April showers bring May flowers, but as too many of us know, they also bring us seasonal allergies. As the world starts to bloom so too do our allergies, which can keep us from enjoying our time in the warm weather outdoors. In fact, in 2012, it was reported that 11.1 million people were diagnosed with allergic rhinitis—also known as hay fever or seasonal allergies. Yet, researchers think that nasal allergies actually affect approximately 50 million people in the U.S.
Allergic rhinitis occurs when our immune system reacts to particles in the air that we breathe. Whether it’s grasses, weeds, trees or pollen that trigger our immune system. In turn, our body produces histamines, to try to fend off these particles. Histamines are what cause the allergic reaction such as sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes. Hence, we often take antihistamines to quell the allergic reaction.
So what to do about allergies? Allergies can’t really be cured, but we can learn to manage them better. In the worst case scenarios people take allergy shots, but this can be an expensive process that takes place over a lengthy period of time. Over the counter medicine is also an option, but that can also leave you feeling drowsy or not so great in other ways. Here are some natural ways to consider, to help you manage your allergies this season.
Clean your house.
Yup, it’s as simple as spring cleaning. Dust, mites, animal fur or dander can all contribute to allergies. These are common allergens that can also trigger an immune response. If your immune system is already compromised when spring rolls around, it will be harder to fight off seasonal allergies.
Watch what you eat.
If you have food allergies that are not under control then they could be taxing your immune system as well. Or if you’re eating a diet that is rich in foods that trigger inflammation, such as sugar, then your body will also be compromised. Likewise, there are foods that can help reduce or block the body’s histamine reaction. These include foods that are rich in bioflavonoids, such as quercetin. These are colorful fruits and veggies, such as red, yellow and orange peppers, cherries, broccoli and citrus fruits.
Maintain a supplement routine.
A multi-vitamin that includes Vitamins A, C, E and the Vitamin B-Complex, along with magnesium can help quell the body’s inflammation and histamine response while also supporting the immune system. Vitamin C taken with bioflavonoids is thought to best fight the histamine reaction.
Sleep, exercise, relax.
Need we remind you again what your immune system needs? Lots of regular sleep. As well, exercise to help you alleviate stress. Lack of sleep and stress all contribute to a compromised immune system.
If things are really bad and pollen appears to be snowing outside, then you might have to temporarily spend a little more time indoors. Time to take up baking, read a good book, or work through those movies you’ve always wanted to watch!