle changes that you need to minimize the seasonal allergies.
Say No To Unnecessary Outdoor Visits
It is the most important thing especially when the pollen count is very high or outdoors are dry and windy.
If there are outdoor chores, ask someone else to do them for you. Kill time by playing indoor games. Even if you go out put on a mask to limit exposure.
The spores and pollens are very nasty, tiny creatures that can get indoors with just a little breeze of air. So use a HEPA filter (it’s expensive but not more than your well-being) and a vacuum cleaner to remove all the pollens from your home.
No matter what you do pollens get stuck in your hair, bedding, and clothes. So, it’s necessary to wash your hands and take a bath regularly to remove pollens from your body. Make a habit of washing your beddings and other washable items once a week.
Say No To Stress
Stress without any doubt, is a real headache and effects almost all parts of our body and life. But the most important thing is that it slows down your immune system.
As reported by The Calm Clinic, stress and anxiety results in the release of stress hormone that reduces the efficiency of your immune system. This makes you more vulnerable to allergic symptoms.
So allergic people should stay calm and cool. It’s not that easy in this world full of hassle but still try things that can calm you down such as meditation, yoga, music etc.
Is it possible to reduce allergy symptoms by changing your diet? Absolutely yes! But only “reduce” not “end”. First of all make good foods choices.
Because there are certain food items that actually exacerbates the allergy, such as dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, nuts and chocolate. Dairy product increase the mucus production that can increase your discomfort by making a stuffy nose even more unbearable.
Alcohol, caffeine, nuts and chocolate contain histamine. During the allergy season it’s better to avoid these items since your body is already producing histamine in abundance. That is the culprit behind all your spring and fall woes.
What should we eat to help in minimizing the signs? It’s easy! Eat foods rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and antihistamines. They would help in controlling your symptoms. Some of the best choices are listed below:
Eat plenty of food containing vitamin C since it is known to help in decreasing allergy symptoms. Just don’t stop at limes and oranges, but instead also try tomatoes as well.
Tomatoes not only contain vitamin C but also lycopene. This antioxidant help in reducing inflammation related to allergic reaction in body.
Nettle leaf tea is also a very good source of antihistamine. Try mixing dried nettle leaf and peppermint leaf to make a soothing cup of allergy tea. Just like that elderflower tea is also very helpful.
Spices and Herbs
Add some spice to your food. It not only adds flavor but also makes an excellent allergy relief combo. Try using ginger, garlic, turmeric in your cooked food since they are easy to eat in a ginger and onion for seasoning and garnishing of salads.
Garlic and onion are very beneficial in allergy relief. Garlic is a natural enhancer of immunity in our body. It has plenty of antihistamine compound called quercetin.
The combined effect of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effect of garlic just works wonders in allergy relief. You can also use onions as they contains quercetin in abundance.
Turmeric is another wonderful spice. It’s not only tasty but also full of health benefits. Curcumin, its active compound, is very effective in inhibiting allergic response and providing relief from congestion and sneezing.
How can we forget medicines? There is no doubt that lifestyle and dietary changes are very important in managing seasonal allergies. But before starting them, it’s better to get checked by a doctor. There are a lot of options to reduce the symptoms and get relief.
You can use variety of effective antihistamines such as cetirizine or loratadine etc. Nasal saline sprays and nasal corticosteroid sprays are very effective in providing relief from stuffy nose.
They reduce inflammation and swelling of nasal passages. Cromolyn sodium is another very effective spray that inhibit leukotrienes and histamine release in the body. The overall symptoms of allergies are significantly reduced.
Medications do not work for all. Immunotherapy is another excellent option for some. Just be aware that it may take some time to see results. Some people do not get relief until 1 -2 years of starting immunotherapy.
Before starting any of the methods I urge you to see a doctor’s professional opinion so that you are educated on what may possibly work best for you.
Try the natural remedies and other methods listed above. Share your experience in the comments below. Also feel free to recommend any methods of treating seasonal allergies that have worked best for you that I may have not mentioned here. Be Well!