Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies
Most people are genuinely surprised to learn that they can develop allergies while living in the desert. Dry climate means easy breathing, right? Not really, because aside from our extreme heat for a couple months in the summer, we have fairly mild weather the rest of the year. So there’s always something blooming to keep us sneezing or wheezing. Like much of the rest of the country, our trees bloom in the spring, grasses bloom long past summer, and weeds and sage can pollinate all the way into December. Plus, factor in the year-round dust and the dormant pollen that gets stirred up every time the wind blows, some of us suffer all year long.
First, be proactive to keep annoying allergens out of your home; they’ll sneak in at every opportunity to make life miserable for you, even in your safe haven. Clean and dust as often as possible. Using natural cleaners may be less irritating to your already sensitive sinuses. Vacuum the air conditioning vents regularly and opt for HEPA filters to keep allergens out through the central air system that brings in contaminated air.
Keep your windows closed and your pollen-sprinkled shoes at the door. And don’t be afraid to give indoor/outdoor pets a wipe down or wash off to rid them of allergens they may trot inside the house to deposit on sofas and chairs or comforters where you sleep.
Second, you can attack allergies with an arsenal of natural remedies when they wage war on your body. Prescription drugs or over-the-counter antihistamines may not be the healthiest answer for you. Our dry climate combined with strong medicines that dry up your nasal passages even more can make nosebleeds quite common. Or they can just plain make you drowsy and lethargic. Try washing out your clogged sinuses with a Neti Pot filled with a warm saline solution. Most drug stores or big chains carry them now. Squirt bottles also keep the passages clean, if you’re more familiar and comfortable with that method.
Bee pollen has become a natural repellant in the fight against allergies, but ask your doctor before taking it. While it’s known to effectively take the sting out of allergy symptoms by building up your immunity to certain pollens, it’s created quite a buzz by causing serious reactions in some people. You can find bee pollen in supplements, refrigerated granules and mixed in gooey honey.
Locally, there are homeopathic blends like Las Vegas Allergy Mix or Las Vegas Allergy Formula found at local health food stores or online. They have blends of natural ingredients that are designed to alleviate symptoms specifically caused by our desert blooms. Herbally Grounded carries one for about $15, while Whole Foods carries other remedies.
And finally, diet can play a big role in battling year-round allergies. Building up your defenses with good nutrition can keep the crippling symptoms from ruining your summer fun. Doctors say avoid sugar-laden foods and mucous-causing dairy, like milk and cheese. Swear off sulfites found in wine, go gluten-free when you can, and stay away from wheat.
Foods that are good at fighting off allergies are ones that are rich in vitamin C like berries, citrus, mangos and papaya. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and antioxidant to help build immune support. Also onions and garlic, which are rich in phytonutrients help with a runny nose. Allium, or onion, is found in homeopathic remedies. Onions also contain Quercetin – a potent bioflavonoid, which carries anti-inflammatory properties also found in the skin of apples and black tea. Bananas, kidney beans, almonds and brown rice are great sources of magnesium and 180 milligrams is enough to stave off a hay fever attack.
Drinking plenty of good ol’ H2O will help cleanse your body and flush out toxins and impurities, which can burden your immune system and make you more susceptible to an allergy smack down.
Fortunately, there are many natural remedies that can alleviate your nagging runny nose and red itchy eyes so you can face the great outdoors head on. Keeping your environment as clean and chemical free as possible, and unburdening your body of internal toxins, will help your chances of beating allergies at their own game this season and all year long.
Sherry Swensk produces the daily segment “Living Green in Las Vegas” for 8 News Now and shares her passion for green with us. You can see her “Living Green” segments weekdays on 8 News Now This Morning, starting at 4 a.m. View her segments and read her blog at green.lasvegasnow.com.