Monday, December 24, 2012

Winter Allergies: Stay Healthy This Holiday Season by Combating Seasonal Allergies Naturally

Seasonal allergies
You may believe that seasonal allergies only happen in spring, but wintertime can trigger a host of symptoms from winter allergies. Even your holiday decorations or Christmas tree can trigger winter allergy issues. Seasonal allergies cause annoying sneezing, sniffling, headaches, and itching that send you running for the OTC allergy medications, but these meds frequently make you tired. As many as one-third of allergy patients report that their seasonal allergy medications do not even work. The good news is that you can manage your winter allergies naturally with herbs and lifestyle modifications.

Herbal Remedies: Natural Antihistamines

Two natural antihistamines you can try include stinging nettle and butterbur. Neither will make you sleep and both have research to back up their effectiveness.

Stinging nettle makes your body stop making histamines, which is what antihistamines do. Stinging nettles is easy to find in the United States because it is a common weed. It is readily available in capsules. Studies suggest that people should take around 300 milligrams daily to fight seasonal allergies. The only drawback is that your relief from winter allergies may only last a few hours. Stinging nettle appears to work better in some people than others.

If you live in Europe or find that stinging nettle does not help you much, consider butterbur. The plant grows readily in Europe and works similarly to stinging nettle. A study discovered that butterbur was as effective as an antihistamine medication called cetirizine. Participants received 32 milligrams each day of butturbur divided into four doses. Do not use butterbur if you have a ragweed allergy because it is from the same plant family as ragweed and could cause an allergic reaction.

You can boost your antihistamine action by consuming more quercetin, a plant-derived compound that helps to inhibit histamine production. Many citrus fruits, green vegetables and even tea has quercetin but it is unlikely that you can eat enough to make a difference. Try a dose of around 1,000 milligrams of quercetin each day and take it  between meals. It is recommended to start increasing quercetin intake at least six weeks before allergy season.

Cleaning the Nasal Passages

A recent study performed in Italy discovered found that children with seasonal allergies found relief from nasal flushing. The children needed less antihistamine medication and experienced fewer symptoms of allergies. You can use a neti pot for nasal flushing, which is a small "pot" with a long spout that looks like Aladdin's lamp. The spout lets you pour salt water directly into  your nasal passages to clean them out.

If this does not sound fun, you can try a nasal spray instead, though you won't get the same flushing effect. A neti pot works best if you use it in the morning and then again later in the day when you are effected by seasonal allergies.

Lifestyle Modifications for Seasonal Allergies

All your favorite holiday decorations are potential allergy triggers. Your live Christmas tree or wreath may make you sick due to an oil in tree sap known as terpene. This could be in garlands too. Cleaning the sap from your live greenery could help.

Holiday decorations that have been packed away all year could be covered with dust or even mold. These could also cause allergic reactions. Fake snow, your fireplace, scented candles, and fake Christmas trees could have chemicals that cause allergy issues. Some people even experience asthma attacks from the aerosol in cans of fake snow. Cleaning your ornaments thoroughly and then packing them away in airtight containers can help avoid winter allergies. A regular fireplace cleaning may help too. 

Another way to cut back on the winter allergies is to get a good HEPA air filter. Air purifiers clean the air of dust and make for less indoor air pollution. Crystal salt lamps and houseplants will also contribute to cleaner indoor air. You may be extra sensitive to the chemicals in your cleaning products as well during allergy season so you may want to consider making your own natural cleaning products. You will save money too. Washing bedding with hot water and a little bleach is another good idea because that kills dust mites.

Sources for this article include:

Photo: Mcfarlandmo

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the information in order to spend the wonderful holiday season without any health hazards.


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