As the golden rays of the summer sun fade out, and autumn begins to usher in, so do the signs and symptoms of fall allergies. Nasal congestion, sinus pain, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes and nose often signal the harvest for the unlucky 26 million Americans who suffer from fall allergies.
The biggest fall allergy triggers are ragweed, mold, and dust mites. Ragweed usually starts to release pollen on cool nights and warm days in August until October. Around three-fourths of people that are allergic to spring plants also get reaction to ragweed. Molds, on the other hand, grow in your basement or bathroom, or in areas where there is moisture. You would think they are only found indoors, but mold spores also love wet spots outdoors. Piles of damp leaves are breeding grounds for mold. Lastly, though dust mites are common during the humid summer season, they can also get stirred into the air when you first use your heater in the fall.
The good news is that many natural allergy remedies work more effectively than over-the-counter drugs to combat ragweed and other allergen particles.
1. Fill up on butterbur
A German research revealed that sesquiterpenes, a form of hydrocarbon found in essential oils, in butterbur, an herbaceous perennial plant, possess anti-inflammatory qualities. It contains substances that relieve spasms and decrease swelling. It is also positively effective in combating hay fever caused by grass pollen. Evidence indicates that this extract may be as effective as 10 mg per day of cetirizine or 180 mg per day of fexofenadine.
2. Eat more spicy food
Chillies are one of the most popular all-natural remedies. Foods with a naturally spicy kick like jalapeño and chili peppers are recommended for their ability to clear the sinuses. Naturally spicy foods are often able to clear the sinus airways when high pollen counts cause congestion and sinus pain.
3. Scrub your eyelids
It is important to clean your outer eye as the eyelashes are where the pollen tends to accumulate during high-level pollen days. You may use a mild, hypoallergenic baby shampoo to thoroughly wash your eye lashes and lids more than a few times a day. This will help to drastically lessen red, itchy, swollen, irritated eyes.
4. Change your linens regularly
Are your allergy symptoms more severe at night? Or do you feel more congested when you get up in the morning? When this happens, you might be taking pollen to bed with you. It is recommended to shower before you hit the sack or change your pillow cover frequently through the week to avoid morning allergy flare-ups.
5. Stinging nettle
You can purchase over-the-counter antihistamine medication at your local pharmacy, but stinging nettle or common nettle is a natural antihistamine without the nasty side effects of most drugs like dry mouth, difficulty in peeing, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and lethargy. This plant has a long history of use as a source of medicine, food, and fiber. Stinging nettle can be purchased in freeze-dried capsule form or brew it in a tea.
6. Eat plain yogurt
According to nutritionists, plain yogurt has the ability to get rid of allergy symptoms due to the friendly bacteria and anti-inflammatory proteins it contains. Try adding one cup of unsweetened yogurt to your morning breakfast or mid-afternoon snack break to combat sinus congestion.
7. Eat onions
Onions contain a bioflavonoid called quercetin. It minimizes the occurrence of itchy, watery eyes, hay fever, and asthma. Quercetin has also been proven effective for asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and flu. It is recommended to be taken along with vitamin C in doses of 2 grams a day for the best possible results.
8. Take more vitamin C
Allergens can cause certain cells in the body to abnormally produce histamine as an immune response to a perceived threat that would otherwise be harmless to the body. These allergies are common seasonal complaints like tearing, excess mucus and a runny nose. Increasing your daily vitamin C intake prevents the formation of histamine compared to the typical over-the-counter alternative, which works by interfering with the histamine after it has been produced. For optimal results, better take it with bioflavonoids throughout the day, for about 2,000 mg per day for immune support.
9. Drink rooibos tea
Rooibos tea is very commonly used as treatment for chronic headaches, asthma, allergies, and eczema. It is absolutely caffeine-free and has low tannin content. You can drink the beverage all day long without any possible side effects. It also helps boost the immune system by increasing your body’s antioxidants. It breaks up immunoglobulin E, a potent allergy trigger.
10. Neti pots
Many with sinus symptoms from allergies and seasonal irritants use the Neti pot as it mitigates congestion, and facial pain and pressure. The basic mechanism of the Neti pot is that it thins out mucus and helps flush it out of the nasal passages. Neti pots are small vessels used to clear the sinus’ pathways.
If you suffer from fall allergies, don't be anxious about autumn's arrival. Knowing how to reduce your exposure to your known allergens can make all the difference.
Exercising outdoor during the cold season might trigger various allergies due to the weather and prevalent allergens in the air, but this should not stop you from working out and keeping fit.
Here are some tips to help you plan and strategize your workout so you don't have to be stuck working out indoors:
- Know your allergens. Are you allergic to pollen, molds, or spores? Identify what triggers your allergy and take note of your symptoms for better management.
- Check the pollen count. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology has a pollen count tracker for trees, mold, weeds, and grass across the U.S. Also check your local weather forecast and avoid exercising outdoors on dry, warm, and windy days which bring the highest pollen levels.
- Time your exercise. Pollen count is highest between 5:00AM and 10:00am, and at dusk, so best to plan your workout outside these hours. If unavoidable, wear a face mask to prevent inhalation of pollen. Wearing sunglasses can also help if your eyes are sensitive to pollen.
- Plan your workout accordingly. Pick a workout that is less prone to trigger an allergic symptom, and pick an area with less concentrations of allergens and irritants. You can also opt for a sheltered area outdoors for better protection from allergens.
- Take your meds before heading out. If you have a prescription, don’t forget to take it before heading out to lessen the chances of an allergy attack. Also have one ready on-hand in case needed.
For extra measure, Cottonique offers an active lifestyle clothing line so that you won’t need to worry about itching through your exercise routine.
Seasonal allergies need not be a hindrance to your active lifestyle. Just follow these tips and you’ll be breezing through the outdoors in comfort and allergy-free.
As fall season rolls in, it can also mean new allergy triggers are at bay. Amidst the reds, yellows, and oranges that dominates the Autumn months, Ragweed allergies are at its peak as it is the biggest allergy trigger during fall season.
Ragweed usually produces pollen during August to October and dispersed in the wind, causing allergic reactions. Most people who are allergic to spring plants are also allergic to ragweed, and foods like bananas, melon, and zucchini can also cause allergic symptoms to ragweed-sensitive individuals. Mold is another suspect to fall allergies as humidity increases.
What are the common symptoms of fall allergies?
- Runny Nose
- Watery Eyes
- Itchiness around the eyes and nose
How can I prevent it?
- Carry a face mask around. It will be highly useful on windy days as well as when raking leaves outside.
- Keep your windows closed at home and use a dehumidifier.
- Try drying your clothes with a dryer instead of airing them outside as it can gather pollens this way.
- Brush off pollen from your body by taking a shower frequently.
- Remove decaying and deposited leaves on your yard and gutters as they can be home to molds and pollen.
- Clean your heating vents and filters before turning them on.
- Stay indoors when pollen is at peak, which is usually during late morning or midday. Check pollen counts in your area to be guided.
If you are not sure if you allergic to these common fall triggers, it is best to visit your doctor or allergist for a skin test to identify which allergens trigger your symptoms.