If spring’s blossoms have left you red-eyed and runny-nosed, don’t rush straight to the medicine chest. Many drugs simply treat the symptoms of allergic reactions, which can often be easily prevented in the first place. Here are a few natural ways to keep your allergies at bay.
- Avoid pollen
Most plants pollinate in the early hours of the morning, so try to postpone outdoor activity to the afternoon. Also, try taking a quick shower and changing your clothes every time you come home to rinse off stray pollen.
- Find the triggers in your home
Mould, dust mites and pollen in your house can all inflame allergies. Use a diluted bleach solution to clean mould in basements, garages and on old patio furniture.
- Avoid using window fans to cool rooms
They can suck pollen indoors.
- Turn on the dehumidifier
You should keep humidity levels below 50 percent to kill dust mites, but above 30 percent to avoid making your home too dry.
- Improve the air indoors
Invest in a good air filter and change it every two to three months.
- Stay contained in the car
Keep windows closed when driving. If it’s hot, use the air conditioner instead.
- Consider your diet
Eat foods rich in omega-3s to aid with allergies. These include fish, eggs, walnuts and flaxseed oil.
- Love your laundry
Wash bed linens at least once a week in 50 degree-plus water. That’s how hot it should be to kill dust mite eggs.
- Don a mask
Wear a mask while doing housework, which can stir up allergens.
- Get wrapping
Bedroom items that can’t be washed, such as pillows, mattresses and box springs, should be covered in tightly woven, hypoallergenic dust-mite covers. Stuffed animals and throw pillows should be eliminated or kept to a minimum.
- Pet protection
Clean your pets. Wipe off their paws when they come home and wipe down their fur after they’ve been outside.
- Rinse and repeat.
Rinse out your nose with a simple saline solution. Clear the pollen from your passages using a Neti pot or a spray bottle.
- Turn to herbs
Instead of drugs, take a few herbs. To alleviate a runny nose and sinus congestion, try freeze-dried stinging nettles. Eyebright can soothe red, itchy, watery eyes. And the supplement quercetin, a bioflavonoid often found packaged with Vitamin C, can also be an effective antihistamine. Butterbur can alleviate symptoms of grass allergies.
This article first appeared on Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.