• Joyce Knieff, ND, LAc

Spring Misery? Kick Your Allergies with These Daily Tips

Sniffles? Itchy eyes? Whether this is a chronic thing or something that happens to you just a couple months out of the year, having allergies is never a pleasant thing. While popping an antihistamine, either natural or pharmaceutical, is certainly a surefire way to suppress the cause of allergy symptoms in most people, have you ever wondered why some people manifest more allergy symptoms than others? The answer is, it all comes down to inflammation.

itchy eyes allergies

Imagine the total inflammation in your body as a cup. It’s usually fine if there’s some amount of liquid in the cup - inflammation is a natural process that your body uses to defend and regulate itself. But once the liquid in the cup starts spilling over, that’s when you can start getting annoying symptoms such as that runny nose and itchy eyes. Most typically, this can be precipitated by a surge in pollen count (extra input for your body to respond to) during the changing of seasons, and can overwhelm your senses and causes your body to respond. To help with lowering the level in the inflammation cup, here are some simple strategies to start with:

Empty your Cup! -Everyday Habits to Decrease Your Sniffles

Decreasing overall allergen load. A good start is to clean up your immediate environment. Research shows quite a bit of effect on getting rid of dust mites and pet allergens in your house. Good first steps include: washing sheets and pillow cases regularly (at least once a week), heat-treating your pillows, blankets, and things like stuffed animals by placing them in the dryer on high for 30 minutes a week, and vacuuming regularly with a HEPA filter equipped vacuum. Additionally, other measures also include getting rid of old carpeting, purchasing mattress, pillow, and furniture covers. This will further decrease the probability of dust mites or pet allergens coming into contact with you. A woven fabric with a pore size of 6 microns has been shown to be the most effective in controlling both the passage of dust mites and cat allergens.

cat in bed

These fabrics will also completely block the passage of immature and adult live dust mites. Woven fabrics usually have more of a smooth texture and are able to be laundered repeatedly. Compared to that, nonwoven materials, which has more of the general feel of heavy weight paper toweling, might keep higher levels of allergens on the surface, and start to fall apart with frequent washing. the only downside to the woven fabrics is that they might be more expensive than the nonwoven materials.

Can't Take It Anymore! - Short-term Measures For this Spring

“That’s all well and good,” you say, “but I only get allergies outside in the spring!” Trust me, keeping your interior environment low-allergen will still benefit you, as there is frequent transfer of outside allergens to your indoor environment. Another strategy to increase your comfort at home and decrease your allergen exposure throughout the day is to shower when you get home (or at least wash your face and hair), and use a Neti pot or saline spray to wash out your nasal passages after being outside.

While decreasing allergen exposure is for sure a great first-line thing to do, while you’re in the thick of it, it is a little harder to wait for that point in time your symptoms just go away. Some research has shown that drinking Benifuuki green tea (yes, that specific green tea), or taking the Chinese formula Yu Ping Feng San has some efficacy in reducing symptoms.

But if you’re looking for a rapid decrease in symptoms, nasal glucocorticoid (steroid) nasal sprays are considered first-line in the conventional world. They typically have few side effects and can reduce symptoms quite dramatically in most people. You could also come in for a visit, and we could do a nasosympatico - a classic naturopathic procedure that decreases the swelling in the nasal passages by applying a special blend of oils deep into the nasal passages using cotton-tipped applicators. If you've got question's about what you should do this spring, come on int for a visit!



  1. Bielory, Leonard. “Complementary and alternative therapies for allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis.” UpToDate. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

  2. “Patient education: Allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies) (Beyond the Basics).” Allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies). N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

  3. Platts-Mills, Thomas A Platts-Mills, MD, PhD E. “Allergen avoidance in the treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis.” Allergen avoidance in the treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

#allergies #seasonal #inflammation

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