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Home Care: Spring Allergy Tips

Home care isn't limited to just the home. It applies to the outdoors as well! It wont be long now, spring allergy season is right around the corner!

Tips for Managing Spring Allergies:

  • Try to stay indoors whenever the pollen count is very high (pollen counts usually peak in the mornings).

  • Keep your doors and windows closed whenever possible during the spring months to keep allergens out. An air purifier may also help.

  • Clean the air filters in your home often. Also, clean bookshelves, vents, and other places where pollen can collect.

  • Wash your hair after going outside, because pollen can collect there.

  • Vacuum twice a week. Wear a mask because vacuuming can kick up pollen, mold, and dust that were trapped in your carpet.

  • Common over the counter medications like antihistamines, decongestants, nasal decongestant sprays and nasal saline sprays are often effective in treating seasonal allergy symptoms. Always consult with your doctor or pharmacist when choosing an over the counter medication.

  • If over the counter treatments don't work, your physician may recommend prescription medications or allergy shots.

Some allergy sufferers turn to natural therapies for relief:

  • Butterbur. The herb butterbur (Petasites hybridus), which comes from a European shrub, shows potential for relieving seasonal allergy symptoms. In one Swiss study, butterbur was just as effective as the antihistamine Allegra for reducing allergy symptoms.

  • Quercetin. This flavonoid, which is found naturally in onions, apples, and black tea, has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown in research to block histamines.

  • Stinging nettle. The roots and leaves of the stinging nettle plant (Urtica dioica) have been used to treat everything from joint pain to prostate problems. Some people use freeze-dried stinging nettle leaves to treat allergy symptoms.

  • Nasal irrigation. Nasal irrigation with a combination of warm water, about a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda may help clear out mucus and open sinus passages. You can administer the solution through a squeeze bottle or a neti pot -- a device that looks like a small teapot.

Just because a spring allergy treatment says natural doesn't mean that it is safe. Some herbal remedies can cause side effects or can react with medications you are taking. Talk to your doctor before taking any herb or supplement.

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