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How to beat spring allergies

Road sign saying Allergy Season Ahead

“Ah-CHOO!”

Well, it’s that time again, folks. You know, the one where spring rears its beautiful head and releases pollen—well, everywhere.

Interested in your current pollen count? You can check it here. But fair warning: We have no control over this. You’ll need to take that up with Mother Nature.

So, if you’re a seasonal allergy sufferer, or you’ve just become one, there are several remedies to help you get through the sneezy season. Let’s start with what you can do at home.

Adjustments to make at home

You can do several things around the house to help fend off those pesky allergies.

  • Replace your air filter. It’s recommended that you change your air filter every 90 days (or three months). If you haven’t done this yet, now’s the time. During spring, also consider changing them more often, especially if you suffer from allergies. And be sure to look for air filters marked as HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air), which are designed to trap smaller particles.

  • Decrease household humidity. Lowering the humidity in your home by using a dehumidifier can help reduce dust mites.

  • Use an air purifier. Consider purchasing an air purifier to run during the allergy season in the rooms where you spend the most time.

  • Maintain a clean environment. Regularly cleaning surfaces to remove dust and allergens can also help keep them at bay.

Changes to make to your health

While a clean home can help reduce your reaction to seasonal allergies, you can also make a few changes to help build up your immune system. 

  • Eat local honey. Consuming local honey can build up tolerance against local pollen allergens because of the exposure to small amounts of pollen in the honey.

  • Take probiotics. Probiotics found in supplements and fermented foods (e.g., yogurt, sauerkraut, olives, pickles) can help boost the immune system and potentially improve allergies.

  • Stay hydrated. Keeping your mucous membranes hydrated is important for them to function properly and can help trap allergens more effectively.

What to do when the allergies hit

Even with their defenses up, 25.7% of adults and 18.9% of children in the United States suffer from seasonal allergies. So, what can you do when the pollen hits? In addition to—or in place of—taking over-the-counter medications, here are several natural ways to relieve your seasonal allergies.

  • Nasal irrigation. Using a neti pot or nasal irrigator helps clear out pollen from your nasal passages, reduces mucus and relieves nasal congestion. Be sure to rinse only with distilled, sterile or previously boiled water and not tap water...and thoroughly clean your device after each use.

  • Quercetin. Add quercetin-rich foods into your diet, like apples, honey, raspberries, onions and citrus fruits, or take a quercetin supplement. This anti-inflammatory helps regulate histamine production and release.

  • Steam inhalation. Breathing in steam can help soothe irritated sinus passages and relieve nasal congestion.

  • Acupuncture. Some studies suggest acupuncture can help relieve allergy symptoms.

  • Essential oils. Use essential oils to find relief from allergies. Peppermint oil can relieve congestion; eucalyptus oil can help clear mucus and improve airflow; lavender can reduce allergic inflammation and calm the nervous system; and lemon oil can support lymphatic system drainage. Each oil may be added to a diffuser, and some may be applied to the skin when diluted with a carrier oil. (Disclaimer: Do your research before applying oils to the skin.)

Here’s to a sneeze-free spring season

Incorporating these strategies and remedies can help you combat the war on seasonal allergies and help build a more resilient immune system. If your allergies are severe, or these methods don’t provide the relief you need, please consult with your healthcare provider. We hope you make it through spring without hearing, “Gesundheit!”