I have suffered from both indoor and outdoor allergies my entire life. For years I had a daily prescription that I took in the morning both as a nasal spray and a pill. Some days it would work perfectly and other days, it would be a complete nightmare! Sinus pressure, watery eyes and going through an entire box of tissue were a normal, daily occurrence in my life. Add in the fact that I live in Los Angeles, one of the most polluted cities in the US that is also prone to wild fires, and my allergies were downright unruly!
Before I had my daughter a few years ago, I started to look at alternative methods of dealing with my allergies, as I was not comfortable taking medication during my pregnancy. I found quite a few ways to prevent, manage and treat allergy-related issues (minor flare-ups to sinus infections) and continue to use them today. I am happy to say that after adopting a natural, preventative approach to my allergies, my symptoms are far less intense.
Natural Allergy Remedies
1. Neti Pot – The Neti Pot is the absolute best item to have in your house to use as a preventative measure for managing your allergies. You fill this small pot with warm water and salt. I use it every morning and before I go to sleep to rinse the allergens from my nose. The spout on the Neti Pot fits perfectly into your nostrils. You tilt you head and the water flows from one side and out the other carrying allergens with it.
*Please make sure that you use purified water or boil tap water on the stove prior to use as tap water can carry and deposit other allergens into your nasal passages.
2. Eucalyptus Oil – Eucalyptus Oil comes from the leaves and branches of eucalyptus trees and has been used medicinally for generations. It is one of the quickest ways to treat allergies. I use this amazing oil when I have an allergy flare up. I carry a small bottle of it in my bag; apply a few drops onto a q-tip and place directly into my nostrils. The oil instantly opens up my nasal passages, helps to expel mucus and reduces the swelling in my nasal passages. Eucalyptus oil is also great to put into your humidifier.
While the oil is fantastic to use to treat allergies, so are the actual eucalyptus branches. Attach a handful of branches to your shower head (you can often find them at a farmers market). The warm water and the steam from the shower will release the oil into the air and give you incredible relaxing relief.
3. Bathe Constantly – This suggestion seems like an easy one but it has been the one way that I have seen an immediate improvement when I am battling allergies. Our skin, hair and clothing act as magnets to dust, pollen and other allergens everywhere we go. It is important to keep our bodies and our skin as clean and allergen free as we possibly can. I worked at an elementary school for several years and I guarantee that the dust that was caked into the carpet and living in the vents was older than I me! I battled with my allergies every time I stepped into my classroom and as soon as I was home, I immediately showered and threw my clothes in the washing machine. The allergens from the classroom were trapped in the fibers of my clothes and until I removed them, showered and washed my hair, whatever I was allergic to was still connected to me. Allergens can be transported to your bed linen and your furniture so it is best to contain them as much as possible or it may be harder to do so later.
4. Keep Plants in Your Home – Often times the air in our homes can be just as polluted as the air outdoors. In order to keep the air clean and fresh in our living spaces, it is important to keep plants in as many rooms as possible. It is quite alarming to think about how much formaldehyde is in the average home. From car exhaust in the garage, to cleaning and beauty products to even some toilet paper. While there are ways to choose alternative products to cut down on the toxins that we are putting into our air at home, it is also important to add plants to help do some of the cleaning. Plants act as natural air purifiers helping to clean our personal environments from allergens and other toxins. Try adding a spider plant or a succulent like aloe vera if you do not have a green thumb, as these are very resilient plants. Try the snake plant (better known as mother-in-law’s tongue) or the golden pothos plant which is my absolute favorite. What I particularly like about this plant is that it is the perfect hydroponic and does not require soil (a common allergen) to grow. These plants would be a perfect choice in trying to cut down on the pollution in your home.
5. Drink tea! Hot tea (especially peppermint and spearmint varieties) is a great remedy for your allergies. Tea can help to soothe swelling caused by allergy flare-ups. There are also plenty of amazing medicinal teas on the market that help to manage and treat allergy and other respiratory issues. You can find these medicinal teas at most health food stores.
6. Be Prepared! If you know that you are going to be in an environment that may trigger an allergic reaction, bring a few items with you:
1) A hat: keep your hair covered especially if you are outdoors (at a park or on a hike). Your hair can trap a large amount of allergens. Remove your hat only when you are indoors. This will cut down on the amount of allergens you hold onto after being outside.
2) Baby wipes: You need to keep a pack of cleaning wipes or baby wipes in your bag to quickly wipe your entire face, neck and nostrils to rid of allergens.
3) Small spray bottle of water: Every wonder why your allergies issues subside after a good rain? The water washes away the allergens floating in the air. I keep two small spray bottles with me everywhere I go. The first one is my green tea face spray and the other is plain water. I spray my face when I am having an allergic reaction to something and I also spray the area around me. The water quickly flushes out the allergens in the air.
Do you have a tried-and-true natural allergy tip? Please share!
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Also by Sorina: Gluten Free Quinoa Crackers
Photo: Sorina Fant