Cleaning, gardening, lacing up your hiking boots: if you’re lucky, spring is the season for tidying up and spending more time outdoors.
Unfortunately, for allergy sufferers, instead of running the trails and watering the garden, your nose is doing the running and your eyes, the watering.
More than one in six Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies.1 Just as tulips break through the soil to bloom, seasonal allergy symptoms too can appear overnight.
The most common seasonal allergy symptoms are sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, watery and itchy eyes, itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals, and ear congestion.2
Interestingly, allergies are an immune response. When one encounters dust, pollen, or another harmless substance, in some cases, the immune system can overreact and produce antibodies to fight off the allergen. This response causes uncomfortable allergy symptoms.3
There are four different allergy periods in Canada:4
|April to May
|June to July
|Mid July to late September
|August to October
Because allergies are an immune response, it’s essential to support your immune system before and during allergy season.
How to naturally relieve seasonal allergy symptoms
Once seasonal allergies hit, it’s tough to get rid of them.
Over the counter medicine can help treat annoying or painful symptoms, but they don’t get rid of the allergies themselves. Your best bet is to adopt lifestyle habits that can help holistically manage and alleviate allergy symptoms. Here are some tips to help naturally relieve seasonal allergy symptoms:
- Regularly rinse your nasal passages.5 This can remove dust, pollen, and other debris. Learn more about how to wash your nasal passages here.
- Get enough probiotics. The gut and the immune system have a very close relationship. One study found that a lack of diversity in the gut microbiota was associated with seasonal allergies.6 Learn more about the digestive system and how it relates to immune health, read Digestive problems – stress & digestion explained.
- Take a premium vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C is an important nutrient for immune health. A vitamin C deficiency can set the stage for impaired immunity and a higher susceptibility to infections.7
- Holistically manage stress. Stress can take a toll on the immune system. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens is reduced, leaving us more susceptible to infections. On top of that, specific stress hormones can even suppress the immune system.8 You can naturally manage stress by meditating, finding relaxation techniques that work for you, and regularly talking to someone you trust about how you feel.
- Get adequate sleep. About one-third of Canadian adults aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep.9 Unsurprisingly, the body needs sleep in order to fight off harmful bacteria and other antigens.10 Learn more about why sleep is crucial to our wellbeing by reading How does stress affect sleep?
- Exercise regularly. Just 20 minutes of moderate movement is all it takes to stimulate the immune system to produce an anti-inflammatory cellular response.11
- Keep your windows closed during high pollen count days. This prevents allergens from making their way into your home.
- Avoid outdoor activity in the morning. This is when pollen counts are the highest.
- Use special HEPA filters in central air conditioning. A HEPA filter is a mechanical air filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. It works by forcing air through a fine mesh that removes allergen particles (pollen, pet dander, dust mites) from the air, so they don’t enter your home.
- Regularly clean your floors with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter. This can help remove allergens from your home.
- Wash bedding once a week in hot soapy water. Together, hot water and soap remove allergens that could have attached to your clothes or body and settled on fabrics like blankets and sheets.
Colds versus allergies
Seasonal allergies can often present themselves as cold symptoms. A sore throat, headache, stuffy nose, and congested sinuses could be allergies or a cold.
Try to remember how sudden your symptoms started. If it was very quickly, chances are it’s allergies. Additionally, if you’re feeling sore or achy, and have a fever, it’s probably not allergies.
Seasonal allergies can start at almost any age, and it’s rare for adults to outgrow seasonal allergies completely. That said, depending on pollen counts, weather, and temperature, some seasons could trigger stronger or milder allergies than others.
Acting preventatively is the best way to stay on top of seasonal allergy symptoms. For more health and wellness information and news, follow Sisu on Instagram.
If you have a health problem, please seek help from a healthcare practitioner. Always check with a healthcare practitioner before taking a nutritional supplement. These recommendations are for informational and educational purposes only. These products may not be right for you. Always read and follow the label.