Fight allergies the natural way
Simple habits such as drinking water and keeping your home clean can reduce allergic reactions
It seems like all sorts of allergies are becoming more common these days. Although there are new types of medications, people still fall sick or get allergies. Instead of popping some pills to resolve your issues, here are some ways to naturally defeat them.
LIMIT YOUR OPEN WINDOWS
It may be nice to draw the curtains and push your windows open to let in some fresh air and wind, but it also allows dust and germs to enter. Keeping your windows shut all the time is not a good idea either - it contains all the bacteria and air within an enclosed area, which causes more bacteria to breed.
You can still ventilate your house - just choose the right time. Try to open your windows in the early morning or late evening for the freshest air.
If you live near the road, close the windows during peak hours.
Keeping your home and body clean will help control the amount of dust and dirt that you come into contact with.
Dust mites like to live in humid places, and dead skin flakes on carpets, beds and furniture will attract more dust mites, so wash your bedding every one to two weeks.
WEAR A MASK
When you are outdoors, you cannot do much about the millions of germs in the area and air, but you can protect yourself from inhaling dust by wearing a mask.
However, not all masks meet the same standards for reducing inhalation of pollution. Workplace safety masks and haze masks are usually your best bet.
DO A NASAL RINSE
When you feel congested, try doing this trendy teapot-in-the-nose rinse that has been all over YouTube, Instagram and even on TV. Also known as nasal irrigation, it is a process where a saline solution is poured into one nostril and flows out from the other to remove mucus and allergens. It might feel uncomfortable but it is bearable once you get used to it.
Remember to breathe through your mouth to prevent inhaling the solution. Repeat on other nostril to clear it too.
Allergic reactions happen when the body realises something is a threat to it and produces antibodies and histamine to combat it. Your histamine levels increase when you are dehydrated, so having enough water helps regulate it.
Just drinking water is not enough to prevent allergic reactions, but it can help to maintain normal histamine levels so your body can focus on dealing with your allergic reaction.
EAT HEALTHY FOODS
There are specific foods that can help your body fight allergens. Fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C and E can reduce swelling in airways.
Tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, green beans and zucchinis can also help reduce allergy symptoms, while probiotics offer anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects while promoting a healthy gut. Fish has been found to lower chances of getting allergies altogether.
Inhaling first-hand or second-hand cigarette smoke can irritate people suffering from asthma or rhinitis. It can cause difficulty in breathing, watery eyes, coughing and sneezing. While it may not be considered an allergen, it irritates the body and can trigger more uncomfortable symptoms.
Newer studies show that acupuncture can help relieve symptoms of allergies too. Sneezing and itchy eyes have been treated with successful results.
A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal on 422 people with pollen allergies and nasal symptoms showed that participants who underwent acupuncture responded positively. What is surprising is that it happened even for those who did random acupuncture, which could mean the placebo effect is strong too.
This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)