© 2016 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
Peak allergy season is upon us, in many parts of the country, and the misery of allergy stress is keeping sufferers from enjoying Upbeat Living. Sniffles, congestion, headaches, sore throats, raspy voices, brain fog, fatigue, and even nausea are all symptoms people are having this week. For those who want to track the density of pollen in their area, websites like Pollen.com can send out a daily email alert, with a rating of 0 to 12, and the types of pollens that are high that day. Today, my city, Phoenix, rings in at a whopping 10.6.
Everyone knows there are over-the-counter antihistamines of several different types. If you have been taking one, and it isn’t working while a particular pollen is high, you may want to try another type. Also, there is now a different type of medication for allergy, an antileukotreine, that may work better for you. A popular prescription brand is Singulair, with the generic name Montelukast. Check with your doctor about symptoms and possible interactions with other drugs you may be taking.
But wait! This column is usually about natural solutions! Yes, and these tend to be low-cost and pleasant, with quick- and also extended relief. Here are some you may want to try.
- Rinse your sinuses with salt water. You can purchase a pot with a pointed end through which to sniff or snort the salt water. It might be called a neti pot. Be sure to follow the instructions on keeping the pot clean. You can also put warm water and a pinch of salt in a small bowl, and simply sniff or snort the salt water. Hold your head back or down, and hold your nostrils, to get the salt water into your sinuses. Blow the water and possibly mucus out and repeat several times; you may also want to gargle with the leftover salt water. There are packets of salt water available to add to your warm water.
- Stay inside and be sure your air system filter has been changed. You can also run room-size air filter units ($39 to $450); park one near your work area. Some types are silent, and some make a humming or whirring sound. Some require purchased replacement filters, and some simply have a contact plate inside to wipe clean. Play around with different models, to find the best type for you and your budget.
- Outside, filter what you breathe. Wear a mask if you like, and have a fresh air filter installed in your car. There is probably also an “air recirculate” setting on your air conditioner or heater. Use that to limit the amount of fresh air coming in.
- Vacuum and dust. Allergens such as dust can make your seasonal allergies worse. Use a water-bath vacuum if you have one, and use a damp cloth for dusting.
- Try a salt lamp. Salt lamps favorably change the ions in the room, and they are said to purify the air. Until more research is done, think of salt lamps as pleasant glowy things that offer a comforting, soft light, and may be beneficial to your health. These are available in white or amber, in natural mineral shapes and as spheres, from golf-ball size to bowling-ball size. My office has an 8” round salt lamp in each room, with embedded dimmer switches; found online, they were about $35 each.
- Wash and dry your hair every night. Yes! Your hair efficiently picks up odors, smoke, dust, and pollens, during the day. Then, when you lie down to sleep, you are breathing a special concentration of the very irritants that are causing your allergy stress. So wash that hair every night.
- Put a small, fresh towel across your pillow every night. Especially if nightly hair washing doesn’t work for your lifestyle, at least you can give yourself a clean surface to sleep on every night. In the morning, throw that little towel in the wash and launder it on HOT with natural detergent. Dry it on HOT. You can also use a bath towel you have folded into a pillow size and shape.
- Do yoga or chikung (Chinese yoga) to increase breath. Ask your yoga- or chikung teacher, or try these exercises: in yoga, do Suryanamaskar, the Salutation to the Sun. In chikung, do the Northwest Exercise.
- Take Vitamin C and its friends. Vitamin C increases breath and strengthens your blood vessels. Some Vitamin C supplements are available with other helpful vitamins, minerals or herbs that may reduce your allergy symptoms. The two most popular are Emergen-C and Airborne.
- Elevate your head when sleeping. If you are very congested, despite your best efforts, sleep on a wedge pillow or simply add an extra pillow. As always, experiment to make it the most comfortable.
- See your doctor. If your throat feels raw, or your nasal discharge is white or green, it may be time to let your doctor check for strep and its friends. Infections are even less fun than allergies!
Have fun experimenting with a few, or all, of these natural helps. Remember, what relieves your allergy stress may or may not work for your friend or your relative. Hopefully, you’ll be much more comfortable after using these tips, and you’ll be able to enjoy your life during pollen season. And that’s Upbeat Living!
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, plus Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine. All the books are available through her office. Just call, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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