Ready to be proactive in the war against allergens?
By David Martin, President and CEO of VeinInnovations
Spring started a couple weeks ago and the first major spring celebration, Easter, is around the corner. But one harbinger of spring beat both events to the punch: allergy season is back. In some parts of the country, allergy season 2015 started even before spring did on March 20. From cold season to allergy season, sometimes it’s hard to catch a break!
For the unlucky people who really suffer from allergies each year, now is the time to be proactive. One of the best ways to control your allergies is to reduce allergens in your home. Recruit some other family members (or a friend who owes you one) and tackle your home in a round of spring cleaning.
- To combat mold, use some elbow grease in the kitchen. Start with the sink, scrubbing it down thoroughly, especially around the faucets, to kill and remove any mold. Don’t leave dishes in the sink if you can help it, because they make mold more prone to grow.
- If allergies are a serious issue for you, consider replacing the carpet in your home. Look at wood or tile flooring, as carpeting traps allergens and gives mold a great place to grow.
If you know that the pollen coming in on the breeze does a doozy on your sinuses, resist the urge to ride with the windows down in the car. Keep the windows shut at home, too. The less you interact with pollen, the better.
Natural remedies some swear by include
- The neti pot or NeilMed – use either to deliver saline rinse to clear the sinuses.The NeilMed comes with packets of buffered saline, which doesn’t burn delicate tissues; you just add warm water. Some physicians recommend adding a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil to the salt water to constrict blood
- 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. Some allergist touting herbal remedies claim butterbur to be the Singulair of the herbal world, saying it it has the best evidence behind it because it appears to work as a leukotriene inhibitor, which blocks some chemicals that trigger swelling in the nasal passages. Stinging Nettle, which is often used as an allergy treatment, contains carotene, vitamin K, and quercetin. There’s some evidence that using stinging nettle after the first sign of allergic symptoms can help a bit. Be sure to choose extracts of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) leaf, not the root, which is used to treat prostate Despite its common use, however, there’s not much research backing up stinging nettle’s effectiveness as an allergy remedy.
- HEPA filters. Use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which should trap some of the allergens circulating in your home. Get one for your vacuum cleaner, too. Without it, your vacuum will just shoot the tiny allergens back into the air — and into your nose.
- If you’re heading out to clean a dusty garage or rake during pollen season, gear up. Be sure to wear a mask over your mouth and nose, but don’t forget your eyes. You need goggles, as many allergens enter the body through the eyes.