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Originally published May 11 2012

DIY solutions for hay fever and seasonal allergies

by Linn Cole

(NaturalNews) Tree and grass pollen are to blame for the hay fever suffered by over 14 million Americans annually during spring and summer. Pet dander, dust and mold all exacerbate allergic reactions; with such ubiquitous foes, it's no wonder people often turn to pharmaceuticals, namely antihistamines and decongestants, for relief. Fortunately, these enemies can be combated with a wide range of natural and cost-effective means, from diet and herbal cures to simple lifestyle changes.

Keeping clean

Maintaining as close to an allergen-free environment as possible at home is an important preventative step. Remove your shoes when returning home, and consider taking a shower and changing your clothes as well. Close windows and use the air conditioner instead; installing air filters in your air conditioner or furnace can reduce airborne particles by up to 95 percent. When cleaning the house, choose simple products like vinegar or baking soda over chemical cleaners to avoid a flare-up of allergic symptoms. Instead of vacuuming a bare floor, wipe with a damp mop instead. Sprinkling tannic acid on carpets will kill dust mites.

Diet-based and herbal remedies

In one study, children who ate a diet high in fruits, vegetables and nuts experienced fewer allergy symptoms. This may be due to the effect of carotenoids, found in orange vegetables and dark leafy greens, and the antioxidant quercetin, found in red and purple fruits, red onion and black tea. omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, both found in fish oil, also appear to play an important role in keeping allergies at bay. Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed oil and walnuts, while vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight.

The herb butterbur has been found to effectively relieve hay fever symptoms, though it is a ragweed and should not be consumed by those allergic to the ragweed family.

Managing hay fever symptoms

Keep in mind that pollen count is highest in the early morning, so aim to go for a walk or run later in the day. A rainy day is even better for hay fever sufferers. When working outdoors, wear an N95 respirator mask, which is capable of eliminating 95 percent of small particles from the air you breathe.

Breathing in steam will ease nasal congestion, whether in the shower or over a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head to trap the steam. Alternatively, make a nasal spray: add half a teaspoon of salt to eight ounces of warm water and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the mixture to a nasal sprayer and use as needed.

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