The sneezing, the runny nose, the itchy, watery eyes, the hives. No matter how many pills you’re popping, how many shots you’re getting, how much spray you’re shoving up your nose, how many puffs of your inhaler you’re taking in and how many drops you’re putting in your eyes, it’s still not enough. Even if you have all your windows closed in your HEPA-air purified home, all that pollen flying around, that freshly cut grass and all those pretty trees still find a way to get you. Yes, nature can be beautiful, but Mother Nature is a b*tch.
But if you’ve had it up to your raw Rudolph-red nose, why not try these home remedies? Because, frankly, you’ve got nothing to lose. Except the endless suffering.
The bacteria found in yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut (as well as supplements), can change the balance of bacteria in the intestines in a way that could protect the immune system from responding so negatively to pollens and other allergens.
Local raw honey
The key words here are “local” and “raw.” It might not work immediately but the gradual intake of local pollen (about a spoonful a day) will help build up your immunity before the symptoms start, thereby providing relief when the season hits.
If local honey isn’t working, try bee pollen. It comes in three forms (powder, granules and capsules) and works the same way: you expose yourself to the allergens before the season starts, so your system isn’t affected as much once pollen is in the air. (Of course, if you’re allergic to bees or have an anaphylactic reaction to bee stings, avoid this.) Sprinkle it into your food and your nose will thank you.
For those with stuffed-up sinuses (from allergies and colds), this may be your answer. By rinsing your nasal cavity with a saline solution, you’re loosening mucus and flushing out allergens.
Vitamin C is easy to include in your diet, and with its ability to nourish the immune system, you can get a little bit of relief by downing a citrus-y drink.
Apple cider vinegar
Chemical and natural antihistamines, like apple cider vinegar, can prevent the production and release of histamines (the chemical that causes swelling and allergic reactions). Try a teaspoon (with a water chaser), or mix it into your water.
Wear a mask
If you have to do any kind of yard work or gardening, it’s better to look a little silly during the chore than to wait and see how you’ll look without a mask afterwards. Think PUFFY.
For short-term relief, clear your sinuses by taking in wasabi, Dijon mustard, horseradish or chili peppers. They work like a temporary decongestant, though your eyes might be watering for a different reason.
Oil of oregano
The supplement helps with upper respiratory tract health, so taking this will reduce the amount of histamines found in the blood.
This isn’t your average mix; it’s only apple and walnuts, so not the most magical combo… but, desperate times. Walnuts are high in magnesium and can help ease any coughing or wheezing you’ve got going on. They also contain Vitamin E, which helps boost immunity and protects your body from reacting to allergens. Apples contain quercetin, and naturally reduce the production of histamine.
Take a shower
If you’ve been doing outside chores like mowing the lawn, rolling around with your kids or watching a soccer game, once you’re inside the safety of your bubble home, remove your clothes and wash them. And don’t just throw them in the laundry hamper because the icky stuff is still attached to them. Plus, taking a shower before bed will keep pollen from your hair off your pillow.
Like the neti pot, inhaling steam can flush out mucous, keep nasal passages dry and lessen irritation. Just pour boiling water into a bowl, drape a towel over your head to form a tent and inhale deeply through your nose for five to 10 minutes. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water and the strong smell will open your sinuses and nasal passages even further. That, and eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Not only does steam help, but menthol in peppermint tea works as a decongestant and expectorant, and green tea contains a compound that, according to medical tests, has antioxidant properties which limit allergic reactions.
Now, go battle those pesky allergies. Here’s hoping one of these things will stop you from being a snotty, bloodshot, sneezy, itchy, hivey mess.