I have been struggling with allergies since I was 16. Cats, dust, tree pollen, grass, and mold are my major nemesises (nemesi?) I dealt with it for many many years, making an obnoxious sound to scratch my throat, sneezing, itchy nose you get the idea. Some years were better than others based on whether I was living with a cat and how bad the season was, where I was living, etc. I was on a myriad of prescription meds, including obnoxious in-the-nose methods (lookin' at you, strong-smelling-Flonase) and pills.
About 6 or 7 years ago, my symptoms intensified. I sneezed so much people stopped saying 'bless you' and I always looked like I was crying.
The skin on my eyes was permanently chapped from rubbing. And I was sick of being on all kinds of meds, without feeling better! It just didn't sit well with me, to be doing all of this stuff, and still feeling (and looking) like crap.
So I started experimenting with more natural ways of minimizing my suffering. I wasn't taking care of myself as well as I am now, and unfortunately those methods weren't extremely effective on their own.
However, years later, there ARE a handful of things I highly recommend for anyone that's starting to feel itchy or have other environmental allergy symptoms*:
- Limit the dust mites + pollen in your room - you don't want to sleep in that. (Even sounds gross, right?!) This one is 3-fold:
- Take your shoes off at the door so you're not bringing the pollen on your shoes into the whole house.
- Wash your face + hair before bed if you've been outside, so the pollen doesn't get all over your pillowcase/sheets. (Same goes for your pup if she sleeps with you - brush or wipe her down before bed!)
- And, year-round, put allergy-friendly covers on your pillows and mattress to decrease your exposure to the dust mites that are inside (don't think about it too long or you'll want to buy a new bed set every other day!)
- This is pains me to say, but don't open your windows - this goes for in your car and at home. I know it's not environmentally friendly, but for us sufferers, unfortunately, air filters or A/C is better. Get some plants to add some fresh oxygen circulating.
- Daily probiotics supplements: there's a huge correlation between allergies (immune reaction + inflammation) and the gut. So help your gut, and you help your allergy response!
- Use a saline spray or a neti pot to flush out your nasal passages.
- Decrease your dairy intake, so you're not contributing/adding to the mucus/phlegm factor.
- Try an elimination diet to determine if anything you're eating is making your symptoms worse (If you're thinking about doing this, I can help with the planning + figuring out your triggers — email me.)
- Supplement with quercetin (unless you have liver issues or are pregnant!) - it's naturally occurring in many foods, but to use it as an antihistamine, you need higher doses of 500mg/day. Best if you start taking it 4-6 weeks before the season so it builds up.
I only knew about a 1 or 2 of these when I was m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e, and combined with my intense stress level at that time, my symptoms were not managed well. (Yes, stress contributes to the inflammation response in your body, the combination was not pretty.) I tried to suck it up, but eventually I waved the white flag and started immunotherapy (allergy shots). Five years later, I could be the national spokesperson! I truly believe in alternative medicine and natural healing methods, but sometimes western medicine is the answer. For most people, the least painful options will be very effective!.
I've pulled together a checklist for the products I mentioned to bring when you go to the store (and links for people like me that use Amazon Prime for life.) And I added two instant-reflief tips, like when you're at work and can't breathe. You can download it here!
*I'm NOT talking about acute, life-threatening allergies like tree nuts, bees, peanuts, etc! Those are nothing to experiment with!!