It’s April and spring is in the air. Unfortunately, so is pollen. Released into the air by trees, grasses and weeds, this tiny party crasher’s purpose is to fertilize other plants. Which is great for plants, but not so great for allergy sufferers.
When pollen is introduced into an allergy-sufferer’s body, their immune system kicks in and releases antibodies. These antibodies battle the pollen by releasing chemicals called histamines into the blood. These histamines then irritate and inflame the moist membranes of the nose causing all sorts of discomfort.
According to The Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation, 20-25% of Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever. If you’re one of these itchy-eyed, soar-throated sneeze machines, antihistamines can bring relief, but they can also make you feel sluggish and drowsy. Decongestants can clear you up temporarily, but can actually increase your symptoms over time. If you’re looking for a natural approach, here are four drug-free ways to fight spring allergies.
If allergens can’t find you, they can’t hurt you. You might not be able to evade these tiny troublemakers completely, but you can make your environment less hospitable to them by sweeping, dusting and vacuuming (with a hepa filter vacuum) often; changing sheets and pillowcases regularly; using a dehumidifier to keep indoor air dry; closing windows and running the air conditioner; and, if possible, replacing carpets with hardwood or laminate flooring.
Hydrate & Irrigate
Histamine production increases when your body is dehydrated so fight back by drinking plenty of water. And save some of that water for your nose. When your sinus passages are blocked, irrigating them with warm water and natural salt via a neti pot can help to clear out mucus so you can start breathing in that fresh spring air again.
Boost Your Immune System
Seasonal allergens trigger an immune reaction and the production of allergen-specific antibodies. Unlike antihistamine medications, which fight histamines once they are produced, Vitamin C works to prevent the formation of histamine in the first place. Choose Ester C with natural metabolites for quicker absorption and longer retention than other forms of Vitamin C.
You can’t avoid the outdoors all spring, but some times are definitely worse for venturing out than others. By monitoring pollen counts you can avoid getting caught outside during pollen primetime. As a general rule, pollen production peaks during the midday to afternoon hours.