Seasonal allergies can be awful and somewhat debilitating, depending on what Mother Nature decides to throw at us.
If there’s one thing most Americans can count on, it’s suffering from some sort of seasonal allergy every year. Once the trees and grasses start blooming in the late winter/early spring, the suffering begins. I moved from Northern Virginia to north Georgia in February 2001. When I lived in Virginia, my nose really started gearing up once those trees started blooming. Soon after moving to Georgia, many of the people I talked to warned me about spring pollen and allergies. They said they never had bad allergies until moving to Georgia, no matter where they moved from. It was awful and horrible and they’d never had it worse. Alright, whatever, take some Benadryl and get on with your day. Turns out, the first spring I was here, I hardly suffered from allergies at all. I found out I had cancer but no allergies! That’s a subject for a different post. I really don’t suffer from seasonal allergies too much, thankfully! I guess Georgia agrees with me.
Spring and Fall, we hear all the drug and OTC medicine commercials about histamine blockers and antihistamine products but what is histamine? Histamine is basically a biochemical released by our bodies when our immune system loses it’s mind over substances in our environment and goes in to combat mode. What is it combatting? Substances that it sees as viruses or bacteria.
Over the Counter (OTC) medications tend to make me feel very strange. I almost feel like I’m buzzed from having too many drinks. About 16 years ago, I just quit taking OTC allergy medications and only if I had a really bad cold, would I take cold medications. I simply hated the way they made me feel. I looked into natural ways to treat season allergies as well as boosting my immune system. That’s really all the OTC medications are doing anyway, treating the symptoms. I am by no means a doctor and am certainly not qualified to give medical advice but I absolutely love sharing the things I have found that work for my family and me. My daffodils have come up so spring must be on the way. I’m getting my allergy combat plan in order now.
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Just a few things to keep in your toolbox
What’s Going Down In Our House:
Water – drink lots of water to flush toxins out of your system. Water helps to thin out mucus making it easier to expel.
Ginger – ginger lowers risk of infection and helps to break down the toxin buildup in organs. Any hot tea with ginger and a bit of local honey is always a go-to in our house.
*NetiPot and salt water – salt increases circulation and helps reduce inflammation. Effectively relieves nasal congestion and flushes out that pesky mucus.
Hot Bath – taking a hot bath with Epsom salt, baking soda and a few drops of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils can help to relax you as well as draw toxins out of the body.
Real Local Honey – consuming real local honey is said to expose your body to local pollens thereby making it less sensitive to them. Honey is a great swap for refined sugar.
Cut Refined sugars – we try our best to eliminate refined sugar anyway but especially during allergy and cold season. Refined sugar lowers your immune system thereby making it work harder.
Lemon – loosens mucus and is a good source of Vitamin C to give your immune system a boost. Lemon also helps to support the lymphatic and immune systems by reducing inflammation as well as stimulates the production of white blood cells.
Elderberry Syrup – the elderberry contains chemical compounds called anthocyanidins. Apparently, these suckers have immunostimulant effects which means they stimulate an immune response.
*Diffuse Essential Oils – we diffuse peppermint, lemon, and lavender when the pollen counts are high or anyone is suffering from allergies or a cold. Peppermint helps to relax the nasal muscles and unclog the sinuses. This helps your body get rid of all the mucus that’s built up. Peppermint can also help a scratchy throat. Lavender is an antihistamine, helps to reduce inflammation, and calm painful allergy symptoms.
Himalayan & Sea Salt – add these to your dishes when cooking, they are loaded with magnesium, potassium, calcium, and more than 60 other trace minerals to give your immune system a boost.
Bromelain – found in pineapple, this enzyme helps alleviate coughing. It’s anti-inflammatory and helps to lower the swelling in the respiratory system. Another benefit, it helps reduce mucus production.
Vitamin C – Our body’s Vitamin C level regulates the release of histamine. If our level is low, histamine levels increase, if our level is high, histamine levels remain in check. Our bodies don’t make Vitamin C so we need it from fruits and vegetables or take a supplement. Good sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits, red and yellow peppers, kiwi, broccoli, and more. Adults should consume no more than 2000mg/day.
*Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps fight infection and affects hormone balance, however, recent research shows low Vitamin D levels are linked to an increase in respiratory illnesses. Our main source of Vitamin D is sunlight exposure however, we spend so much time inside and when we are outside, we’ve (hopefully) put on our sunscreen so we’re not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun. There also aren’t too many foods rich in Vitamin D so we’re not getting it in our diets.
Years ago, we eliminated all of the toxic cleaning products from our home. Toxic chemicals, found in cleaning products, as well as laundry detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets all, contribute to seasonal allergies and asthma. All of these toxins can overload your immune system making it work even harder. We use Norwex products in our home. I highly recommend cleaning with microfiber and other Norwex products.
What I’m looking to add to my toolkit:
Bee Pollen – reduces histamine thereby reducing inflammation.
Apple Cider Vinegar – helps break-up and reduce mucus in the body.
Quercetin – is a flavonol (a flavonol is a phytochemical produced by plants that is an active antioxidant fighting inflammation and neutralizing free radicals). It’s found in onions, capers, kale, cilantro, cranberries, sweet potatoes, apples, etc as well as supplements.
Chamomile Tea – after you drink it, put the used tea bags in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Then put one on the affected eye (or eyes) for at least 10 minutes, 3-4 times per day. It will help calm itchy eyes.
My husband gets a flu shot every year but I am just not sold on it. Therefore, my kids and I don’t get it. We have been taking elderberry syrup all winter to support our immune systems and hopefully keep the flu away.
My goal is not to overwhelm but to share options.
Generally, from March through May, we are diffusing essential oils in the house, not constantly but let’s just say the diffusers get their fair share of use. Aside from drinking lots of water, diffusing, taking a Vitamin D supplement, and making sure we eat enough foods rich in Vitamin C, I treat symptoms as needed.
We don’t do all of these at the same time in our house, they are just what I keep in my toolkit so I am prepared when everything starts blooming and/or there’s a funk going around school.
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? How do you cope? Let me know in the comments below.