Late summer marks the start of ragweed season. If you’re among the one in five people who suffer from allergic rhinitis (aka hay fever), it’s time to get schooled in natural solutions. They’ll reduce your sneezing and help alleviate sinus pressure, runny nose, and congestion.
Moistening the nasal passages with sprays or washes can provide relief. Saline sprays or xylitol sprays help to liquefy secretions, eliminating buildup. They’ll also reduce inflammation, decrease postnasal drip, and flush mucus and allergens from your nose. A Neti pot can bring about the same effects.
Extracts of the herbs stinging nettle and butterbur can bring relief of symptoms. Butterbur works as an antihistamine. The Mayo Clinic advises that shoppers look for butterbur products labeled “UPA-free” to ensure that they contain no potentially toxic substances. Other herbal remedies for seasonal allergies include astragalus, cat’s claw, choline, goldenseal, Pycnogenol, and bromelain. And ingesting locally produced honey can be effective too.
Taking probiotics before allergy season may reduce suffering as well. Adults who received a probiotic-rich fermented milk product prior to exposure to grass pollen exposure showed significantly fewer allergy symptoms. And children with documented allergies to birch pollen had fewer runny noses and less nasal blocking after taking probiotics for four months prior to birch pollen season.
Certain fruits and vegetables will boost your immune system and trigger allergy-easing processes in your body. Be sure to eat plenty of broccoli, citrus fruits, onions, garlic, and leafy greens like kale and collards. And consider avoiding (or at least reducing) alcohol, caffeine, food preservatives, dairy, refined sugar, soda, egg yolks, and trans fats.
Blame the Cat
Dealing with your allergies to pets or dust mites may go a long way toward solving your hay fever problems. A study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that, of 123 people who were allergic to ragweed, 66 percent were also allergic to cats, 63 percent to dogs, and 73 percent to dust mites. They conclude that these allergies “pre-prime” the immune system, setting up much stronger reactions when ragweed season begins.
Did You Know?
Hay fever is almost never caused by hay. And though symptoms can be severe, they generally don’t include a fever.