Spring is finally here — and so are the allergens. If you’re tired of dealing with pesky pollen and can’t stand the thought of sneezing your head off this season, you might need to get serious about attacking your allergies. But other than taking over-the-counter pills or using nasal sprays, what else can you do? A lot, as it turns out. And while these adjustments aren’t huge, they can provide significant relief for your respiratory passages. Here are some simple solutions that’ll nip your springtime allergies in the bud.
Do Some Cleaning
Spring cleaning may not be your idea of fun, but it can be the very thing to stop your sniffles in their tracks. Since studies show that organic compound levels can average two to five times higher indoors than outdoors, it’s no surprise that inhaling these contaminants can contribute to health problems. By establishing and maintaining a thorough cleaning schedule, you may be able to keep your allergies at bay.
Dusting and vacuuming on a regular basis can help to remove lots of contaminants (especially if you have a vacuum with a HEPA filter). Bagless vacuums should always be emptied outside to minimize the amount of dust that is re-released into the air inside your home. You should also wash your bed linens in hot water once a week to get rid of any pollen buildup. If you dry your laundry on the line, consider investing in a clothes rack rather than hanging them outside where pollen can take hold. You may also want to consider wearing a mask while cleaning to alleviate any symptoms that could flare up due to the dust and debris.
It might sound basic (and even unrealistic), but staying indoors when the pollen count is high can be one of the most effective ways to get some relief. Pollen counts are typically at their highest between 5 am and 10 am, so you should definitely stay indoors when possible before noon. Dryer, windier days are also bad for allergy sufferers, but rainy days are good for clearing the air. When you do go outside, make sure to remove your shoes and clothing upon your return. You may want to take a shower at night to remove any pollen from your hair, which will help to keep it away from your bed linens.
In general, you’ll also want to avoid doing yard work. Although well-maintained trees and shrubs can increase your property values by up to 14%, doing your landscaping yourself won’t necessarily help your health. Although you can opt to wear disposable gloves and a mask, it may behoove you to recruit a family member (or pay a professional) to help with the upkeep.
Try Some Natural Remedies
That said, not everything that comes from the great outdoors is a threat to your respiratory relief. In fact, there are some excellent natural remedies you may want to try. Bee pollen and local honey are thought to help with allergies; while honey can acclimate your body to the potential allergens in your area, bee pollen has been used as a medicine due to its high levels of vitamins, nutrients, amino acids, and other components that can boost your immune system and offer relief from allergy symptoms. Stinging nettles, chickweed, and cleavers may also reduce allergy symptoms when consumed, as they can help to fight inflammation.
Speaking of consuming things, you may want to take a closer look at your diet. High-histamine foods can make allergy symptoms much worse, so you may want to avoid certain seafoods, cured meats, fermented foods, and produce like bananas, pineapple, citrus fruits, and spinach. You may also want to limit your alcohol consumption, refrain from aggressive dieting, take a probiotic, and incorporate apple cider vinegar into your routine.
Replace Your HVAC Filters
If you’re staying inside with your doors and windows closed (and we recommend that you do for allergy relief), you’ll likely need to use your AC unit to stay comfortable. Nearly 87% of U.S. households have air conditioning, which can help to eliminate moisture and therefore limit the likelihood of mold growth.
However, you’ll need to remember to change your HVAC filters regularly. Otherwise, you’ll end up breathing in circulating dust and other contaminants, which will make allergies worse. The filters you use should be recommended for use with your system and have a HEPA rating, as these will protect your health as well as the equipment. These filters should be replaced as directed (which may be a minimum of once per month). If the filter is overwhelmingly dirty by the time you replace it, you should aim to switch it out more frequently.
No one likes to spend their springtime dealing with an incessant runny nose and watery eyes. With these relatively simple tips, you should be able to improve your quality of life during peak allergy season without having to live in a bubble.