8 Things You Can Do to Battle Seasonal Allergies (Beyond Taking a Benadryl)
Ah, spring—time for one-shoulder dresses, alfresco dining and putting rosé back on the menu. (Who are we kidding? It never really left.) But if you’re one of the roughly 7 percent of U.S. adults who suffer from seasonal allergies, this time of year also comes with a host of unpleasant symptoms. Here, eight remedies (beyond taking an antihistamine) that could help. See ya, sniffles.
Know Whether It’s Allergies or a Cold
Your nose is stuffy, your eyes are tearing up and people have given up on saying “bless you” every time you sneeze. Classic allergy symptoms, right? Maybe…but you could also be battling a cold. Check your symptoms here and conduct your drugstore shopping trip accordingly.
Minimize your contact with pollen as much as possible. That means shutting your windows (use an air conditioner to cool your home instead), wearing sunglasses outdoors, taking your shoes off at the door (psst… it’s totally OK to ask your guests to do the same), using a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter in your bedroom and cleaning floors with a vacuum that also has a HEPA filter. Oh, and consider your allergies permission to delegate gardening chores to someone else—hey, doctor’s orders.
Shower Before Bed
At the end of the day, take off and wash any clothing that you’ve worn outside (but don’t line-dry them, since they’ll collect pollen) and hop in the shower to remove pollen from your skin and hair.
Try a Saline Rinse
Rinsing your nasal passages with a saline solution (aka nasal irrigation) doesn’t sound too pleasant, but it’s an effective (and budget-friendly) way to relieve congestion. Here’s how to do it: Fill a neti pot (a small vessel with a spout) with distilled water and salt. You’ll want to follow the instructions on the box, but the idea is that as liquid flows into one nostril and then out the other, it flushes mucus and allergens out in the process.
Consider Alternative Treatments
When it comes to natural remedies, the butterbur plant is a well-researched favorite. In fact, one Swiss study found that extract of butterbur may even work as well as antihistamine medicines. There’s also some research to suggest that eating turmeric may ease allergy symptoms. (Just speak to your doctor before trying it, OK?)
And yep, this counts for e-cigarette users, too. Smoking irritates the lining of your nasal passages and airways, further aggravating allergy symptoms. (But you knew this one already, right?)
Sipping extra liquids could help thin out the mucus in your nasal passages and lessen symptoms. Hot liquids (like tea or broth) are especially beneficial, as the steam can also help ease a stuffy nose. Note: This doesn’t apply to alcohol, which could actually worsen symptoms, our friends at Prevention tell us. (Sorry.)
Here’s the theory: Consuming honey made by bees in your area helps to relieve allergies, because eating little bit of the pollen from flowers around you means you’ll gradually become inoculated against it. And while one small study from Finland did find that symptoms improved in participants who ate pollen-laced honey, other studies have found little to zero effect. But hey, it can’t hurt to add a teaspoon to your tea, right? (Or whipped cream—yum.)