Winter into spring, summer into fall; each change of season unfortunately brings a new round of irritants for allergy sufferers to contend with. For many, prescription drugs are the solution for treating their symptoms. But there are several drug-free remedies that can bring you relief and build up your immunity to the very allergens that make you miserable. These remedies range from tasty food items you can drink or spread on your favorite food, to simple changes you can make to your home living environment. If you're sneezing while reading this, grab a Kleenex, and check out these eight effective home remedies for allergy sufferers. (Photo by Brooke Novak)
One of the most effective ways to prevent seasonal allergy symptoms is to introduce locally made honey to your diet. Honey made as close to your locality as possible will contain the same allergens you breathe in daily. Introducing your body to small amounts of those allergens by drinking even small amounts of local honey — you can try having a teaspoon mixed in with a glass of apple cider vinegar or cup of herbal tea for instance — will help your body build immunity to the local allergens. The honey should be raw, unpasteurized, and unheated. Babies under the age of 1 should never consume raw honey, as there is a risk of infant botulism. Your neighborhood Whole Foods Market will most likely stock local raw honey.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the oldest health remedies, dating back to 400 B.C. whenHippocrates, the "Father of Medicine," used it to treat his patients. Allergy sufferers dealing with excess mucus in their sinuses, throat, and chest, should consider drinking apple cider vinegar daily, as it helps the body remove phlegm and toxins. It's also rich in enzymes and potassium, and strengthens the immune system. Combining diluted apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of local honey will help with its taste, which isn't unpleasant, but can take some getting used to.
Filtering the air circulation in your home will help remove allergens that otherwise fill the air that you breathe. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports that "50% of all illness is aggravated or caused by polluted indoor air." A high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filter, which you can buy at a good grocery store or your local Home Depot, will capture more than 99% of particles 0.3 microns in diameter or larger that enter it. You'll want to be sure to replace the filter consistently, as often as once a month, especially if you have pets.
We believe nose strips are nothing less than a miracle of science. Once you fit one over your nose, the strip expands, opening up the nasal passages allowing you to breathe much easier. They're great for those suffering from sinus allergies, as well as people who snore. Breathe Right has the corner on the market for nose strips, even offering menthol strips for additional relief, and currently offer the highest quality, most effective brand of nose strip.
There has been some alarming news recently regarding the danger of nasal irrigation. But thenecessary precautions you need to take before flushing out your sinuses, using either a neti pot or a squeeze bottle, are simple and effective. Irrigating your nose with a saline solution, sold in packets at drug stores, removes irritants that get stuck in the nose and make breathing difficult. Always use distilled or previously boiled water with the saline solution. Do not use tap water. Recently, in Louisiana, two deaths occurred when neti pot users used tap water to irrigate their sinuses and contracted a brain infection from an amoeba common in rivers and lakes.
You can't really say anything bad about peppermint tea. Hot peppermint relieves stuffed up sinuses and irritated mucous membranes. The essential oil of peppermint works as a decongestant, while substances in the leaves relax the muscles, reduce inflammation, and even battle the growth of certain bacteria. Inhaling the steam from a hot cup of peppermint tea is another way allergy sufferers can find some relief. But be aware that the menthol in peppermint can cause young children to choke.
Carpets are the perfect home for dust mites and microscopic crud that make people with allergies miserable. Some folks believe carpets are actually good for allergy sufferers because they trap the airborne particles that cause allergy symptoms. However, the trade-off is that the aforementioned tiny pests will happily breed in a carpet, getting on your skin and into your nostrils. Consider throw rugs that compliment your hard wood floors and can be washed in hot water as an alternative to wall to wall carpeting. Regular vacuuming and damp-mopping of the bare floors will also help control the microbes that cause sneezing and other allergy symptoms.
Spicy foods can provide temporary, and tasty relief from allergy symptoms. Wasabi, a member of the horseradish family, is a pale-green paste served as a condiment with many Japanese dishes. A constituent found in wasabi and horseradish called allyl isothiocyanate promotes the flow of mucus. Some allergy sufferers take a 1/4 teaspoon of horseradish as needed to alleviate their symptoms. But doesn't a meal at a good sushi restaurant, with a box of Kleenex close at hand, sound like a lot more fun?