It's that time of year again. The weather is warming up, flowers and trees are beginning to bloom, and your time spent outdoors is increasing in the beautiful sunshine state of Florida. Unfortunately, those who suffer from seasonal allergies have a small price to pay. Not only are allergies a nuisance, but medical costs linked with pollen exceed $3 billion every year, with nearly half of those costs being linked to prescription medicine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug stores are filled with so many allergy and sinus medications that selecting the right one can be a little confusing. These medications can also leave you foggy-headed and ready to lie down for an afternoon nap. The good news is that there are several all-natural allergy remedies you can turn to when those tiny little particles wreak havoc on your system.
The Neti Pot
Sinus irrigation has been around for thousands of years and is a very effective technique when done consistently. If done daily, research has shown it is excellent for preventing and treating upper respiratory conditions, seasonal allergies, and the common cold. You can purchase a Neti Pot at most drug stores. Make sure you use warm distilled water and dissolve sea salt thoroughly before running it through your sinuses.
Local Raw Honey
Consuming local raw honey is also an old ancient holistic remedy for allergies. Taking a tablespoon of this sweet, syrupy treat each day has been found to help your body build up a tolerance to the Florida pollen that may be a source of sinus conditions.
Allergy Fighting Foods
There are several foods that may contribute to allergy symptoms, such as dairy, sugar, and wheat. These foods should be avoided or at least limited during allergy season. The idea is to eat foods that help build a strong immune system. Wild-caught fish and fresh, organic veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system. For example, pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain that is loaded with vitamins B and C and also contains essential nutrients that help reduce reactions to seasonal allergies.
Avoid Prime Time for Pollen
Staying indoors in this beautiful Florida weather is hard to do, so try to head out when the allergen levels are at their lowest. Pollen counts are typically higher around noon and early afternoon. Avoid the outdoors midday if possible to prevent excessive pollen allergy reactions.
Keep Windows Closed
It is extremely tempting to allow the fresh air and Florida sunshine in on beautiful days, but if you are an allergy sufferer, try to avoid this during the Spring and Fall months when pollen concentrations are elevated.
Remove Shoes Inside House
Shoes and pet paws are common carriers of dust, germs, dirt, and pollen, so removing your shoes and wiping your pet's paws before coming inside is a good idea. This is especially true if you have carpet inside your home where dirt can be trapped more easily.
Install a HEPA filter in your home and in your vehicle
High-efficiency particulate air (or HEPA), is a type of air filter that removes at least 99.97% of particles from the air that passes through it. If changed regularly, these can greatly reduce allergens from the air you breathe.
Use natural cleaners
Many household cleaning products contain toxins and chemicals that may aggravate allergies. Chlorine is one example that can cause a reaction if inhaled or if it comes in contact with the skin. However, you can clean your home with simple ingredients like baking soda, cider vinegar, and fresh lemon juice. Homemade cleaning solutions are easy, with the right "green" recipes.
Wash bedding every week in hot water
We carry so many allergy-inducing particles when traveling outdoors to indoors. Pollen, dirt, mold spores, and other irritants should be washed from your hair and body daily. Your sheets and bedding should also be washed at least once a week. Many linen stores sell plastic covers that are designed to help prevent these particles from being trapped in your pillows, mattresses, and box springs.
By maintaining adequate hydration, you are equipping your body to flush out toxins from your system. The general rule of staying hydrated is to consume half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks, but for each cup of caffeinated beverage you consume, you should drink an extra cup of water. You should also drink a little more if you're outdoors enjoying the Florida sunshine.
Beautiful Spring days lie ahead. Hopefully, these tips will make them a little more enjoyable for those susceptible to allergies.