Ah, the weather is warming up, the sun is peeking out, the birds are chirping—spring is here! YAY! Or not, if you suffer from springtime allergies. While some of us are thrilled to throw open the windows and let in all that fresh air, others of us are doing everything we can to avoid those budding trees and flowers, which only mean one thing: pollen. If you’re like some folks I know (*cough*myhusband*cough*), allergy medicine will only get you so far when it comes to relieving your symptoms, so I’ve looked into nine natural allergy relief strategies.
Cleaning: Okay, you’re going to hate me for this one—heck, I hate me for this one—but this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep allergen symptoms at bay. Dusting and wiping down hard surfaces in your home keeps them allergen-free. Sweeping or vacuuming (and yes, mopping) the floors is important, and vacuuming soft surfaces like couches matters, too. I know everyone in my house feels so much better after I’ve gone through and dusted and vacuumed—and only one of us officially has allergies! Speaking of cleaning, make sure you change your sheets regularly (weekly), too. Apparently, bedrooms are the worst allergy-offending room in the house.
Get rid of rugs: Along those same lines, get rid of rugs. You should get rid of carpet to and go for all hard flooring surfaces, especially for those with severe allergies, but that’s way easier said than done. Rugs though, are a somewhat simpler issue to resolve.
Take a shower: While you’re cleaning your house, clean yourself up, too. When you come in from being outside, be sure to leave your shoes in the mudroom or a designated space near the door. Take a shower and change your clothes right away to avoid spreading allergens through your house, and to get them off your skin as soon as possible. The steam from the warm water will do you good, too!
Humidifiers: These are a toss-up. If you have to seal up your house to keep outdoor allergens out, you may find that you’re suffering because of the dry air, so humidifiers can ease those symptoms. But if your allergies are caused by indoor allergens like dust mites or mold, skip the humidifier, which can make those allergens worse. Regardless, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the humidifier, and for what type of water to use in them. (In my house, we love the Crane Drop humidifier, and my husband uses the Crane Personal humidifier for travel.)
Air Purifiers: Obviously cleaning allergens from the air in your home is going to be an awesome way to relieve your symptoms. Head’s up, though: this seems to be one of those products where the most expensive ones are the best. If you’re looking for a less expensive one to try, though, Crane also makes air purifiers, including some adorable ones that would be right at home in any kids’ space. Whatever what you try, make sure it has a HEPA filter.
Use a nasal rinse: A nasal rinse will flush thin mucus from your nose. My doctor recommends over the counter nasal saline rinse. Web MD, has a recipe for making your own nasal rinse. A friend of mine makes a spray using Himalayan pink salt, frankincense and lavender. If you can’t tolerate a nasal rinse, try a nasal gel; it doesn’t flush out mucus, but it does help with dry nasal passages and I personally find that Ayr with aloe helps clear out my stuffy nose.
Try essential oils: I’m sure most of us know a consultant or can get in touch with one through a friend of a friend. I reached out to friends who are oil fans and some suggestions I got were a blend of peppermint, lavender and lemon oils; using eucalyptus and lemon oils in a diffuser; Young Living R.C. oil (which is a blend of spruce, cypress, and three types of eucalyptus oils); and Young Living Breathe Again oil (a blend of peppermint, myrtle, and copaiba, and four different types of eucalyptus oils).
Herbs: Studies have been done that show some herbs—butterbur in particular—can be just as effective as over-the-counter allergy medicines! This article lists five to try. The best part? Three of them (garlic, turmeric, and stinging nettle leaf [that one’s in tea form]) are available as supplements at that favorite store of moms everywhere: Target.
Drink more fluids: If a stuffy nose is your allergy symptom nemesis, drink more non-alcoholic fluids. My husband tells me this all the time, and WebMD backs him up. Water is the best choice, but any non-alcoholic fluid will do. WebMD suggests that warm fluids like broths or teas have the added benefit of steam.
Do you have any additional tips on beating spring allergy symptoms with natural methods? Share them in the comments!