Every time March rolls around, millions of people begin to have to face their dreaded spring allergies. Allergic rhinitis, which encompasses the typical symptoms of a runny nose and sneezing, affects 5-11% of the population. If you are tired of popping antihistamines every few hours or simply want some additional options for allergy relief, here are seven tried-and-true methods.
1. Wash Your Hair Before Going to Bed
Washing your hair every night is a simple way to reduce your exposure to pollen. Every time you go outside, some pollen from the air sticks to your hair and skin. You then take it inside with you. If you then go to bed without showering and washing your hair, you end up bringing all that pollen to your bedsheets and breathing it in while you sleep. If you do this repeatedly, your sheets and pillowcases will be so saturated with pollen that you might as well sleep in a flowerbed! Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But it is important to consistently wash your hair as well as your sheets. If you really prefer not to wash your hair every single night, you should at least rinse it thoroughly and comb it out.
2. Close the Windows
Even though the warm spring breeze is tempting, it is a bad idea to let outdoor air into the house if you have problems with allergies. This is probably common sense, but people often just think about the instant gratification of nice weather. They forget that the lovely weather comes hand-in-hand with the full force of allergy season. It is up to you to decide whether enjoying the breeze is worth sniffling and sneezing later. If you absolutely must have the windows open sometimes, make sure to clean the house frequently to eliminate the pollen that has undoubtedly gotten in.
3. Take Vitamin C Supplements
Everyone knows that vitamin C is important for a healthy immune system. It turns out that it works as an antihistamine as well. You can take daily supplements or easily get all your vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. This is a great alternative if you prefer not to ingest something artificial like an over-the-counter antihistamine.
4. Eat Something Spicy
Adding some cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or another spicy condiment to your lunch is a great way to clear up congestion. If you enjoy spicy food, this is a great excuse to eat it all season long. Another great option is to drink spicy ginger tea between meals.
5. Exercise and Follow a Healthy Diet
Exercising has long been known to improve your immune system. If you exercise regularly, you will be less affected by allergens than if you are sedentary. Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is also helpful because nutrient deficiencies can weaken the immune system. You want your immune system to be as robust as possible so that you can tolerate pollen better.
6. Clean Out Your Nasal Passages with Saltwater
You can use either a pre-packaged nasal spray or a neti pot to clean out your nose and eliminate congestion. Neti pots are becoming increasingly popular because they are so effective. They are easy to use, but make sure you use only distilled water in them. There have been cases of people getting nasty infections from microorganisms in their tap water.
7. Use an Air Filter
You can put a portable HEPA filter into a room to clean the air, or you can install a filter into the air conditioning system to effectively eliminate pollen throughout the house. Even without a special filter, running the air conditioner by itself can help reduce pollen indoors.