The months of spring give rise to a spate of allergic reactions. Pollen, dust and other air-borne particles cause more than 25 million of the American population to suffer from sneezing, swollen glands, watery eyes and nasal passages. Allergic reactions can even cause excessive fatigue, mental fog, headaches and depression.
There are various medications and sprays available but many of these come with side effects like drowsiness and may not relieve congestion.
The best way to deal with allergens is to use natural preventive methods and to build the body's own defense mechanisms.
What are some natural methods that can help prevent allergic reactions?
Avoid fans - Air blowing in rooms causes dust mites and particles to get whipped around and pushed into nasal passages.
Shower after coming home - Showering after coming in from outside will allow pollen and other particles to get rinsed off skin and hair.
Remove shoes and clothing after entering the house. This will prevent allergens from being in your environment and also from shedding onto furniture and the floor.
In countries like India and Japan it is customary to take off shoes at the front door to prevent outside dirt from coming in.
Avoid humidifiers - If you are allergic, humidity can worsen symptoms as it allows dust mites to grow.
Keep windows closed to prevent pollen and dust from entering.
Avoid alcohol and certain foods - Alcohol worsens symptoms as it promotes blood flow to nasal passages. Avoid alcohol and foods like bananas, melons, eggplant, apples, peaches, pears which cause cross reactivity - a symptom whereby if you suffer from seasonal allergies, these foods trigger a similar reaction.\
Meat and dairy products can also trigger allergic reactions. A fatty acid called arachidonic acid that exists solely in animal products stimulates the production of leukotrienes by the body that causes blockage of bronchial tubes.
Wear a mask - In countries like China where there is extreme air pollution it is not uncommon for people to go about wearing a mask. If wearing a mask does not appeal asthetically consider wrapping a scarf around your head and nose. This will help to physically prevent allergens from entering the nasal passages. There are also mesh filters available that can directly be applied to the nostrils.
Vegetables, fruits and foods like chocolate and tea that are high in flavonoids are very beneficial in preventing the body's immune response to allergens.
Herbs like Garlic, Amalaki / Indian gooseberry, Vasaka / Malabar Nut, Holy Basil / Tulasi, Turmeric and ayurvedic herbal blends like Septilin and Chyawanprash also help to build up the body's immune system.