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Thread: 27 Home Remedies for Allergies

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    27 Home Remedies for Allergies

    Spring's pollens. Summer's smog. Autumn's falling leaves. Winter's house dust. For millions of Americans, each change of season brings its own brand of allergy triggers and irritants. For people with common hay fever and allergies, these pollutants can bring on symptoms ranging from a continuous, annoying postnasal drip to a full-scale, coughing sneezing-itchy-eyed allergy attack. For other allergy sufferers, such as those with allergic asthma or an allergy to bee stings, attacks can be fatal.

    While life-threatening allergies are a matter of grave concern to discuss with your doctor, there are many simple home remedies for common allergies that can alleviate some of sniffling and sneezing. In this article, we will show you 27 safe and effective home remedies to relieve your allergy symptoms using time-tested methods and everyday materials. Let's get started with a closer look at what allergies are.












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    Understanding Allergies

    Allergies can be called a haywire response of the immune system. Normally, the immune system guards against intruders that it considers harmful to the body, such as certain viruses and bacteria. That's its job. If you're an allergic person, however, the immune system goes a bit bonkers. It overreacts when you breathe, ingest, or touch an ordinarily harmless substance. The benign culprits triggering the overreaction, such as dust, pet dander, and pollen, are called allergens.

    The tendency to become allergic is inherited, and allergies typically develop before age 30. What you become allergic to is based on what substances you are exposed to and how often you are exposed to them. Generally, the more you are exposed to an allergen, the more likely it is to trigger a reaction.

    The body's first line of defense against allergens includes the nose, mouth, eyes, lungs, and stomach. When the immune system reacts to an allergen, these body parts make great battlegrounds. Symptoms include runny nose; sneezing; watery, swollen, or red eyes; nasal congestion; wheezing; shortness of breath; a tight feeling in the chest; difficulty breathing; coughing; diarrhea; nausea; headache; fatigue; and a general feeling of misery. Symptoms can occur alone or in combination.

    In many cases, allergy symptoms are difficult to differentiate from the symptoms of other disorders and illnesses, such as a cold, a deformity of the nose, or food intolerance. For this reason, many doctors suggest that allergies be properly diagnosed by a board certified allergist (a medical doctor specially trained to treat allergies) to avoid the self-administration of inappropriate medications or other remedies.

    Also, many allergy sufferers can benefit from today's wide range of available treatments, such as new antihistamines that don't cause drowsiness (including both prescription and over-the-counter drugs), nasal corticosteroids, and allergy injections that can provide immunity to a specific allergen. (An allergen is the technical name for any substance, such as pollen, that causes an allergic reaction.) If you don't go to the doctor, you may be missing out on a treatment that could be of great help to you.

    However, many mild allergies, such as seasonal hay fever or an allergy to cats, can be treated with a combination of properly used, over-the-counter antihistamines and a wide range of strategies to reduce or eliminate exposure to particularly annoying allergens. In the next section, we will look at some home remedies to help you avoid these allergens and relieve allergy symptoms if you are exposed.



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    Home Remedy Treatments for Allergies

    The following home remedies are designed to help reduce the discomfort caused by the most common allergies. They may be used in combination with an allergist's treatment or, if your allergies are mild, by themselves.



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    Avoid the culprit

    Sometimes, the best way to reduce the discomfort of an allergy is to avoid exposure to the allergen as much as possible. If you are allergic to cats, for example, avoid visiting the homes of friends who own them. If you must be around a cat, make the visit as short as possible, avoid touching or picking up the animal, and wash your hands when you leave.



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    Rinse your eyes

    If your eyes are itchy and irritated and you have no access to allergy medicine, rinsing your eyes with cool, clean water may help soothe them. Although not as effective as an antihistamine, this remedy certainly can't do any harm.



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    Try a warm washcloth

    If sinus passages feel congested and painful, a washcloth soaked in warm water may make things flow a little easier. Place the washcloth over the nose and upper-cheek area and relax for a few minutes.



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    Use saline solution

    Irrigating the nose with saline solution (salt water) may help soothe upper respiratory allergies by removing irritants that become lodged in the nose and cause inflammation. In fact, saline solution may even wash away some of the inflammatory cells themselves. You can buy ready-made saline solution at your local drugstore, or you can make your own fresh solution daily by mixing a teaspoon of salt in a pint of warm, distilled water and adding a pinch of baking soda. Bend over a sink and sniff a bit of solution into one nostril at a time, allowing it to drain back out through the nose or mouth; do this once or twice a day. (If you also have asthma, however, check with your doctor before trying this remedy.)



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    Wash your hair

    If you've spent long hours outdoors during the pollen season, wash your hair to remove pollen after you come inside. The sticky yellow stuff tends to collect on the hair, making it more likely to fall into your eyes.



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    Take a shower

    If you wake up in the middle of the night with a coughing, sneezing allergy attack, a hot shower may wash off any pollen residues you've collected on your body throughout the day. (You might want to change your pillowcase, too.) It may also help open up your sinuses, at least for a while, making breathing a little easier. The warm water may even help you relax and go back to sleep.



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    Wear glasses

    On a windy day in pollen season, a pair of sunglasses (or your regular prescription eyeglasses, if you wear them) may help shield your eyes from airborne allergens. For extra protection, try a pair of sunglasses with side shields or even a pair of goggles.



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