Sniffles, and Coughs, and Sneezes! Oh My!

Autumn has officially arrived.

That means people in the northern states are enjoying the beautiful fall foliage. People in the southern states are enjoying temperatures in the 80s. And people everywhere are definitely not enjoying itchy watery eyes, runny noses, congestion, coughing, and sneezing caused by seasonal allergic rhinitis.

If not taken care of promptly and properly, these symptoms can become an annoyance; trouble is, over-the-counter antihistamines and steroid-based nasal sprays can cause drowsiness, nose bleeds, and other undesirable side effects. Fortunately, there are some natural alternatives that can help prevent and eliminate the symptoms of hay fever.

An important first step in reducing your symptoms is to eliminate as many other sources of allergens as possible. Pet dander, dust mites, and other indoor irritants can exacerbate hay fever symptoms. A home air purification system can help reduce these allergens, as can regular dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning, and replacing your heating/cooling system’s air filters.

Food allergies and intolerances can be another source of irritation. The symptoms of food sensitivities can mimic those of hay fever, and together they can become debilitating. A good way to discover your food sensitivities is to have a comprehensive food sensitivity test. This will tell you exactly what foods you need to eliminate, how to rotate your remaining food choices for optimal health, and when to safely reintroduce foods that caused a reaction.

When hay fever symptoms do occur, clean your nasal cavity with a saline solution to flush away allergens, bacteria, and environmental irritants. Two popular and effective methods of nasal irrigation include saline sprays and neti pots.

Another great way to ease symptoms is acupuncture. This ancient Chinese method of correcting your Qi is recognized by the World Health Organization as an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis.

Many health care practitioners recommend butterbur, grape seed extract, and other supplements for allergic rhinitis, but there is no solid evidence that these products have any positive effect on the debilitating symptoms of seasonal allergies. In desperation, many people will turn to these products or harmful over-the-counter remedies in the hope that their symptoms will improve. Instead of wasting your time and money on inferior treatments, stick to the proven methods listed above to reduce your sniffles, coughs, and sneezes all year long.