Congestion, coughing, and all the other annoying allergy symptoms are nothing to sneeze at for seasonal allergy sufferers. I actually never had allergies until I moved to the Bay Area…and then the itchy eyes, itchy nose, and itchy sore throat got the best of me.
Here are some health tips for spring allergies that I use and recommend to my patients to help prevent seasonal allergies and provide some relief.
Minimize Pollens Coming Into Your Home
After you’ve spent time outside, leave your shoes at the front door so you don’t bring any pollen inside. I also recommend jumping in the shower to remove the pollen from your body and hair. At a minimum, wash your face. And don’t forget to throw your clothes in the washing machine. On days when pollen counts are high, I also suggest closing your windows to prevent pollen from entering the house.
Rinse It Out
A nasal rinse through a neti pot or a NeilMed is an easy way to flush the pollens from your mucus membranes, so you're not continually reacting once you’re inside.
Make sure you add a premixed sachet (with salt and sodium bicarbonate) or Xlear packet (that also adds beneficial xylitol) to make a saline solution similar to your natural nasal secretions, or you may experience a mild burning sensation. I suggest using filtered water instead of regular tap water to avoid impurities or contamination.
Invest In an Air Purifier
Using an air purifier to remove pollens from your home environment can be incredibly helpful especially at night. Look for one that has a HEPA filter.
My favorite brands are Blueair, Austin Air, and IQAir. These brands are more expensive than what you’d find in your local hardware store, but they are highly effective and reliable. During allergy season, we have an air purifier running in each bedroom as well as on the main floor in our home and they make a big difference for our family.
Clean Your House
Regular house cleaning can help prevent seasonal allergies and help relieve your symptoms. Pollen accumulates with dust, so clean bookshelves, vents, under furniture like your couch, and other places where pollen and dust can collect.
It's also important to vacuum carpets and change pillowcases a couple of times each week. Allergens can transfer from your hair to your pillow on a nightly basis. It’s also important to check your window seals to make sure there is no mold or mildew accumulating, as this can also exacerbate allergies.
Staying nice and hydrated helps thin the mucus found in the nasal passages and drain the sinuses. To keep your body hydrated, aim for a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
Take These Symptom-Relieving Supplements
I love for my patients to take a good quality multivitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, and a probiotic throughout the entire year. They help support immune health and help keep you healthy and robust in general.
But during allergy season, I recommend my patients take additional support including natural antihistamines, such as vitamin C and quercetin, to help stabilize their immune cells and reduce histamine release. You can take quercetin in capsule or powder form. During allergy season, I recommend the powder version (quercetin ascorbate)—add one scoop (1,000 mg) to a glass of water. Do this once or twice a day. Vitamin C can be taken at a dose of 1,000 mg two to three times per day.
Nettle and bromelain are also both really helpful. They act as anti-inflammatories that can help reduce the swelling and inflammation we get in response to histamine and allergens. In capsule form, aim for 300 mg (or more) of nettle three times a day. You can also make a nettle infusion by adding 1/3 cup dried nettle leaf to 2–3 cups boiling water (I like to prepare mine in a mason jar). Let it sit for at least four hours, strain, and drink throughout the day. Bromelain capsules can be taken at a dose of 200–400 mg three times per day, without food.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an antioxidant that is highly regarded as a natural allergy remedy. NAC is a precursor to glutathione, one of your body’s premier free-radical scavengers. Plus, it’s one of the best expectorants and mucus thinners around, helping to reduce congestion. I recommend taking 600 mg two to three times daily.