With spring comes warmer weather, budding flowers and the grass, pollen and mold that can cause allergies, or when an overreaction by our immune system, according to WebMD. Marked by congestion and itchy eyes, allergy symptoms can make the everyday uncomfortable.
First things first, allergy-proof your home by vacuuming more often and closing your windows and doors. Also take off your shoes and outerwear once you enter your home. This way your contact with sneaky plant pollen is kept at a minimum.
Over-the-counter medications can do the job, but they can also cause unwanted side effects, such as anxiety and sleeplessness, according to the Huffington Post. So here are five natural allergy relief methods so you can enjoy the outside without all the sniffling:
Green tea: Drinking two cups a day of green tea, which is a natural antihistamine, could help avoid congestion, allergist Tim Mainardi told WebMD. But get brewing, you'll only get the full effects if you've been drinking your daily green tea for two weeks before allergy season kicks in.
Herbal supplements: Though research isn't yet definitive, some herbal supplements have been found to help allergy symptoms, albeit with varying levels of effectiveness and relief. Bromelain and Phleum pratense, which contains pollen extracts, can make it easier for people to breathe during allergy season. Quercetin is another natural antihistamine that's also found in onion skin, according to Woman's Day. Luckily, you can buy quercetin in tablet form (and spare yourself from having to eat copious amounts of still-skinned onions).
Maybe the most popular herbal supplement for allergy relief is butterbur, which is thought to be just as effective as over-the-counter medication but without the drowsiness, according to WebMD. For all supplements, talk to your doctor first to avoid any potential medical reactions.
Neti pots: People may also want to invest in the tiny neti pot, which allows you to flush out your nasal passages with a saline solution, according to ABC News. There's also barely any side effects, as long as you use boiled or distilled water to avoid infection.
Acupuncture: If you have time, or if the hay fever is wreaking serious havoc, an acupuncture session may alleviate your symptoms, ABC News reports. A study found that weekly acupuncture sessions to help with easier breathing. However, the ease of breathing lasted as long as the duration of the treatment.
Change your diet: Spicy foods are known to help clear out congested noses, so break out the cayenne pepper. If your tastebuds are on the sensitive side, onion and garlic can do the job. Dairy products and certain foods — such as bananas, cucumbers and melon — may make allergies worse, Kathryn Boling, a family medicine specialist, told WebMD.