Spring has sprung, daffodils are getting ready to bloom, the birds are nesting, and you can’t stop sneezing. Seasonal allergies are common in the springtime and can begin as early as February. Over-the-counter allergy medications like Zyrtec, and Allegra, or the many allergy nose sprays available work well for many people, but long-term use can be problematic.
Allergy pills can cause sleepiness even if they say they’re non-drowsy, and for some people, they can irritate depression symptoms. Nose sprays often contain steroids which can be harmful to mucus membranes and, in sensitive individuals, cause elevated eye pressures. Feeling like you have a head cold for three months isn’t an appealing option either. Luckily, there are several natural, side-effect-free ways to calm your allergies. Here are six options to try:
1. Nasal Cleansing
We know that spraying salt water up your nose may sound uncomfortable, and to be honest, it is. It’s also one of those things that becomes less uncomfortable the more you do it, and if you can’t breathe through your nose, it’s worth it.
There are several nasal cleansing devices on the market. Most of them are easy to find in the pharmacy section of your favorite store. They all work the same way. You fill the device with sterile water (such as distilled water or water you’ve boiled for 3 to 5 minutes), add the included saline packet, and mix well. Then you insert the tip of the device into one nostril, tip your head down and slightly to the opposite side (over a sink), and spray the solution into your nose. The water should come out of the other nostril. Repeat on the other side.
Nasal cleansing works wonders for stuffy noses caused by colds or allergies. It can also help to prevent allergy symptoms. Use the device after you come indoors to clean the pollen out of your nose.
Despite slight discomfort, nasal cleansing is safe and side-effect-free for most people as long as it’s done properly. You must use sanitary water and clean the device after each use. If you are prone to nose bleeds, you may want to avoid nasal cleansing, but some people find that it reduces nose bleeds by moisturizing dry sinuses.
2. Chiropractic Care
Allergies are caused by an immune system dysfunction. Your immune system incorrectly identifies harmless particles like pollen and cat dander as threats and attacks them. Part of this attack is a release of a chemical called histamine that promotes inflammation. Chiropractic adjustments realign the spine so that the nervous system can work optimally; this, in turn, helps your immune system to be at its best.
Several studies have shown the immune regulating effects of chiropractic adjustment. People who receive regular chiropractic care have a 200% greater immune competence than those who don’t.
Allergies can also irritate asthma symptoms. Many people with asthma have misaligned vertebrae in the upper back. Fixing these misalignments can reduce asthma symptoms even during allergy season.
3. Herbal Remedies
There are several herbs that help to decrease histamine in the body and regulate the immune system. Butterbur is one of the most studied and most effective herbs for seasonal allergies. It has also proven effective for preventing migraines. Butterbur is a natural antihistamine, and one study showed that it was just as effective in preventing allergy symptoms as cetirizine (brand name Zyrtec) without causing drowsiness.
Stinging nettle is another well-studied remedy for allergies and inflammation in general. Stinging nettle not only has potent anti-inflammatory capabilities, it’s also chock full of vitamins and minerals.
Quercetin is a chemical naturally found in onions, garlic, and apples. It reduces histamine in the body and is an effective choice for allergy sufferers. You can get more quercetin by increasing your intake of foods that contain it or by taking a supplement.
Many herbal allergy remedies contain a combination of quercetin, stinging nettle, butterbur, and other allergy-fighting herbs and nutrients. These herbal remedies are safe for most people, but you should check with your doctor if you have any serious health conditions or are pregnant or nursing. Since the FDA does not regulate herbal supplements, it’s important to choose brands that utilize third-party testing to confirm potency and safety. We recommend asking your holistic health care provider about Metagenics Sinuplex Formula.
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting hair-fine needles into specific areas of the body. The goal is to open closed energy pathways and rebalance the body’s energy, known as qi. Studies have shown that regular acupuncture treatments can reduce common allergy symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes, eczema, and inflammation.
The needles used in acupuncture are so small that most people don’t feel them being inserted. When done by a licensed practitioner, acupuncture is a very safe treatment for allergies and other systemic problems.
5. Try a detox
The immune system can’t work optimally if your liver is overloaded. A diet high in processed foods and alcohol can put stress on liver function and lead to a build-up of toxins in the body. These toxins encourage inflammation and disrupt the immune system.
You can detox your system by avoiding alcohol, and foods that are high in fat, sugar and chemical additives. Try substituting foods that support liver function. Citrus fruits, artichoke, and nuts are naturally cleansing and supportive to the liver. Supplements like milk thistle have been proven to cleanse the liver and help it recover. You can also drink warm lemon water in the morning or add more turmeric to your diet.
Adding healthy foods to your diet is good for your overall health and won’t cause side effects. If you are thinking of using an herbal supplement to support your cleanse, ask your doctor first, especially if you take medications or have serious liver problems.
6. Change Your Cleaning Habits
Allergens stick to hair and can easily transfer to pillowcases and sheets. Changing your pillowcase every few nights and your sheets once a week can cut down on allergy symptoms. It can be difficult to distinguish indoor allergies from outdoor allergies. Many people are allergic to dust mites. Dusting and vacuuming more often can get rid of dust mites, dander, and any pollen that may have come in from outside. It’s also important to change out your HVAC filter regularly. If you live in a humid climate, a dehumidifier can reduce allergies caused by mold and mildew.
If you are struggling with allergy symptoms, our Chiropractors in Kentucky can help. We have experience treating allergies and asthma with a combination of chiropractic adjustment and nutritional supplements. We will provide you with a personalized treatment plan to improve your allergy symptoms and overall health.