- 6 Natural Allergy Remedies
- For more helpful information visit:
- Treating and Understanding Ragweed Allergies
- What time of year do I need to worry about ragweed allergies
- What are the symptoms of ragweed allergies?
- How do I prevent symptoms caused by a ragweed allergy?
- Treating your ragweed allergy
- Ragweed Season Peaks in Mid-September
- Ragweed Grows in 49 States
- Your Immune System May Mistake Other Plants and Food for Ragweed
- Ragweed Pollen Can Travel Hundreds of Miles
- Immunotherapy May Provide Relief
- The Reality of Your Ragweed Allergy
- What Is Ragweed?
- Ragweed Allergy Symptoms
- Ragweed Allergy Treatment
- Keep track of pollen counts.
- Avoid fall leaves as much as you can.
- Keep pollen outside, where it belongs.
- Dry up any dampness in the house.
- Start taking medications before the season starts.
- Look into long-term relief.
- 15 Home Remedies for Allergies
- Foods to Avoid
- Oral Allergy Syndrome
6 Natural Allergy Remedies
A few minor lifestyle changes also can go a long way toward keeping symptoms under control:
- Avoid using window fans to cool rooms, because they can pull pollen indoors.
- Keep windows closed when driving, using the air conditioner if necessary, to avoid allergens.
- Limit your time outdoors when ragweed pollen counts are highest — from mid-August until the first frost.
Here are more things that can help head off allergies before they start, as well as some drug-free ways to treat symptoms when they do arise.
Neti Pots. What could be simpler than rinsing away allergens with saltwater? Neti pots, small vessels shaped like Aladdin’s lamp (see the Image Gallery), have been used in India for thousands of years to flush the sinuses and keep them clear. It’s an idea that takes some getting used to for most Westerners, but it’s a bit like using nasal spray. A little douse of saltwater can rinse away those prickly pollen grains and help treat allergies and other forms of sinus congestion.
Just last year, an Italian study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that nasal flushing was a mild and effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines.
You could simply use your cupped hand instead of a neti pot to rinse sinuses, but netis are inexpensive, and many people find them much easier to use. To flush your sinuses, mix a quarter to a half teaspoon of noniodized table salt into a cup of lukewarm water and pour it into the pot. (You can adjust the amount of salt, depending on what feels most comfortable.) Lean over a sink with your head slightly cocked to one side, then put the spout of the neti into one nostril and allow the water to drain out the other nostril. Use about half of the solution, then repeat on the other side, tilting your head the opposite way. Gently blow out each nostril to clear them completely. Neti pots are widely available online and at natural food stores. Use your pot about twice a day during allergy season, especially in the morning and after spending time outdoors. You also can use a neti pot before bed to prevent snoring caused by allergies and promote optimal overnight breathing.
Quercetin. A natural plant-derived compound called a bioflavonoid, quercetin helps stabilize mast cells and prevents them from releasing histamine. Quercetin also is a natural antioxidant that helps mop up molecules called free radicals that cause cell damage, which can lead to cancer. Citrus fruits, onions, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce and wine are naturally high in quercetin, but allergy sufferers will most likely need to use supplements to build up enough of this compound to prevent attacks. The recommended dosage is about 1,000 milligrams a day, taken between meals. It’s best to start treatment six weeks before allergy season. Those with liver disease shouldn’t use quercetin, so please consult your doctor before using this or any other supplement — especially if you are pregnant or nursing.
Allergy-Fighting Foods. A German study, published in the journal Allergy, found that participants who ate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to suffer allergy symptoms than those who didn’t regularly eat these foods. Omega-3s help fight inflammation and can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts and flaxseed oil, as well as grass-fed meat and eggs.
To help keep airways clear when pollen counts are high, add a dash of horseradish, chili peppers or hot mustard to your food — all act as natural, temporary decongestants. It’s also a good idea to avoid foods that you’re slightly allergic to until the air clears. Fighting off allergies can render the body hypersensitive to those foods, causing more severe reactions than usual.
Stinging Nettle. If you decide you need an antihistamine but want a natural option, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) behaves in much the same way as many of the drugs sold to treat allergies, but without the unwanted side effects of dry mouth and drowsiness. Nettle actually inhibits the body’s ability to produce histamine. It’s a common weed in many parts of the United States, but the most practical medicinal form is a freeze-dried extract of the leaves sold in capsules. Studies have shown that taking about 300 milligrams daily will offer relief for most people, although the effects may last only a few hours. You also can make your own tinctures or teas with stinging nettle. (Contact with the stinging hairs on fresh nettle can cause skin inflammation, so wear protective gloves when handling it.) For more on making your own herbal remedies, see Richo Cech’s Making Plant Medicine (Horizon Herbs, 2000).
Butterbur. Derived from a common weed in Europe, butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is another alternative to antihistamines, though it may be hard to find in the United States. In the days before refrigeration, its broad, floppy leaves were used to wrap butter during warm spells, hence the name butterbur. A Swiss study, published in British Journal of Medicine, found that butterbur was as effective as the drug cetirizine, the active ingredient in Zyrtec. Even though cetirizine is supposed to be a nonsedative antihistamine, researchers reported that it did cause drowsiness, though butterbur did not. Participants in the study took 32 milligrams of butterbur a day, divided into four doses. A word of caution though — butterbur is in the same family as ragweed, so it could worsen allergy symptoms in some cases. Effects of taking butterbur over a long period of time also are unknown. For more Herbal options visit: Herbal Allergy Remedies: Echinacea, Eyebright, Golden Seal and More
Sublingual Immunotherapy. Specific immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots, has been used widely to inject patients with diluted doses of certain allergens to help build immunity over time. However, allergy shots can take three to five years to be effective, and a small percentage of people suffer severe reactions to this treatment. Though it remains popular in North America, the practice fell out of favor in the United Kingdom during the late 1980s, when strict limitations were imposed after several adverse reactions occurred.
New studies have found a gentler way to acclimate the body to pollen and other allergens. The latest form of this therapy is called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), which has been used for the past 20 years in Europe. In SLIT treatments, patients put drops of a very small dose of the allergen (initially a 1:1,000 dilution) under the tongue for two minutes, then swallow. The daily therapy begins before peak pollen season for seasonal allergy sufferers, but also can be used to treat year-round allergies, though treatment must be specific to the type of allergen.
A recent study in the United Kingdom found that patients who used SLIT for two years were nearly seven times less likely to suffer runny noses, and almost three times less likely to experience sneezing, than those who took a placebo. Because an allergy extract has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States, check with your doctor and insurance provider before considering SLIT therapy.
Whether you suffer from seasonal or ongoing allergies, these natural remedies should let you get out there and harvest those late tomatoes!
For more helpful information visit:
• Natural Herbal Remedies for Allergies
• Natural Remedies for Allergies
• 10 Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies
• Health Benefits of Echinacea and Sage
• Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies
Treating and Understanding Ragweed Allergies
If the end of summer and early fall is the worst time of year for your allergies, you may have ragweed to blame. But you’re not alone! Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from allergies. While, avoidance is a common tactic for allergy sufferers, but ragweed can be hard to avoid. Luckily there are many ways to reduce allergy symptoms and manage your allergies.
What time of year do I need to worry about ragweed allergies
Ragweed can be a year-round issue for people in warmer places like Texas and Florida, but ragweed season is at its worst from late August through October. Ragweed pollen usually reaches peak levels in mid-September and this type of pollen can cause hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis). You may not see the ragweed pollen in the air, but your body can react to even the smallest amounts.
Which type of ragweed am I allergic to?
If you’re allergic to ragweed, it’s very common to be allergic to more than one type. There are seventeen types of ragweed, but only a few are responsible for allergy symptoms. Stay on top of your game and find out what ragweed are in your area!
The most common types of allergy-causing ragweed are:
· Common ragweed
· Giant Ragweed
· Burweed marsh elder
· Rabbit brush
· Groundsel bush
Many regions of the United States have a predominance of one or more types of these ragweed plants. In order to know exactly what ragweed plants you’re specifically allergic to, you can get an allergy test.
What are the symptoms of ragweed allergies?
Ragweed allergies bring on the typical allergy symptoms, which are:
· Runny nose (Nasal drainage)
· Stuffy nose (Nasal congestion)
· Itchy, watery eyes
· Itchy nose, eyes, ears and mouth
In addition to the usual suspects of ragweed allergy symptoms, it’s also common for more severe ragweed allergy sufferers to experience:
Ragweed pollen can also aggravate asthma symptoms, leading to increased coughing and wheezing.
Inflammation and congestion in the nasal cavity from allergies often lead to headaches, especially around the face.
Allergens in the air, such as pollen, can irritate your throat when you breathe them in. If you breathe through your mouth because of a stuffy nose, especially while sleeping, the air flow also could dry out your throat and make it feel itchy.
How do I prevent symptoms caused by a ragweed allergy?
Here are 10 ways you can reduce symptoms from ragweed allergy:
1. Limit time outside when the pollen counts are high. Check your local forecast and pollen count everyday. We like the Pollen.com app. It’s super easy and you can easily add different cities to your radar.
2. On high ragweed pollen count days, plan indoor activities like bowling, a museum, or watching a movie!
3. Keep windows closed and use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter on hot days.
4. Get rid of ragweed by plucking the plants out at the root, ideally before pollination starts.
5. Bathe and shampoo your hair every day before bed to remove pollen and keep it out of your bed.
6. Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
7. Wear sunglasses and a hat to keep pollen out of your eyes and off your hair.
8. Don’t forget about your pets! Wipe off their paws and fur with a towel before letting them into the home. Also, keep pets off the bed and out of your bedroom.
9. Remove shoes before entering your home and vacuum at least once a week! A cordless vacuum will make this task much easier – and maybe even more fun.
Don’t tough it out, seek relief with over the counter medications and enjoy your summer. Start by trying a newer, non-sedating antihistamine for daily control during the height of ragweed pollen season.
Treating your ragweed allergy
Short Team Relief
There are many things you can do to improve symptoms. Over the counter medications won’t solve the underlying issue but they will relieve your symptoms for 24-48 hours.
Saline Nasal Sprays and Rinses
Nasal saline sprays are available over-the-counter and involve spraying saline, or salt water, in your nostrils. Nasal saline rinses involve filling a bottle with water, putting a modified salt packet in the bottle, mixing it and rinsing out your nose.
Nasal antihistamines are nasal sprays that have antihistamines. Antihistamines are different from steroids, and usually work quite quickly to bring relief of symptoms. Some people note a bitter taste with nasal antihistamines. As with any medications, they have other potential side effects so one must discuss them with an allergist prior to use.
Oral antihistamines are pills that can help with allergy symptoms. They can help the nasal drainage and sneezing symptoms. However, they usually do not help nasal congestion, as nasal steroid sprays can.
Long term relief
If you really want to tackle your ragweed allergies for good, the best thing to do is get an allergy test to confirm your allergy and start immunotherapy. Immunotherapy introduces small amounts of the allergen over time, letting your body build up a tolerance so it no longer sees it as a threat.
Allergy drops (or sublingual immunotherapy)
Allergy drops are placed under the tongue daily and can be done at home, on your own terms. Allergy drops are equally as effective as allergy shots, and have no severe anaphylactic reactions reported, like sometimes happens with allergy shots. The typical length of treatment is three to five years for long lasting relief.
Allergy shots are performed on a regular basis (usually weekly or monthly) in the office as there is the potential of allergic reactions to them. Like allergy drops, the length of treatment is three to five years.
The experts at Aspire Allergy & Sinus have the tools and experience you need to determine the best way to treat and manage your symptoms. Don’t wait any longer, request an appointment today!
If you live in the U.S., you’re probably starting to feel the effects of ragweed pollen. Ragweed pollen allergy affects about 23 million Americans1, making it one of the most common weed allergies. Its light pollen easily spreads far and wide, triggering nasal allergies and allergic asthma in its path.
If you have a ragweed pollen allergy, it helps to know what you are up against. Here are some things you may not know about ragweed.
Ragweed Season Peaks in Mid-September
Ragweed starts pollinating as early as July in some states, especially those in the South. But for most of the country, it appears in August and peaks in mid-September. Ragweed pollen can stick around as late as November, depending on where you live.
If you are allergic to ragweed, learn when ragweed pollen starts in your state. Talk to a board-certified allergist about ways to prepare for the season before it begins to make it easier to manage your symptoms when the pollen peaks.
Ragweed Grows in 49 States
If you live in Alaska, consider yourself lucky. You live in the only state where ragweed doesn’t grow. Ragweed has even been introduced to Hawaii. Within the 49 states where ragweed grows, there are 17 different types of ragweed.
Track ragweed season where you live. Check sites like AAAAI’s National Allergy Bureau to follow pollen readings regularly. This will help you take steps to reduce your exposure to ragweed pollen.
Ragweed pollen peaks in the middle of the day. Spend time outside before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m.
Your Immune System May Mistake Other Plants and Food for Ragweed
There are other plants that are related to ragweed. They may cause symptoms as well. Avoid planting sunflowers, sage, burweed marsh elder, rabbit brush, mugworts, groundsel bush and eupatorium near your home.
If you have a condition called oral allergy syndrome (OAS), your mouth may itch or tingle when you eat certain foods. This is because the pollen is similar to the proteins in some foods, so your body can’t tell the difference. This is called cross-reactivity.
Food such as cantaloupes, bananas, watermelon and sunflower seeds may cause symptoms if you also have a ragweed allergy.
Rarely, OAS can trigger anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, so it is important to know if you have OAS or a food allergy and how to treat it. Some of the symptoms of OAS and anaphylaxis may be similar. If you have reactions when eating foods, talk with an allergist.
Ragweed Pollen Can Travel Hundreds of Miles
Ragweed pollen is very light, making it easy for the wind to carry it for miles. In fact, it has been found in the ocean as far as 400 miles away from the coast and two miles up in the air.
Don’t let ragweed follow you around. If you spend a lot of time outside, change your clothes and wash them as soon as you come inside. Shower and shampoo your hair every night to keep pollen out of your bed. Also have everyone who enters your home leave their shoes at the door.
Immunotherapy May Provide Relief
If you are allergic to ragweed pollen there are options for treatment. Many of them are available over-the-counter.
- Antihistamines – They work by reducing your runny nose, sneezing and itching in your eyes and sinuses.
- Decongestants – They shrink swollen nasal passages to help your feel less stuffy. Nose drops and sprays should be taken short-term.
- Nasal corticosteroids – These nasal sprays treat nasal inflammation, reduce symptoms and congestion, and block allergic reactions. They are the most effective for nasal symptoms and have few side effects.
- Leukotriene inhibitors – This medicine blocks chemicals your body releases when you have an allergic reaction.
- Cromolyn sodium – This nasal spray blocks chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, like histamine and leukotrienes.
If your allergy symptoms are not controlled with an over-the-counter allergy medicine, talk to a board-certified allergist about other treatment options. It is especially important for you to seek treatment if you have allergic asthma and ragweed pollen is a trigger for you.
Many people also benefit from immunotherapy. This can come in the form of allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).
With allergy shots, your doctor gives you injections of allergens in an increasing dose over time. You gradually become less sensitive to that allergen.
With SLIT, you take a small dose of an allergen under your tongue. You also gradually become more sensitive. Currently, SLIT is available for ragweed and dust mite allergies.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology have tools to help you find a board-certified allergist in your area.
It is important to stay up-to-date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive news about research and treatments. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other patients who manage these conditions for support.
When it comes to allergies, spring gets the big headlines. Pollen from flowering trees and other flora bombards people’s immune systems, turning them into watery-eyed, runny-nosed, sneezing messes. But not me! I waltz through spring, tip-toeing happily through the tulips. But come August, I get my comeuppance in the form of incessant sneezing and red, itchy eyes. The culprit? Ragweed.
Beginning in mid-to-late August and running into October, the evil ragweed plant (or Ambrosia artemisiifolia, as it’s known in scientific circles) releases pollen into the air. Because ragweed pollen is extremely light, it travels far and wide on late-summer and early-fall breezes. It easily spreads from rural and suburban areas where it typically grows in abundance, flooding urban enclaves. What’s more, each ragweed plant releases up to 1 billion pollen grains! Found in 49 states (only Alaska has been spared) and much of Canada, ragweed allergies affect somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the U.S. population.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) says the best way to control ragweed allergies is to avoid pollen in the first place. Here’s how you do that:
1. Track the pollen count
Many local TV news programs report the pollen count as a part of the weather forecast. For on-demand regional pollen levels, visit The National Allergy Bureau (NAB) website and find the closest spot to you in the dropdown list. The NAB publishes data daily from pollen and mold counting stations across the country.
2. Stay indoors when pollen counts are high
As the scorching heat of August yields to the pleasant temperatures of early autumn, staying inside will be a challenge. But you need to make a decision: brave the barrage of symptom-producing pollen outdoors, or stay indoors and be comfortable.
3. Go where pollen counts are low
It might seem extreme, but if you can plan a late vacation or other trip to a place where ragweed pollen is less of an issue (we realize Alaska is probably tough to work into your travel plans), at least you’ll miss some of the allergy season while you’re gone. A cruise is ideal (no ragweed on the ocean), but a seaside locale or dryer parts of the Rocky Mountains and desert Southwest offer an improvement over the especially ragweed-heavy Midwest and East Coast.
4. Take antihistamines
While taking an antihistamine used to mean walking around like a zombie for hours, meds these days are less likely to knock you out. Medicated eye drops and nose sprays can also help relieve allergy discomfort.
5. Consider allergy shots
If you don’t respond to antihistamines, you can discuss allergy shots, a.k.a., immunotherapy, with your doctor. Immunotherapy lessens the body’s allergic reaction to specific allergens, yet requires months, or sometimes years, of regular shots.
Fight Allergies the Natural Way
A growing number of people are finding relief from herbal remedies. Try adding these natural “wonder drugs” to your list of anti-allergy weapons:
The herb Angelica has many uses, but allergy sufferers will be most interested in its ability to block the production of certain antibodies made when the body has an allergic response. The best way to take Angelica is in tea. Use about half a teaspoon per cup of hot water.
From Discovery Health: “Herbal Remedies for Allergies”
7. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, as are flavonoids like quercitin, rutin, and hesperidin. What’s more, flavonoids enhance the power of vitamin C, so including them together is a double whammy of healthy goodness. You can take them as a supplement, or you can eat foods that are rich in both vitamin C and flavonoids, such as apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries, and broccoli.
From Associated Content: “Natural Allergy Relief: Treat Allergies Without Medicine”
Another herb long prized for its healing qualities (it was used to treat plague), butterbur extract can help reduce inflammation. It’s available in tablet form as a supplement.
From eHow: “How to Treat Allergies With Butterbur”
A powerful anti-inflammatory and astringent, the aptly monikered herb Eyebright is helpful in alleviating itchy, red, watery eyes (it also does wonders for the nose). It’s available in capsule form, or as a tincture. To make a soothing eyewash, add five drops of Eyebright tincture to a half ounce of saline solution.
From Natural Home: “Natural Remedies (and Relief) for Seasonal Allergies”
6 Ways to Foil Fall Allergy and Asthma Flare-ups
De-Allergizing Your Home: A Room-by-Room Guide
The Reality of Your Ragweed Allergy
What Is Ragweed?
Ragweed is a member of the daisy family and has tiny yellow-green flowers that produce vast amounts of pollen – about a million grains per plant, every single day.
Where Does Ragweed Grow?
Ragweed is found in fields, gardens, roadsides and waste areas all over the U.S., but it is the biggest problem in the East and Midwest.
When Does Ragweed Bloom?
Ragweed grows from August to November, peaking mid-September and ending with the first frost. However, if you get allergies from ragweed, you might have noticed your symptoms are lasting longer every year.
How Does Ragweed Pollen Move?
Ragweed pollen grains are so light that they can travel up to 400 miles in the wind. This means that when it comes to ragweed spreading across the country, the sky’s the limit.
Why Does Ragweed Pollen Cause Allergic Reactions?
People with allergies might have more sensitive immune systems that fight allergens, thinking they’re harmful foreign substances, such as viruses or bacteria. When you have a ragweed allergy and breathe in the pollen, your body defends itself against the invader (even though it might be harmless), and the reaction leads to allergy symptoms.
Ragweed Allergy Symptoms
The most common ragweed allergy symptom is a stuffy or runny nose, but you also might experience sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes and other common allergy symptoms.
Ragweed Allergy Treatment
- Stay one step ahead of ragweed. ZYRTEC® ALLERGYCAST® app shows you what pollen is in the air with the daily pollen forecast and you can track your allergy symptoms, too. Standard data rates for your plan apply.
- Cover up. When outside, wear hats, gloves, glasses, paper masks and long-sleeve shirts to prevent contact with ragweed and other pollens.
- Remove your shoes. Kick your shoes off before entering your home to avoid tracking ragweed and other pollens inside.
- Take a shower. After long periods outdoors, showering will help remove ragweed and other pollens from your skin and hair.
- Try an antihistamine. ZYRTEC® is a common antihistamine that helps relieve your worst ragweed allergy symptoms. It starts working at hour 1 and stays strong day after day. Learn more about the ZYRTEC® family of products.
Pulling on your coziest sweater and strolling through the park sounds like the perfectly way to spend a brisk autumn day — but when that scenario also involves a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a nagging cough, it’s not quite as fun. Though many people think of spring, with its blossoming trees and flowers, as the worst season for allergies, they can get just as bad or even worse for some people when the weather cools, says Edith Schussler, M.D., a pediatric allergist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.
The biggest culprit for fall allergies is ragweed — up to 20% of Americans are allergic to the weed that blooms all over the United States. And it’s a powerful allergen: In fact, just one ragweed plant can produce up to 1 billion grains of pollen during its single-season lifespan. In the past, the high season for ragweed allergies lasted from late August through September, but Dr. Schussler points out that that due to changes in weather patterns, the season has gotten longer and more brutal for allergy sufferers.
“We are having these longer, warmer falls, so the pollen sticks around much later in the season, from early August through October,” she explains. “With all that pollen going out, more ragweed is being seeded and growing, so it’s a vicious cycle.” You don’t just find ragweed in bucolic country settings, either: “There is a lot of ragweed in cities as well, because the carbon dioxide from cars helps it grow,” says Dr. Schussler.
In addition to ragweed, fall is prime season for indoor and outdoor molds. The fungus can gather up in piles of moist leaves — the very ones that kids like to jump in and adults need to rake up every weekend. But you can still enjoy the most beautiful season of the year without wrapping yourself up in a Hazmat suit or hiding in your basement until the first snowfall. Here’s how:
Keep track of pollen counts.
If you know exactly which allergens you react to (a visit to your allergist can narrow it down), you can keep track of when that pollen is at its highest levels, and plan your outdoor activities accordingly. Download a free app such as Pollen.com’s Allergy Alert, which will give the forecast for specific pollens in your city.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, pollen counts are highest right after dawn in rural areas; in urban environments, prime sniffle time is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Since rain and cold weather slow down the release of pollen, your best bet for an outdoor adventure is usually just after a rainfall.
Avoid fall leaves as much as you can.
The best strategy is to avoid raking leaves or mowing the lawn until the fall allergy season is over. But if you’re the family member responsible for yard work, take precautions like wearing goggles and a face mask, suggests Dr. Schussler.
Raking leaves can trigger allergies if you’re sensitive to mold. ElenathewiseGetty Images
Keep pollen outside, where it belongs.
You can’t avoid pollen when you’re walking around outside, but you can do your best to make sure it doesn’t hitch a ride home with you. Wear a hat when outdoors to keep pollen from attaching itself to your hair, and remove hat and shoes when you come inside. (Also, go ahead and be that person who asks all houseguests to remove their shoes.)
Change immediately into indoor clothes, and rinse off before bed so you don’t trail pollen onto your pillow and sheets. Keeping windows closed and running an air conditioner with a HEPA filter can also help, suggests Dr. Schussler.
Dry up any dampness in the house.
Mold grows where it’s moist, so be sure to regularly wash and dry bath mats and towels. If you must use a humidifier in your home, clean it out at least twice a week so mold doesn’t grow in the water tank.
Start taking medications before the season starts.
Talk to your allergist about the best OTC or prescription medications to treat your symptoms early on. These can include antihistamines (which come in pills, nasal sprays, and eye drops), steroid nasal sprays, mast cell inhibitors, and leukotriene modifiers. Simple saline sprays or drops can literally wash the pollen out of your nostrils and eyes.
It’s best to start taking antihistamines a few days before the season starts, says Dr. Schussler. That way, you may not start producing histamines (the chemicals in your body that cause all the itchiness and dripping) at all. Depending on where you live, this preparation could start as early as the beginning of August.
Ragweed pollen is a notorious allergen. bgfotoGetty Images
Look into long-term relief.
If you’ve made your home an allergen-free sanctuary, avoided jumping in leaf piles, and fully stocked your medicine cabinet yet still feel miserable each fall, talk to your allergist about trying a long-term treatment via allergy shots. With this form of immunotherapy, your body gets acclimated to the allergen that’s tormenting you through a series of shots that increase in dosage. The build-up stage can take three to six months and involves weekly or even twice-weekly shots in the doctor’s office. Once you’ve reached the appropriate dose, you’ll need shots only once or twice a month.
A newer form of treatment, called sublingual immunotherapy, replaces shots with tablets that dissolve under the tongue. The great news is that you can take these tablets in your own home, and research shows that they may work as well as allergy shots. So far, health authorities have only approved tablets for just a few specific allergens, but if fall ragweed is your mortal enemy, you’re in luck – there’s a tablet for that.
Marisa Cohen Marisa Cohen is a Contributing Editor in the Hearst Health Newsroom, who has covered health, nutrition, parenting, and the arts for dozens of magazines and web sites over the past two decades.
15 Home Remedies for Allergies
Saline nasal irrigation
A 2012 review of 10 studies showed that saline nasal irrigation had beneficial effects for both children and adults with allergic rhinitis, which is often referred to as hay fever.
By trapping airborne irritants such as pollen, dust, and pet dander, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters reduce allergens in your home.
In a 2003 review, butterbur — also known as Petasites hybridus — was found to be equally effective for itchy eyes as a commonly used oral antihistamine.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in papaya and pineapple. Natural healers consider bromelain to be effective at improving breathing by reducing swelling.
A 2015 review of 13 studies concluded that acupuncture demonstrated positive results for both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis.
A 2015 review of 23 studies indicated that probiotics may help improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Although there’s no scientific evidence to prove it, a popular theory suggests eating locally produced honey. According to the theory, you will lower your allergic reaction over time to the pollen that the bees collect in your area to make their honey.
Air conditioners and dehumidifiers
By removing moisture from the air, air conditioners and dehumidifiers can limit the growth of mildew and mold that can negatively impact allergies.
A 2015 study indicated that dietary spirulina — a blue-green algae — demonstrated antiallergic protective effects towards allergic rhinitis.
Natural healing practitioners suggest stinging nettle as a natural antihistamine to help with allergy treatment.
Quercetin is a favorite of natural healing advocates who believe that it stabilizes the release of histamines and helps to control allergy symptoms. It’s naturally found in broccoli, cauliflower, green tea, and citrus fruits.
Practitioners of natural medication suggest taking 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily to reduce histamine levels.
Peppermint essential oil
A 1998 study showed that peppermint oil treatment had enough anti-inflammatory effects that reduced the symptoms of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis to warrant clinical trials. Essential oils can be diffused into the air but should be diluted in a carrier oil if applied topically.
Eucalyptus essential oil
Advocates of natural healing suggest using eucalyptus oil as an antimicrobial agent by adding it to each load of wash during allergy season.
Frankincense essential oil
Based on the results of a 2016 study, frankincense oil may help against perennial allergic rhinitis. You can dilute it in a carrier oil and use behind your ears or use inhalation by diffusing it into the air.
Allergies can be debilitating. Sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, headaches are just a few symptoms. For some, allergies create fatigue from the reactions and lack of sleep associated with the symptoms. Certain foods can make symptoms worse. A great way to reduce the symptoms along with medical treatment and antihistamines is through nutrition.
Ragweed has many species, and the pollen can be found 400 miles out to sea. It thrives in rural areas and can be at its peak in urban areas between 10 in the morning to 3 p.m. Because ragweed species are common within the United States, makes it difficult to avoid. It can lay dormant for years until the right climate presents itself. Places that are worse with ragweed are parts of Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
The symptoms associated with ragweed are like hay fever. Itchy and watery eyes. Sneezing, nasal congestion and may have coughing. Those with asthma may suffer an asthmatic response, or it can become worse along with severe sinus pressure and infections. Some may even experience ear pain if the excess fluid has built up in the ear canal.
There are ways to keep your allergy symptoms at bay. Your doctor can assist you with immunotherapy and antihistamines. In addition, there are ways you help them at home, reduce interaction with the pollen, and avoid foods that you should not consume during ragweed season.
Foods to Avoid
Oral Allergy Syndrome
Oral Allergy syndrome or OAS is a reaction that occurs when your body interacts with pollen similar to the pollen of certain foods. For example, if you are allergic to ragweed and eat a banana during the height of ragweed season you may notice some uncomfortable symptoms. It is uncommon for young children to exhibit symptoms. Typically it affects teens and young adults.
- Itchy mouth;
- Scratchy throat;
- Lips, mouth and throat swelling.
If you eat any foods that stimulate OAS and are having a reaction, take an antihistamine immediately and stop eating the food until you consult with your doctor. Drink plenty of water and make an appointment.
Not all individuals allergic to ragweed or other environmental allergies will have these reactions when eating these foods. However, if you have these reactions, it is best to avoid them or peel and cook the foods for meals that cause OAS. This can limit or stop the reactions with proper food handling.
If you just have the symptoms of ear pain, congestion, and headaches, then antihistamines will help if taken two weeks before ragweed begins. Administer hydrogen peroxide and warm rags to the inflamed ear (s). Neti pots can help clear out excess mucus in the nasal cavity. A saline solution for your nose for a quick way to clear your nose can help in between neti pot uses.