Sneezing, runny noses, itchy eyes, and throats — it’s all an unwelcome sign that spring is here. As sure as birds chirping and flowers blooming, allergies go hand in hand with springtime, and they can impact every member of your family.
But don’t feel like you’re beholden to over-the-counter allergy medications that can make you drowsy or that come with other undesirable side effects. You can fight your family’s springtime allergies the all-natural way.
Here are 8 options to try before you reach for the Benadryl.
The very first thing you can do to fight your family’s seasonal allergies? Avoid the things that are causing the allergic reaction in the first place.
Since pollen is often the source of springtime allergies, try to limit outdoor play to afternoon and evening, when the pollen count is lower. Take advantage of time periods following heavy rains to get outdoors, as that’s when the pollen count is even lower.
If you do need to go outdoors during high-pollen times, consider wearing a face mask or other covering, to better protect your nose, mouth and eyes.
2. Rinse, Rinse, Rinse
There are a few ways you can go about rinsing allergens from your system. Gargling with salt water and using either a saline-based nose spray or a neti pot are all popular options. Just remember — if you do use a nose spray or neti pot, keep them exceptionally clean, and be sure to clean both after each family member’s use. Since improper neti pot use can cause severe harm, make sure to convey to the kids that the neti pot is not a toy and should only be used when a parent’s around.
But don’t just gargle and rinse. Drink a lot of water, too. Seasonal allergies can dehydrate you and a dehydrated body isn’t as effective at defending itself.
3. Look for Hidden Causes
It’s entirely possible that the source of your springtime allergies is lurking right under your nose. Could your family be carrying pollen into the house?
Shoes can track pollen in and across carpets and other surfaces, so make a strict ‘shoes off at the door’ rule. Make sure you’re changing your vacuum’s filter regularly (and maybe start vacuuming more often).
Additionally, don’t bring any outdoor furniture inside and keep windows closed for the time being.
4. Change Your Diet
There are certain foods that could help you or a family member fight off seasonal allergies. Local honey is one remedy that many people find effective; simply eat a teaspoon of raw, unprocessed and local honey each day, so that your body becomes accustomed to the allergens produced by your local plant life.
Other foods that contain allergy-fighting properties include apple cider vinegar, citrus, broccoli, probiotic-rich foods (like fermented foods) and green tea.
5. Herbal Supplements
There are a few herbal supplements that are worth trying when you just can’t get relief from your seasonal allergies.
Nettle leaf is a natural antihistamine that can be found in herbal teas, as well as in a capsule form. Eucalyptus and peppermint are both found in many herbal teas as well, but then you can also use peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils during allergy season, either in a diffuser or even in your laundry.
6. Spring Clean
Spring cleaning is more than just a good way to clear out the clutter after a long winter; it can help relieve your springtime allergies, too. Clear out all of the dust and pollen that’s accumulating in your home.
Beyond the extra vacuuming mentioned above, also start washing your bedding and sheets on a regular basis and dusting more often, too. Once a week is good for the former, while three or four times per week is sufficient for the latter.
7. Calm Down
Stress has been shown to make seasonal allergies worse. If you can, try to go easy on the stress this season. It’s difficult (especially when you’re in a cycle of stressing about your allergies, which makes them worse, which makes you stress more, etc.), but well worth it. Reducing your stress will help your health in an extensive number of ways.
Try a Detox
Along these lines, eliminate things that could be stressing your body unnecessarily, even if you don’t feel like your mind is stressed. Things like alcohol, processed sugar and extra fat all make your body work overtime; detoxing by removing them from your diet for a bit can help your body work more efficiently and, thus, fight off your allergies, fast.