For me, fall is all about crunchy leaves, beautiful colors, brisk jeans and t-shirt weather, outdoor activities and family holidays. Then the mold and pollen come along and cast a haze over it all.
Until recently, I was on one pill and two nasal sprays to get me through my favorite months. Even then, I usually battled 1-2 sinus infections and what seemed like a season long upper respiratory infection. My oldest son was put on Singulair at two to help manage his allergies and stayed on it for nearly two years. Without it, every cold, virus or little bacteria turned into a major breathing event. But I’m so happy to report that although we still feel the impact of the mold and pollen, a few simple lifestyle changes intended to improve our overall health and well-being have helped us manage our allergy symptoms prescription free. (This process was guided by our doctor.) Today, we experience minor allergy symptoms and are saving about $70 a month on medication.
Allergies have successfully been treated with natural resources for decades. Here are just a few of the numerous options available that we’ve found helpful.
- Probiotics – When we have insufficient enzymes and good bacteria (probiotics) in our guts we lack the necessary defenses to handle allergens. Probiotics restore and balance good bacteria and aid in digestion and absorption making our healthy food more effective. The boys and I take probiotics every day.
- Antioxidants – Antioxidants help our bodies in several ways. They reduce inflammation and eliminate free radicals which destroy our cells. It’s fairly easy to get antioxidants naturally from our foods. Fruits like purple grapes, blackberries and blueberries are loaded with antioxidants as is green tea. While this is a good start, we needed something a little stronger. We take Thai-Go, an antioxidant juice everyday beginning in August. Two tablespoons for me and 1 each for the boys seems to help strengthen our immune systems. Juice Plus also makes an antioxidant supplement and there are several other juices on the market. Do some research to see which one feels like a good fit for your family’s needs.
- Saline Solutions– Whether it’s a Neti-Pot or a spray can of Simply Saline this is a must in our house during allergy season. I like the Neti-Pot for myself when I’m really congested, although it definitely takes some getting used to, but the saline sprays work best for the boys and when your crunched for time. The goal is to rinse the nasal passages with a salt water solution. This helps thin the mucus, soothe the tissue and reduce inflammation. It also rinses pollen and other airborne substances from the nasal passages, promotes drainage and speeds up the healing process.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Help reduce inflammation and quiet allergy symptoms. Because our allergy season is so long in Tennessee I feel like these really help us. We take them for lots of reasons, but this is an added bonus.
- Clean Eating – I believe that eliminating as many processed foods as possible took a lot of foreign substances out of our bodies freeing them up to better handle the naturally occurring allergens like mold and pollen. Clean eating simply means eating fresh foods like fruits, vegetables and certain meats and fish. A great tip is to eat out of the fridge or shop the outside aisles at the grocery store. Avoiding or limiting things like sugar, dairy and wheat can also help depending on the individual. We eat wheat, but I’m very cautious of our sugar and dairy intake, especially when our allergies our acting up.
Other helpful tips: Eliminating harmful chemicals from our homes, washing sheets and blankets in hot water once a week, dusting with a damp cloth to collect dust w/o mixing it up in the air, and adding houseplants to naturally filter the air.
Somewhat crunchy option: Try boiling freeze dried nettles as a tea. You can buy these at a local health food store.