Thursday, May 12, 2016

Natural Ways to Combat Seasonal Allergies

As I get older there are more and more things happening to my body that make me crazy. One of the biggest challenges right now is dealing with these seasonal allergies that have appeared in the past few years. 

Sigh. Isn't it enough that I'm getting wrinkled, sore, tired, hot flashes, and all the rest? Must I also deal with constant congestion in my head and throat?

Last season I tried out some over the counter products to help combat the symptoms. 

First I tried a nasal inhaler, Nasacort. 

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The Nasacort did a great job helping with my allergy symptoms....until I noticed something strange. I was getting a rash all over my face, and when I traced back the start of the rash it coincided with the start of using Nasacort. 

Yup - I was ALLERGIC to my allergy medicine!! 

So, that one had to stop. And yes, the rash went away when I stopped the medicine. 

The pharmacist recommended an antihistamine, so the next thing I tried was Benadryl. 

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I took a Benadryl that night when I was heading to bed, around 9 pm. The next morning I could NOT get up for work. I finally managed to drag myself out of bed, into the shower, and off to work - and I spent the entire day with my head on my desk, sleeping. Plus, I fought nausea all day long. 

That was the first and last time I ever took Benadryl. 

Back to the pharmacy, where they now recommended I try Allegra. 

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One tiny tablet works for 24 hours with no drowsiness? I'll give it a try!

Allegra worked great. I took it all season with terrific results. 

However, I hated putting chemicals into my body every day. Plus I suspect it was making my heart race at night when I lay down. 

So, I stopped taking the Allegra, and I survived fine all winter without it. 

My allergies would kick in when I would expose myself to dust....like cleaning out the wood stove or emptying the vacuum. Other than that, it wasn't too bad. 

But now that it's spring and I am spending hours and hours in the garden I'm a mess. 

What's a girl to do? I'm not going to give up gardening, which I love. And I'm trying to keep away from chemicals. 

So, I've been doing a few things to help with the symptoms. 

First and foremost, every single morning when I shower I use a saline nasal rinse. 

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I really don't care for the process, although I've gotten used to it. However, the results don't lie - this stuff helps. I suppose it rinses the pollen and dust right out of your sinus cavity, and moisturizes your sinuses as well. 

Completely natural and effective? I'm all for it. 

When I need a little boost in the afternoon, something to help clear out my nasal passages, I reach for my Olba's Inhaler. 

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This little stick is POWERFUL! It clears things up within minutes. I ordered a bunch of these and keep them in my office, my bag, my car, at home....everywhere I may need quick relief. 

I also took a tip from Valerie over at Cottage Making Mommy when she wrote a post a while back about how she combats her allergies. Valerie suggested using a few drops of peppermint oil on a hot washcloth, and putting the washcloth over your face for a few minutes. 



I have been doing that when things get really bad, and it most definitely helps. It's something I do in the evenings, and not only does it help with my allergies, but it's very relaxing. I will sit in a comfy chair in the corner of my quiet bedroom, put my feet up, and relax for a few minutes with the hot, peppermint scented cloth over my face. 

In doing some research online, I have also discovered that green tea is a natural antihistamine.

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It is suggested to drink 2 cups per day, starting about 2 weeks before allergy season kicks in. I can do that!

Adding cayenne pepper to foods can help unclog your head and nasal passages, as well. 
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I'm glad I decided to grow some Cayenne peppers this year. I guess I better get used to eating some spicy foods to help with these darned allergies. 

Fortunately, it is also beneficial to use onions and garlic in your food to help with symptoms. 

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No problem there! I cook nearly everything with lots of onions and garlic. 

An additional suggestion is to take a shower and wash your hair before bed to keep pollen out of your bed. 

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Another great way to reduce the amount of allergens in your home? Vacuum and dust frequently. 


And don't forget to remove your shoes as you enter your home. 

One thing I have a hard time doing is following the suggestion of closing all the windows and doors during allergy season. 

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I sleep with the windows open in my bedroom every night in the warmer months. I just adore a gentle breeze through the window, and the sounds of the night help lull me to sleep.  

My sweetie suggested perhaps I try an air purifier. 

He may be right, but don't tell him I said so. 

I guess I'm off to do some research on air purifiers. 

What do you do to combat seasonal allergies?

39 comments:

  1. I suffer from allergies all year long, but more so spring through fall. I'm trying a new natural remedy this year suggested to me. I'm adding locally produced honey to my tea. It's supposed to help with allergens specific to my area, and I figured why not give it a try! The allergy season is just starting, so we'll see if it helps. I hate taking meds, too, so I'm willing to try natural remedies. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. That's funny, Vickie - I recommend that same thing to folks that come to visit but for me, I just cannot stomach the taste or the smell of honey! I can only use it in cooking - I wonder would it do the same thing if I start using it in my recipes?

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  2. One reason I hate carpet and don't have any is asthma. I'd rather try the natural remedies. Hey, would you go to my site and see if it's loading slow? I've checked it 2 places and it says it is.
    Brenda

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    1. You are smart not to have carpet in that case, Brenda - and your site is just fine!

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  3. I have terrible allergies and have tried so many things to get rid of them...or manage them actually. Right now is the worst. I prefer naturally remedies and avoidance, too. You have listed some great tips!

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    1. I'm suffering these days, Kim - and after I wrote this, I wondered if I did that nasal irrigation in the evening as well, would that help? Clear out all the pollen from the day? I must give it a try!

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  4. I sure hope you can always get relief. I saw a puff of "smoke" this morning as I was looking out the window...It was a cloud of pollen from the scotch pine. It actually come off in a cloud. It's raining now...that may help people who have allergies. Boy nothing is simple is it honey? Take care Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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    1. Wow, a whole 'puff' of pollen? That would have just about killed me!

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  5. I like these natural ideas. My allergies are not as bad as they used to be but when I was younger I had a hard time...fall was the worst for me. The medicines made me too 'speedy"...for instance the doctor would prescribe "take four of such and such per day" and I'd have to cut ONE tablet in half for the entire day and I'd STILL have a buzz.

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    1. Wow, yeah, I'm like you - I am definitely sensitive to medicines. The only thing I take really is Advil when I need it - that doesn't affect me negatively. Other than that, everything I take is holistic. Maybe my allergies will ease up in years to come...that would be nice!

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  6. I like these natural ideas. My allergies are not as bad as they used to be but when I was younger I had a hard time...fall was the worst for me. The medicines made me too 'speedy"...for instance the doctor would prescribe "take four of such and such per day" and I'd have to cut ONE tablet in half for the entire day and I'd STILL have a buzz.

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  7. I love your natural approach. I suffer from nasal congestion all the time and also abhor taking meds. I tried the neti pot, which didn't help me much. One thing that has helped is dabbing my nostrils with coconut oil before bed. It keeps my nose feeling moisturized and I think it helps with keeping the bad stuff out. I'm gonna look for that Olba's though. Thank you for the helpful post!

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    1. You just reminded me, Daisy Gurl, of another remedy I heard of recently - a friend of ours does oil pulling in the mornings and he says it has helped his allergies tremendously!

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  8. What a great post. I'd not heard of Olba's so I'll have to look around.

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    1. I think I found it quite by accident when searching for a natural alternative to Vicks inhaler!

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  9. What a helpful post! My daughter suffers from severe allergies and this time of the year is awful for her. Have a wonderful weekend! xxx Maria

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    1. I hope some of these suggestions will help your daughter, Maria!

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  10. You sound just like me--I might have written this post myself! I'm going to get my neti pot out and pick up some Olba's. I might already have the peppermint oil. I'm much better since we removed all the carpeting in our house.

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    1. I think I will have to drag out the vacuum a little more often, since I have carpeting....and two dogs that are shedding like mad right now!

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  11. Thanks for posting about some natural alternatives to relieving allergy symptoms. I have used the Olba's and it is great. We got rid of the carpeting years ago. xoxo

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    1. I do like the 'cozy' feel of carpeting, so I kept it....oh well, I'll just have to clean more often. Add it to my busy schedule!!

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  12. Oh you poor thing! It sounds like you have tried all the things I would have suggested. My mom has allergies real bad, and has tried Zyrtec, and that seems to work for her, without any ill side effects. The peppermint oil trick sounds pretty awesome! Hope you can find something that works for you!

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    1. You and me both! I miss the days when I was younger and didn't have any allergies at all!

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  13. Gosh...allergic to your allergy medication? So sorry for you to love the outdoors but have to suffer at the same time. I have trouble with pine pollen to the point my eyes will swell and I can't wear make-up :( I take Claritin and it clears me up so I can look and breathe halfway normal :)

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    1. My eyes are pretty 'squinty' right now, Karen - and my sinuses are all inflamed. Sigh. At least it's Friday, right? :)

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  14. It has been a long haul for me but doing fairly well so far this year. I had allergy shots, took meds and started going to a natural doctor who is treating me with NAET treatments. Through all this I also found out I had Lyme Disease so have been on antibiotics for 8 months. Finally am off starting last week on a trial run. I think you are on the right track with some of the things you are trying. I had not heard of the peppermint oil on the warm washcloth so may try that if I am bothered again! Good luck to you! Nancy

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    1. Oh, boy, Nancy - you've been suffering! I am going to an allergist in a couple of weeks - I will tell them I prefer to stick with natural treatments and see what we can work out. I am also getting tested for Lyme - I always have the doc test me when they draw blood. You can't be too careful, and since I am out in the garden all the time and my property is surrounded by woodland there's a good chance of meeting up with a deer tick.

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  15. I'm sorry your allergies have been so bad. I am glad though that you have found some things that work for you. I had never heard about the peppermint oil trick or the Olbas (I have never seen it in this area). One of the more drastic things that have helped my allergies was having a total hysterectomy. It was a very weird but welcome bonus to have some relief from my horrible year round allergies. The same thing happened to my DIL's mother after she had one.

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    1. That's so bizarre, Debbie - who knew?

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  16. I'm sorry your allergies have been so bad. I am glad though that you have found some things that work for you. I had never heard about the peppermint oil trick or the Olbas (I have never seen it in this area). One of the more drastic things that have helped my allergies was having a total hysterectomy. It was a very weird but welcome bonus to have some relief from my horrible year round allergies. The same thing happened to my DIL's mother after she had one.

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  17. I'm suffering too. In fact I took too much Benadryl recently and gave myself a stomach upset so I'm back to using nothing. But thinking about the shower before bed gave me the idea to wash Buddy off each night. He is bound to bring in a lot of pollen on his coat since he loves being outside. I'll see if that helps and let you know.

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    1. Oh, me and Benadryl are NOT friends at all!!

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  18. I swear by my neti pot! When things get bad, I use it twice a day! Also, locally sourced honey was suggested to me more than once, so we went one step further and got our own beehives! The peppermint oil facial sounds intriguing, and luxurious! Thanks for the suggestions!

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    1. I can't stomach the smell or taste of honey, if I could I would be using it for sure. It seriously makes me gag - weird, huh?

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  19. I'm fighting something right now. Using zinc and vitamins C & D too. A little Claratin, lots of rest and fluids. Hoping to kick it! Hope your allergies are better.

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    1. Do fluids include wine or gin? I think they will kill all the germs!! Feel better, Mountain Sister!!

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  20. I have year-round allergies but so far this spring, they haven't been bad at all! Only a couple of days of congestion. Like you, I far prefer to take or use natural remedies when at all possible. I do have a bottle of Flonase that I use once in awhile, but that's only when I'm desperate. I learned a long time ago that Benadryl was a big no-no for me. Totally knocked me out! I've heard of the same reactions from other people too, so it's not just you and me. That stuff is wicked. I have a neti pot, but it doesn't work for me. I do have a plain saline rinse and that works somewhat. I love the idea of a warm washcloth with peppermint oil. I do that for headaches. Never thought of it for allergies, too. I'm definitely going to look for that Olba's inhaler and give it a try. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  21. I have year-round allergies but so far this spring, they haven't been bad at all! Only a couple of days of congestion. Like you, I far prefer to take or use natural remedies when at all possible. I do have a bottle of Flonase that I use once in awhile, but that's only when I'm desperate. I learned a long time ago that Benadryl was a big no-no for me. Totally knocked me out! I've heard of the same reactions from other people too, so it's not just you and me. That stuff is wicked. I have a neti pot, but it doesn't work for me. I do have a plain saline rinse and that works somewhat. I love the idea of a warm washcloth with peppermint oil. I do that for headaches. Never thought of it for allergies, too. I'm definitely going to look for that Olba's inhaler and give it a try. Thanks for the suggestions!

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    1. I hope the Olba's works for you!! My face felt like it was going to explode this morning with sinus pressure - yikes!

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