Have you noticed that there is a lot more sneezing going on this spring? Perhaps our elongated winter weather has caused a greater than average output of pollen. Of course there may be other causes as well.
Whatever the cause, most allergy sufferers are ready for some relief.
Although these tips are not guaranteed to resolve all allergy issues, they can be quite helpful for some and they are low cost or free, so they are worth a try.
1. Take a shower. Twice. If you are a shower-only-in-the-morning kind of person you may want to try taking a quick rinse in the afternoon or whenever you get home from work. Washing off the pollen and other allergens you have come into contact with during the day can be helpful.
2. Use a nasal irrigator. I have mentioned these handy devices in previous columns and I mention them again here for only one reason: they work. For years an ancient little item called a Neti pot has been favored by some to rinse the nasal channels. Recently the introduction of an inexpensive product called the NeilMed sinus rinse device has gained my recommendation. It is so simple to use and effective that I highly recommend this for anyone that has allergy symptoms. It works much better than a Neti pot.
3. Practice deep breathing. When you are experiencing stuffy nose, this may seem impossible. However, if you are able to experience any passage of air through the nose, try slow, very deep breathing exercises. You may have to do the nose breathing in between gasps for air through the mouth at first. Surprisingly, this exercise can sometimes serve to open the nasal air passages effectively.
4. Watch a very funny video or have a laughing contest with a child. Stress causes allergy symptoms to worsen. Laughter reduces stress. Laughter also can dilate the air passages to allow greater air flow. Besides, it’s fun.
5. Try some hot, spicy food. Spicy food also dilates the air passages. Unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from eating spicy food it is worth adding a dash of hot sauce or other spicy component to your meals for a while to see how you respond. Warm fluids also help, so hot and sour soup may be just the ticket.
Allergies may be affected by a wide range of factors.
For example, various foods have been implicated in the allergy response. In addition, food additives have been suspected of causing or worsening of allergy symptoms. Unless you grow all of your food in your own organic garden, you really have no idea what additives may have been involved in the growing, harvesting, storing or preparing of your food. The list of possibilities is enormous and always growing.
Environmental chemicals are a possible problem for many, too. Even in our homes every surface and product in our home is constantly off-gassing various chemicals into the air. Although we seek refuge in our home from natural allergens such as pollen, we may be inadvertently subjecting ourselves to more risk from indoor air pollution.
Numerous sources including the Environmental Protection Agency have stated that indoor air pollution is often a greater problem than outdoor air pollution.
It may be a great time to thoroughly clean and air out your home. In this case, a thorough cleaning may even include damp sponging the walls.
Air duct cleaning has proven very helpful for many allergy patients. Research to find a reputable company that will clean the entire HVAC system and avoid damaging your equipment in the process.
To help reduce indoor air pollution, free-standing or central HEPA filtrations systems can be a valuable aid. However, if you have pets that are constantly shedding or fail to do a thorough cleaning of your home, the effectiveness of these filtration devices may be limited.
Reducing the exposure to allergens is just one way to reduce allergies. Some medical treatments work to reduce the allergic response so that you don’t have to be as concerned about coming into contact with allergens. Allergy shots have been effective for many, but require repetitive treatments that can be expensive, uncomfortable and time-consuming.
In our office acupuncture has been highly effective for some in resolving allergy problems. In some cases the patient has been able to discontinue using medications altogether.
If you have problems with allergies don’t give up hope. Keep searching for the answer that is right for you.