The Best Home Remedies for Allergy Relief
Helpful Tips to Reduce Allergy Symptoms
By Becky Dotson
12 min read
Chances are, you’ve been there – the sniffling, sneezing and runny nose. The dry, itchy, red or watery eyes. The cough, wheezing or shortness of breath. Those symptoms and others are often the result of seasonal or continual allergies. And in short, it’s a miserable experience.
An allergic reaction happens when your immune system overreacts to something it comes in contact with and deems harmful, even though it’s not. Most commonly, airborne allergies can be caused by dust, pollen, pet dander and mold. Some of the reactions can be severe – especially if you have asthma or are already easily susceptible to ear or lung infections.
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What are the best home remedies for allergy relief?
Some people have allergies severe enough it requires prescription medication or shots to manage the symptoms. Most of us try to muddle through with at home remedies or over the counter medication to get us through the worst of it.
If you deal with allergies on a seasonal basis, you’ve probably tried several things to improve your symptoms or get rid of them all together. It’s hard to know what works best – but there are a few things worth doing that will help lessen the impact.
Invest in an air purifier
One of the best things you can do to find allergy relief is clean your air – and there’s no better way to do that than to invest in an air purifier. Purifiers are designed to take airborne irritants out of the air, trap them in a filter and send out cleaner air. You’ll want to buy one that runs with a HEPA filter. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters take out more than 99 percent of the smallest particles that float through the air in your home and enter our body through our nasal passages, so they’re highly effective in helping you breathe easier and cleaner.
Reduce Your triggers
Allergies can be caused by lots of things. It’s important to know what causes yours. Most often it can be pollen or things that are in bloom and growing outside. So, it’s necessary to do what you can to reduce your exposure to things that can trigger your allergies.
- Stay inside on dry and windy days. Rain helps clear the pollen out of the air, so the best time to go outside for fresh air is after a good rain.
- Leave the lawn care to someone else. If you can afford to pay someone to mow your yard, pull your weeds and take care of other lawn care upkeep, do so. It will help keep your symptoms at bay.
- Change your clothes. If you’ve been outside, change your clothes when you come inside. Allergens stick to clothing, so taking them off and washing them can cut down on your reaction. Rinse your face off and wash your hands too, to rid your skin of anything that might have stuck to you. And don’t wear your shoes inside. Leave them at the door or in the garage. You’d be surprised what you can track in on your shoes.
- Keep an eye on the pollen count. You can check your local weather on the TV, radio or internet for area information. If the pollen count is expected to be high for that particular day, get ahead of your symptoms by taking your allergy medication before they start.
Shut the windows
Fresh air is always a good thing, but if it’s a day when the pollen count is high, you’ll definitely want to keep the windows closed and stay indoors. Pollen counts are generally highest in the morning, so you’ll want to avoid going out or opening the windows at that time of day.
If your nose is runny or stuffed up, make sure you are getting plenty of fluids. Taking in a good amount of water, juice or any other nonalcoholic drink can give you relief by thinning the mucus in your nasal passages. The steam from warm fluids like soup, broth or tea can add an extra benefit.
Avoid cigarette smoke
Secondhand smoke is dangerous in general. But if you’re an allergy sufferer it can make your symptoms worse. It’s best to avoid restaurants, bars or hotel rooms that allow smoking. And if you can, stay away from people who light up.
Rinse it out
It may seem uncomfortable or even gross, but rinsing out your nasal passages with saline solution can help relieve your stuffy nose. It can flush out allergens and mucus. Kits to do just that can be bought over the counter at pharmacies and other big box retailers. The most effective ones usually come with a squeeze bottle or a small container called a neti pot. Neti pots have a spout that helps rinse out your nasal passage. Just follow the directions on the packaging for optimal results.
Use over the counter medicines
Fortunately, there are several brands of medicines that work well and can be bought directly from your pharmacy or local retailer that don’t require a prescription.
- Oral antihistamines can help with the sneezing, runny nose, itching and watery eyes. Claritin, Alavert, Zyrtec and Allegra are recommended brands. Look for ones that contain loratadine, cetirizine and fexofenadine for best results.
- Decongestants that are taken orally or come in the form of nasal spray are good for temporary use. Nasal decongestants should not be an option for long-term use. Using them too long can actually end up making your symptoms worse.
- Nasal spray is helpful, but it’s best to start using it before the symptoms start.
Butterbur is a plant extract that is well-researched and shows promise in treating allergies. It’s best to check with your doctor to see if it’s right for you.
Acupuncture is an ancient practice that started in China. It’s been touted to help all kinds of issues and illnesses, but it has shown to be effective in treating and alleviating allergy symptoms.
The Bottom Line
Allergies are no fun, and depending on the part of the country you live in they can be a year-long problem, instead of just a seasonal nuisance. There’s no one treatment or single action you can take to get rid of them, but there are things you can do to reduce your symptoms and feel better quicker. Much of it can be trial and error, but once you find something that works, it’s best to stick with it so you can enjoy the great outdoors, and life in general, once again.