Antihistamines may work wonders for some but don’t discount home remedies. Your kitchen cupboard, fridge, freezer or stove may hold the makings of a homespun remedy.
From the cupboard
•Tea has long been valued by allergy sufferers to relieve stuffed-up noses and congestion. Drink green tea daily for its antioxidant properties. A tea made from nettle, a natural antihistamine, may help relieve sneezing and itchy eyes. Peppermint tea contains essential oils that may open up the nasal passages; chamomile and licorice teas have anti-inflammatory properties.
•Salt can be added to warm water to make a saline nasal solution to clear mucus, bacteria and other debris from the nasal passages. Mix 1 tsp. sea salt and ˝ tsp. baking soda with two cups of warm water. Use the solution with a syringe, neti pot or electronic nasal irrigator several times each day.
•Honey, harvested from local bees, has been touted for its ability to desensitize your immune system to local pollens. Start consuming the local honey two months before allergy season; eat 2 T. a day and chew the beeswax too.
From the fridge or freezer
•Wasabi or horseradish can help clear the sinuses by stimulating mucus flow. Other spicy foods may help in a similar manner.
•Garlic helps minimize allergic symptoms, including a runny nose.
•Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties.
•Put cucumber slices on the eyes to neutralize pollens and soothe irritated eyes.
•Ice in a Ziploc baggy or wrapped in a washcloth and applied to the sinuses may give instant relief.
From the stove
•Hot, steamy water can help clear and soothe your sinuses. Boil water in a teapot. Pour the water into a large bowl and lean over the steamy water with a towel draped over your head. Breathe the steam for 5 or more minutes. Or saturate a washcloth with hot water and apply to your sinuses to relieve pain.
An ounce of prevention
Home remedies can help but your best defense is to avoid exposure as much as possible.
•Keep your house clean to help prevent some reactions.
•Special vacuum cleaners with dust-trapping filters may be beneficial.
•Wearing glasses outdoors may help shield your eyes from airborne allergens.
• Keep the windows shut in your home and car.
•Make your house a no-smoking zone.