If you or anyone you know has ever had hay fever or seasonal allergies, you'll know how discomforting it can be, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are a handful of simple, natural remedies that can provide effective relief so that you can continue to enjoy life comfortably as the seasons change.
These natural solutions help ease itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and even a persistent runny nose. Also, they can help soothe swelling around the eyes that is usually associated with hay fever and allergies.
And the best thing of all about these remedies, is that you can get the benefits, without having to depend on over-the-counter drugs or antihistamines.
What Causes Hay Fever?
Hay fever is most frequently caused by breathing in plant pollens such as ragweed and grass pollen, or due to exposure to airborne pathogens, toxins and dust particles.
Hay fever is a reaction of the mucous membranes of the air passages, eyes and nose and symptoms typically include headaches, itching in the eyes, throat and/or pain in the sinuses.
A clear, watery discharge from the nose and eyes is the most common irritation of someone suffering from hay fever, or sneezing and nervous irritability.
What About Allergies?
Airborne particles are often called environmental allergens.
Some examples of airborne particles that can cause allergies in people include animal dander; such as flakes of dried scaly skin, dried saliva from your pets and dust mites that live inside your home.
One of the most widespread and troublesome chemicals that can contribute to airborne allergies is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is commonly found in household structural items including carpets, insulation, particleboard and plaster.
Antibiotics and medications used to treat infections are the main types of drugs that cause allergic reactions.
Other common causes include overexposure to chemicals found in cosmetics, laundry detergents, household cleaning products, dyes, pesticides and sprays.
Here are our top recommended natural allergy relief remedies that you should consider, whenever you have signs of hay fever or allergies or as the seasons change.
1. Expose yourself to clean moving air
While it’s not always possible to remove the risk of hay fever and allergies, you can absolutely reduce your exposure to them by ensuring that you have moving air in your environment - particularly when you sleep.
Good ventilation will help prevent airborne allergens from settling into your carpet and furniture. Use a good air filter, a ceiling fan (which effectively draws in and traps dust and other airborne particles) and vacuum daily to make it easier to breathe in your living quarters. Also, allow the air to circulate freely throughout your home by keeping the windows and doors open often.
It's also a good idea to remove dust-causing culprits wherever possible, like carpets and heavy drapes, and that can include your pets.
Reduce the amount of time they spend indoors if you are particularly susceptible to allergies and bathe your dog regularly. If you are prone to hay fever or allergies and your pets tend to malt often, it's best to reduce their time in your bedroom and to keep them off your furniture as much as you can.
Yes, it can be difficult to retrain our beloved furry friends, but it's a helpful factor to reduce your susceptibility to these types of pesky reactions.
2. Try a Nasal Rinse or Spray
It might be off-putting at first, but a nasal rinse is one of the most powerful natural allergy relief remedies. It is a simple protocol that can work wonders to flush allergens when you’re in the height of hay fever or allergy season.
Simply add 1/2 teaspoon of fine celtic salt to 1 cup of distilled water and mix until the salt is dissolved. Pour into a small glass spray bottle and gently spray to flush out your sinuses. Use as often as you need during allergy season and it will also help to clear out pollens and other irritants from your sinuses.
The reason salt helps, is because salt is a natural antihistamine and anti viral compound, meaning when you inhale it, it can help alleviate your allergies and reduce irritation.
Another wonderfully effective and handy solution is our ever popular Breathe EZ Decongestant Nasal Spray. Breathe EZ is an ultra convenient solution that features respiratory cleansing essential oils and natural ingredients. Take Breathe Ez with you wherever you go for immediate relief whenever you have respiratory discomfort.
3. Use Heat and Steam
Just like when you have a cold or flu, a hot shower, hot baths featuring epsom salts, traditional or infrared saunas and steam room sessions, can each work wonders in relieving respiratory inflammation, clearing the airways and extracting any mucus. This will help you feel less stuffy and miserable.
Hot showers also help remove any pollen from your body that can attach whilst outdoors, so if you're doing lots of outdoor activity for any length of time, a shower as soon as you get home can help prevent pollen buildup in your home environment.
Additionally, avoid dampness and keep towels and sheets fresh and dry, whilst bathrooms should be well ventilated with a dehumidifier if necessary.
4. Eat Mindfully
If you are susceptible to allergic reactions or hay fever, consider reducing your consumption of certain inflammatory foods which will only add to the burden your body is trying to eliminate.
The following foods should be avoided, at least temporarily, until the condition clears:
- Processed meats and dairy products
- Refined sugars and products containing refined sugar
- Processed wheat and flour
- Hydrogenated oils and trans fats, commonly found in takeaway, frozen and fast foods.
The primary reason to avoid these foods whilst you're suffering from hay fever or allergies, is that they can place an additional toxic load on your body, at a time when it is trying to resist and rid itself of offending invaders.
You should also cut down on alcohol - particularly spirits - as it can worsen hay fever symptoms. If you're going to consume alcohol, try to stick with preservative-free wines and unfiltered, naturally fermented, preservative-free beers.
The following food tips can help speed up relief from symptoms of hay fever and allergies:
- 1 tablespoon of local, raw organic honey per day
- Cooking with plenty of natural spices such as fresh chilis, garlic, ginger and turmeric can help thin out the build up of mucous
- Vitamin C rich fruits like pineapple, oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes will help build immunity and reduce inflammation
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the morning mixed with a glass of clean water is a natural powerhouse that can aid in breaking up mucous, boosting the immune system and supporting lymphatic drainage.
5. Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids
You may have heard that you should get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids into your diet - and for good reason!
They’re essential for many of your body’s functions, supporting cardiovascular health, nerve function, reducing inflammation, boosting memory and releasing plaque from the blood.
But omega-3 fatty acids also have another surprising benefit: they can help reduce the effects of hay fever.
The anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3's help protect against asthma and hay fever, allergies and asthma.
Great plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flaxseed oil, chia seeds and hemp seeds.
Snack on walnuts, prepare chia puddings with your favourite nut milk and/or take 1-3 tablespoons each day of flaxseed oil to ensure you're getting enough Omega 3's.
Learn more in our blog: Respiratory System: Whole Foods that Target Respiratory Health
6. Reduce Your Toxic Load
It's a little known fact that some of the most common causes of allergies and respiratory conditions, are the everyday in laundry detergents, cosmetics and household cleaning products you use that contain harmful chemicals.
Avoid these by switching to natural products that are readily available in good health food stores these days.
The trick is to reduce big-brand commercial products and look for ones that are more consciously created with your health and the environment in mind. By reducing the chemical load that plays havoc with your immune system and hormones, you will go a long way to helping to reduce hay fever and allergy symptoms.
7. Pure Essential Oils
Essential Oils are an absolute must if you want to support your overall best health and to keep respiratory challenges at bay.
They help purify the air you breathe and support your respiratory system in a very powerful way because of the natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial compounds that these potent plant extracts contain.
Essential Oils are derived purely from the leaves, flowers, bark and resin of plants which are even more concentrated in terms of their compounds, than the plants themselves.
Essential Oils such as Tea Tree, Lemon, Eucalyptus and Peppermint can work wonders for purifying the air in your home, counteracting airborne chemicals that may be circulating and for providing maximum support in restoring healthy respiratory function.
The Main Takeaway
Hay fever and allergies can bring your everyday life to an irritating and grinding halt if you don't know how to protect against and manage these conditions.
By being more aware as the seasons change about what causes these types of irritations and the simple steps you can take, you will be better prepared to support your respiratory system and deal with any symptoms as they arise.
As always, if you can manage things with a Self Care approach rather than resorting to synthetic medications, you'll avoid side-effects and you'll go a long way to dealing with the problem quickly and easily as nature intended.
Tolman Self Care.