Allergy season is here and that means pollen is in the air. And, because breathing is a required part of life, it's most likely also in your airways. It's no secret that the most effective way to achieve seasonal allergy relief is to avoid the outdoor allergens entirely. That, however, is easier said than done.
We've compiled a selection of simple remedies and preventative measures that will show you how to beat seasonal allergies without making a trip to the doctor.
While it's impossible to avoid outdoor exposure, there are a number of things that you can do from the comfort of your home to curb the effects of seasonal allergies. Take it from Dr. Loredana Shapson, a PharmD, Functional Nutrition Therapist, Wellness Coach and owner of LifeMod Solutions.
According to Dr. Shapson, “Cleaning the nostrils and sinuses before bed or at least once daily, using devices like a neti pot, will remove irritants from the nose."
She also suggests, "Keeping windows closed, dusting and vacuuming more often, or even using an UltraHEPA filter like the AirDoctor, reduces pollen in the home."
“Following these steps will help you create a hard separation between the clean interior environment of your home and the allergen-filled outdoor air." Dr. Shapson highlights the importance of this effort by emphasizing, “Even if you aren't able to keep the outdoors out of your home, a quality air filter can have a serious impact on the overall air quality in your apartment."
Another method for seasonal allergy relief, suggests Dr. Shapson, is supplementation. “Supplementing your diet with probiotics and bee pollen has been shown to help. Bee pollen has anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be taken while you have symptoms."
Dr. Shapson suggests that allergy sufferers should, “Find a local raw source of bee pollen, which is usually sold as granules. Take a spoonful daily by mixing it into foods or smoothies. It is best to start taking bee pollen one month before allergy season begins so you can prime your immune system for the season to come."
Dr. Shapson caps off her thoughts by imploring anyone considering battling their seasonal allergy symptoms with supplementation to, “Please consult with a health professional before starting any supplementation. To heal your allergies long term, find a holistic health practitioner who understands how to repair gut health."
There's more you can do around your apartment than improve your air filters and vacuum a little more frequently. During allergy season, try to shower right before getting in bed and do your best to wash your sheets once a week. Even if you're a morning shower person, showering — or at least rinsing off — before bed is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from outdoor allergens. The same goes for washing your sheets. Whatever allergens make it into your apartment and aren't washed away by a shower will go away with a weekly sheet cleaning.
Another method to consider is changing your clothes whenever you come in from the outdoors. If you do this, be sure to put your dirty clothes hamper outside of your bedroom, preferably in an area of your apartment that you spend less time in. This will prevent you from inadvertently breathing in the irritants in the air around your outdoor clothes.
“The most highly-recommended tip I can offer is the most simple. Drink room temperature or warm beverages," Says Jenna Dorce, an Ayurvedic Wellness Consultant and the mind behind the Paradise Is Earth website.
“The temperatures of our food and drink play an important role in how well we digest. Foods and drinks that are significantly cooler than our natural body temperature put a lot of strain on our digestive system. If you can avoid chilled beverages for the whole of the spring season, it will make a difference."
“This is not a quick fix," warns Jenna, “but with consistent commitment, anyone can lessen the ups and downs that come with seasonal changes."
There are a number of natural remedies, in addition to bee pollen, used to beat seasonal allergy symptoms. These treatments include extracts from butterbur, spirulina and other herbal remedies. These treatments are incredibly cost-effective compared to medical treatment and, thanks to retailers like Amazon, it's easy to get all the supplies you need from the comfort of your pollen-free apartment.
The downside to these natural allergy remedies is that they're not backed by well-funded research. That's not to say they don't work, it's just that the big bucks tend to end up in the back pockets of other more traditional seasonal allergy solutions.
“I believe that the inflammatory reaction of seasonal allergies can be reduced or eliminated by healing the gut," explains Dr. Alicia Armistead the Founder of and Head Practitioner at Healing Arts NYC.
“If your body has low inflammation in general when the pollen starts up, the inflammatory response will be less or not even noticeable in a healthy person."
Dr. Armistead suggests, “To help the gut, eat half a serving or more every day of fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc. Also, eat and drink less inflammatory foods. The most inflammatory of these being coffee, alcohol and white refined sugar."
No coffee, alcohol or sugar? Hey, no one said seasonal allergy relief was easy to come by. Put in the effort, though, and you're sure to reap the benefits down the pollen-covered road.
Ever hear about the “mind-body connection?" The idea is that, if your mind is healthy, your body will follow suit and vice versa. Many believe that one of the most effective ways to fight off the uncomfortable symptoms of seasonal allergies is to practice mindfulness.
Start each day with a morning meditation instead of going outside for a walk. Don't let work, family or social life overstress your system. Be mindful about your tasks and take your mental health as seriously as your physical well-being.
While this option isn't a scientifically-proven method for defeating seasonal allergies, it's an unquestionably healthy mindset to approach each day with. Even if putting in the effort to have a more positive mind only brings about a placebo effect for allergy relief, it's still helping you out in the long run.
"There are three main things involved in preparing the body for the allergy season," says Dr. M Waseem Imam, FACAAI, DO, Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Cure Allergy Clinic.
With these three simple actions, you can drastically reduce the overall effects of seasonal allergies on your life. Don't forget that allergy season is often accompanied by beautiful weather. Who wants to spend all that time feeling stuffed up unable to enjoy the great outdoors?
While not widely known for its seasonal allergy relief, acupuncture treatment is a great way to boost your immune system and help combat the symptoms of seasonal allergies. This ancient Chinese practice provides pain relief and bolsters emotional wellbeing.
By stimulating specific parts of the body, acupuncture encourages the body to release certain chemicals based on where the needles are being inserted. This process brings about different effects on the body. While acupuncture isn't something you can do in your home (seek out a professional, please) it is something that, if you find it works for you, can benefit your overall life well beyond just allergy season.
So, if you're not suffering from aichmophobia, schedule that acupuncture appointment today.
“A quality HVAC system is designed to condition air and move it throughout your home to reach your desired temperature, but along the way, the system filters out airborne particles," says Jo Brown, Managing Editor of HVAC.com.
“Pollutants like pet dander and fur, dust mites, pollen and even mold spores accumulate in the air filters. Our top two recommendations for anyone attempting to minimize the effects of seasonal allergies for their family is to regularly check and change the air filters and schedule routine system maintenance twice yearly."
This tip works for folks of all walks of life. “Whether you live in an apartment, multi-level home or mountain-side cottage, check your air filters once a month and change them every 60 to 90 days, or sooner if needed. Most homes benefit from a filter with a MERV rating of 8-13. We suggest upping that range to an 11-13 MERV rating for homes that experience moderate to severe seasonal allergies due to pets, being located in a high-pollen area or indoor smoking. Plus, changing the filter is relatively inexpensive. Most come in at under $20."
Another untraditional approach when it comes to beating those seasonal allergies is to set up an appointment with a chiropractor.
Despite what many think, regular chiropractic appointments throughout allergy season are a great method for fending off many of the most common allergy season symptoms.
The idea behind this is that chiropractic sessions bring your body back into alignment. This is in both a literal and more metaphorical sense.
With the body in full alignment and working in peak form, you can more easily overcome even the most severe symptoms. A chiropractor's goal in this instance is to help lessen the strain on your nervous system and allow your body to focus its efforts on more pressing issues, like allergies.
The more you can curb your seasonal allergy symptoms, the better off you'll be and the more likely it is you'll be able to enjoy the stellar weather that often comes with allergy season. Listen to the advice from the experts above, implement some of their industry-insider suggestions into your life and stop letting pollen levels determine your love of being outside.