Allergies sometimes seem to come out of nowhere, and the symptoms of a reaction can run the full gamut from slight watering of the eyes and a dry cough to sinus pressure-induced migraines. This can be mildly irritating, uncomfortable to deal with, or downright debilitating for allergy sufferers, many of whom can wind up afflicted for months at a time.
There is hope, though! The first thing to know is that there are natural ways to treat allergies, especially if you know what you are allergic to. The second thing is that there are many lifestyle adjustments you can make to mitigate your exposure to allergens, thus helping to lessen your symptoms and make allergy attacks more bearable.
This guide will help you navigate the difficult world of allergies, plus help you learn how you can treat allergies holistically.
Understanding Environmental Allergic Reactions
You have likely heard your friends, family members, or coworkers mention allergies, and you may suffer from some of the same issues yourself. Allergic reactions happen when your body does its part to protect against irritants and toxins entering your pores, nasal passages, mouth, ears, and other possible entrance points.
Your immune system then reacts to these invaders, releasing histamines that trigger coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and more to help your body expel the toxins as soon as possible. Some of the most common allergies include:
- Pollen, hay fever, and seasonal allergic rhinitis
- Pet dander or hair
- Mold and mildew
- Bees, cockroaches, dust mites, fire ants, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets
The reactions to allergies can span from slight runny noses and dry cough to anaphylaxis, which means it is very important to understand the severity of yours and have measures in place to treat allergies (especially for severe reactions, if they may be possible). Those with asthma or who have experienced anaphylaxis in the past should carry epinephrine or other prescribed medications in case of emergency.
8 Holistic Ways to Treat Allergies
Knowing what you are allergic to is the first step to mitigating allergy issues. The next is taking personal and lifestyle steps to lower your risk of exposure and alleviate the severity of your symptoms when they emerge. Here are some easy ways to treat allergies holistically:
1. Herbal Remedies
There are many herbal supplements and vitamins that have had proven positive effects against issues related to allergies, including garlic, astragalus, reishi, nettle, onions, and butterbur. Your naturopathic physician will be able to recommend which ones will be best for you and the dosages that will be appropriate to assist in alleviating your allergy-related discomfort.
2. Better Cleaning Regimens
One common reason that allergy seasons end up seeming much worse is because all those particles from outdoors — including pollens, dust, molds, mildews, and other irritants — snag on your clothing, hair, shoes, bags, and other belongings and end up getting brought into your home. They are then deposited on your other soft surfaces, meaning over time even your household possessions begin to trigger allergic responses.
Be sure to have your home deep cleaned (maybe even by a professional cleaner) a few times per year to have these irritants removed, plus change your air filters and take up a regular dusting (twice a week is ideal) and vacuuming routine to keep such deposits at a minimum. Using better cleaning products, including those made from natural cleaning agents, can also help treat allergies.
3. Essential Oils
The first thing to note here is that not all essential oils are created equal, but those that are certified 100% therapeutic grade can be helpful for treating allergies. Blending peppermint, lavender, and lemon together for aromatherapy can help clear the sinuses and reduce inflammation.
4. Local Organic Honey
Many allergy sufferers swear by consuming local organic honey because it is created using the very plants to which many people are allergic. The idea is that consuming the honey helps your body build up an immunity to the allergens that will then ease your symptoms come allergy season. This only works with local honey, however. Honey from Oregon will not be as effective against those in Florida, for example.
5. Steam Therapy
Those suffering from clogged sinuses during allergy season may find relief in the steam from a hot shower or by boiling water and breathing the steam. The warmth and moisture assists in loosening clogged sinuses and helping move the irritants out of your sinus cavities. This is a simple and free option to help treat allergies.
6. Upgrade Your Bedding
Many people do not know that their bedding absorbs outside allergens like dust and pollen, or that their mattresses are essentially sponges for those items as well as pet dander, dust mites, dead skin cells, and other nasties. That mattress might also be made from substances that are triggering your immune system to respond to an allergen. Switching to hypoallergenic mattresses and bedding may help sufferers find relief.
7. Groom Your Pets
Pet dander is a common allergen, but pets also bring all types of outdoor allergy stimulants into the home. Regular brushing, bathing with oatmeal soap to keep skin supple, and supplements for skin and coat will keep your pets from contributing to your allergy problems. Regularly vacuuming your floors and dusting your hard surfaces will also help keep dander and fur-related issues to a minimum.
8. Wash Your Hands and Face Often
Those working to overcome a cold or avoid getting the latest bug often wash their hands and faces to keep the germs at bay, but they may not know that the same tactics can help alleviate allergies. If you have come into contact with a known allergy trigger, wash your hands and face immediately. This may help the spores from entering your skin and orifices, thereby helping to circumvent an allergic response.
Find a Solution for Your Allergies
If you are suffering from allergies and in search of natural remedies that might help alleviate your symptoms or make common allergy seasons more bearable, Dr. Karen Threlkel can help. She is a devoted naturopathic doctor with a passion for helping her patients achieve wellness through a balanced, holistic approach to healthcare. Contact her office to set up an appointment to discuss your allergy-related concerns and options to treat allergies today.