(NaturalNews) Most people think of spring as prime allergy season, but wintertime can wreak havoc for allergy sufferers as well. Unlikely suspects like a Christmas tree could even be the cause behind some people's winter allergy attacks. Allergies cause annoying sneezing, sniffling and itching that make people want to reach for sprays or over-the-counter allergy medications. These drugs often make people sleepy, which makes working, driving and other activities difficult, even dangerous. As many as one-third of allergy patients say their meds do not even work. A better plan is to identify the triggers and manage winter allergies naturally.
Stinging nettle and butterbur are both natural alternatives to antihistamine medications. These natural herbs do not cause the sleepiness and dry mouth associated with medications, yet studies show that they can both be just as effective as allergy treatments.
Stinging nettle inhibits the production of histamines in the body. The plant grows as a common weed in the U.S. and is sold in capsule form. Research shows that around 300 milligrams daily brings relief from allergies, though sometimes only for a few hours.
Butterbur may work better for some people than stinging nettle. It is also a weed but common to Europe. Butterbur works much the same way that stinging nettle does. One study found that butterbur was as effective as an antihistamine called cetirizine. Participants took 32 milligrams daily split up into four doses. People with a ragweed allergy should not use butterbur because it is from the same plant family.
A third alternative is increasing quercetin intake. This plant-derived compound helps to stop the release of histamine and has antioxidant properties. Quercetin is found naturally in tea, citrus fruits, broccoli, and onions. However, people with allergies likely need more quercetin than they will get from their diet. Allergy sufferers should take around 1,000 milligrams of quercetin daily. For best results, take the supplement between meals and around six weeks prior to allergy season. Magnesium and vitamin C may help prevent allergy symptoms too.
A recent study conducted in Italy discovered that nasal flushing can treat seasonal allergies in kids and lower their need for antihistamines. Nasal flushing is usually accomplished with a neti pot, but people can also cup salt water in their hands to get the solution into their nasal passages. A nasal spray is another natural way to clean out the nose.
It is recommended to use a neti pot twice a day to keep the sinuses clean. Once in the morning and then again after someone has been outside is ideal during allergy season.
Dusty holiday ornaments, Christmas trees, fireplaces, scented candles, and fake snow are all common around wintertime and they can all trigger an allergy response. Decorations packed away all year may come out with mold and dust. Fake snow from aerosol cans are known to trigger allergy symptoms and asthma in some people. Trees may be triggers too, both fake and live. An oil in sap called terpene can cause problems for some people. This oil is in live trees, garlands, and wreaths. Cleaning everything thoroughly to remove dust, mold, and sap can help.
A HEPA air filter can help pull dust from the air and reduce indoor allergies. Cleaning the filter frequently is crucial for benefiting from an air purifier. Crystal salt lamps and certain houseplants can also help clean the air naturally. Washing bedding with hot water and a little bleach rids bedding of dust mites.
About the author: Sarka-Jonae Miller is a published novelist and MARSocial Author of the Year runner-up. She's also a former personal trainer and massage therapist. SJ's published work includes the #3 bestseller "Between Boyfriends" and the just released sequel"Between the Sheets". The chick lit series was recently featured in the San Diego Reader, the largest alternative newsweekly in the United States.