Choosing Health

Breathe Easier: Natural Ways to Combat Hayfever

If you ask my sisters to tell any stories about our family camping trips when we were kids, there is usually some reference to me laying in the tent or pop-up camper breathing out of my mouth with puffy eyes and a nose so stuffed nothing could get through. My eyes watered so badly, it looked like I was crying the entire weekend, and, quite honestly, I felt like it most of the time. I have suffered from hayfever and allergies most of my life. I’m allergic or sensitive to dust, molds, pollens, chemicals, wheat, and dairy, just to name a few. Due to my chemical sensitivities, I am also sensitive to many medications. As a result, I have tried several natural hayfever remedies over the years. I’ve compiled a list of things I have tried and others that have had recommended to me.

Limit exposure

It is as simple as not going where the nasties frolic and play. Some simple ways to limit exposure include: limiting your time outdoors, wearing a mask or gloves, using an air conditioner with a filter that is changed or cleaned regularly, and using room air purifiers. When buying filters and air purifiers, be sure to check the rating of the filter. Not all filters take out the minute particles that cause allergies. Also, weather apps like AccuWeather provide day-to-day updates on pollen, dust, and mold counts. Knowing the levels helps you do know what activities you might need to avoid to limit exposure.

Netti Pot

Yep, that’s right, the Netti pot! Similar to a shower washing away the dirt and grime, the genius behind the Netti pot rests in its ability to flush the nasal cavity clean. And it works! During peak allergy times, Netti pot it twice per day, but be sure to use filtered or distilled water!!

Shower at Night

Those of you who need that morning burst of energy a shower provides may not like this suggestion, but it is an old standby for me. Showering at night removes any of the allergens you may have acquired on your skin and hair during the day, allowing you to sleep with as few irritants as possible. It also keeps your bedsheets free from those nasties a bit longer. Try to change your sheets once a week but no more than every two weeks and use a hypoallergenic pillow and case.

Essential Oils

Another line of defense might be the use of essential oils diffused or applied topically. Some good options include bergamot, cedarwood, chamomile, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemongrass, pine, rosemary, or ylang-ylang. Many reputable companies also have allergy blends that combine a number of these. I encourage you to use essential oils with caution to begin. I have found that I do not do well with several types, and they actually make my allergies worse!

Supplements

Some supplements are known to help hayfever and include bromelain, quercetin, stinging nettle, and magnesium. Many of the supplements for allergies are dose-dependent and may need to be tweaked to get the best results. Check with your physician or naturopath before starting any supplements and be sure to purchase high-quality supplements.

As always, our health posts are not to take the place of working with a qualified naturopathic, integrative, or medical doctor. We hope you breathe easier with some of these suggestions. Please feel free to share any tips and hints you have with us and others in the comments below!

Contributed by Liz Hunt

Sources:

Balch, P. (2010). Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 5th Ed. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Fall River. (2015). The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing: Essential Oils Natural Remedies. New York, NY: Althea Press.

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