Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, affects as much as 30% of the population worldwide, meaning it’s no surprise that people seek out information on natural treatments. Allergies affect everyone differently, too, with some having only minor symptoms and others experiencing life-threatening anaphylaxis.
While there are plenty of medications available for treatment for allergies, there are also several ways to combat them naturally. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about common allergic reactions, including their signs, symptoms, and holistic treatment options to alleviate them.
Common Causes of Allergies
Allergies are the immune system’s reaction to foreign substances. The body naturally produces antibodies which help fight infections and build immunity, but some antibodies mistakenly identify certain allergens as being dangerous or harmful — even when they aren’t. An allergic response takes place in the immune system as a result, usually within a matter of minutes.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be suffering from allergies:
Red, watery, or swollen eyes
Eye allergies are referred to in medicine as conjunctivitis, or more commonly “pink eye” or “red eye.” The term technically defines an eye infection, but encompasses an allergic reaction as well. You will usually know the irritation is a result of allergies because it affects both eyes and makes them red and watery.
Itchiness of the eyes, nose, or mouth
Feeling itchy anywhere on the face may be one of many allergy symptoms or present entirely on its own. Itchiness is one of the most common physical results of an allergic reaction, and ranges from minor to extremely uncomfortable.
Congested or runny nose
These symptoms are most frequently associated with allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. The name is misleading, as the symptoms have nothing to do with hay and rarely present with a fever. Instead, allergic rhinitis simply refers to allergy symptoms that primarily affect the nose. There are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal and perennial. Seasonal allergies can “flare up” at any time, but the most severe tend to be during the spring and summer when grass, trees, and other plants release more pollen and spores. Perennial allergic rhinitis sufferers may have symptoms all year, caused by pet allergies, mold spores, dander, dust mites, or even a cockroach allergy.
Sneezing frequently goes hand in hand with other allergy symptoms, but can also be associated with other types of allergies. Most often, episodes are a direct result of the body’s histamines trying to rid it of allergens. Many allergy medications thus have antihistamine properties to temporarily prevent things like congestion and sneezing.
Another effect of histamines is decreased blood pressure, and medical experts believe this is what causes headaches with both allergies and asthma. Nasal congestion may also affect sleep quality, which could result in headaches, and you may get headaches from being slightly dehydrated when allergy symptoms are at their worst — or from the physicality of having frequent sneezing spells.
In much of the same ways they cause headaches, histamines may produce earaches. The inflammation caused by their release affects the mucous membranes in both the nose and ears. Histamines cause congestion and/or sneezing in the nose, and a blockage that prevents the mucous from draining properly in the ears. This results in earaches or more severe pressure and pain, and sometimes ear infections.
Generally speaking, there is no complete cure for allergies or even a surefire way to prevent them from getting worse year to year. There are several natural and home remedies for allergies that alleviate their symptoms, however.
5 Natural Treatment Options for Allergies
Perhaps you have only minor allergy symptoms or get the occasional sinus infection, or maybe you have uncomfortable hay fever symptoms year-round. Whatever your personal situation, these natural treatment for allergies options may help you avoid taking medications and dealing with potential side effects.
1. Invest in a HEPA filter.
A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is an excellent way to minimize dust allergies, as well as the physical number of dust mites and other airborne allergens in your environment.
2. Eat more omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega 3s have a lengthy list of overall health benefits, but they are particularly beneficial for the immune system and in reducing inflammation. That means the body’s response to allergies and asthma — as well as allergic reactions — could be vastly improved just by eating healthy fats.
3. Reduce your exposure to allergens.
A simple way to prevent having a severe allergic reaction is to avoid allergens. Stay inside when it’s dry or windy, for example, or when you know the pollen count is high. This completely eliminates the chances of needing over-the-counter medication or having a reaction such as difficulty breathing.
4. Consume an antioxidant-rich diet.
Treatment for allergies antioxidants found in many common foods and supplements are powerful in improving the body’s immune system. Specifically, they decrease histamine levels and in turn improve lung function, acting as a natural antihistamine allergy treatment. To boost your antioxidant intake, simply eat more fruits such as berries, citrus, cantaloupe, and guava. This also goes a long way in improving the overall health of the gut microbiome, which can decrease inflammation, boost the immune system, and even improve energy levels.
5. Rinse with a saline solution.
Rinsing your nasal cavities with a simple saline solution is an excellent alternative to over-the-counter medication treatment for allergies. Fill a squeeze bottle or neti pot with a saline solution and filtered water, then simply rinse to help alleviate signs and symptoms of allergies.
Note: You should schedule an appointment with your doctor if your allergy symptoms become so severe that they prevent you from carrying out day-to-day activities. He or she may run allergy tests to determine the next steps or may even refer you to an allergist who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma.To speak with an expert about your questions or concerns relating to natural allergy remedies, contact Dr. Karen Threlkel today. Dr. Threlkel takes a holistic, whole-self approach to immune system health and even offers virtual appointments!