Dread the coming of spring? If you’re like millions of Canadians (20% of us) who suffer from allergies to pollen, mold or dust, spring brings sneezing, wheezing, weeping eyes and runny nose. Although scientists don’t know why allergies develop, heredity is a predictor: when one parent has allergies, you have a 75% chance of developing them; when both parents are affected, you’ll almost certainly suffer.

If you do, you have probably thought of trying to reduce your dependency on pharmaceutical drugs for relief.

Here are 6 ways to keep allergies at bay naturally.

  1. Have a gut reaction. The most common cause of allergies is thought to be poor digestion. If food is not properly digested, it can linger in your digestive tract, become an allergen, weaken immunity, and trigger reactions to other antigens like pollen. Get your system back on track by avoiding foods that create gastrointestinal upset such as meat and dairy (that also increase congestion), taking digestive enzymes, and eating more fresh vegetables and essential fats, since studies have found that people who eat more of these have fewer allergy symptoms.
  1. Rinse your nose. Although it may look unpleasant, a nasal rinse quickly and easily cleans mucous from your nose, helps relieve allergy symptoms, rinses away bacteria, and decreases postnasal drip. You can make it yourself by combining 1/2 tsp salt with ¼ tsp baking soda in a 10-ounce glass of warm water. Using a neti pot, flush one nostril at a time while leaning over a sink. 
  1. Wear a mask. When you’re mowing the lawn or raking, or inside vacuuming dust tracked in from outside, wearing an inexpensive dust mask can prevent most allergens from getting into your airways. For greater protection, invest in a respirator that will block 95% of small particles including pollen. Note: Pollen is highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. so do yardwork after this time. 
  1. Drink more water. If you have chronic postnasal drip or you’re often congested due to allergies, you may not be drinking enough water. Hot drinks like tea, broth or plain hot water are especially soothing because the steam helps to thin the mucous in nasal passages. 
  1. Try mushrooms. Reishi mushroom acts as a natural antihistamine. The ganoderic acids in it stop the histamine that is released when your body senses an allergen. These ganoderic acids also improve the body’s use of oxygen and increase your liver function, which also help reduce allergy symptoms. 
  1. Look to the past for relief. Time-honoured homeopathic medicines are said to be very safe and appropriate for people of all ages. Ask a homeopathic doctor about gelsemium, alumen chromicum, allium cepa or histaminum that may help to relieve symptoms and even prevent reactions from occurring.


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