When the temperatures rise, trees bloom and your nose starts to run. It itches, too; you keep sneezing or coughing, and your eyes won't stop watering. These are all signs
of seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever and most commonly caused by tree pollen that iritates your nasal passages. Pollen from birch, cedar, cottonwood and
pine are particularly big allergy triggers. And if you feel as if your symptoms are getting worse every year, you're not crazy: Research shows pollen counts are slowly rising
and expected to double by 2040. Also, if you suffer from migraines and could swear you get more of them when your allergies attack, you might be right again: Recent
preliminary research linked nasal allergies and hay fever to an increase in the frequency and severity of these painful headaches.
In the past year, almost 17 million adults
were diagnosed with hay fever. Steering clear of allergens is the best way to reduce symptoms, but that's tough with billions of tiny pollen particulates in the air.. As the
golden days of summer begin to fade, thoughts often turn to the last sun-ripened tomatoes and bringing in the harvest. But if you or someone you know are among the more
than 26 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies (or the estimated 50 million who suffer from all types of allergies), you may be focused more on pollen counts,
the first freeze, and stocking up on tissues and allergy meds than on harvesting tomatoes.
Members of the sniffling, sneezing and itching allergy demographic typically rely on numerous drugs and sprays for relief often with mixed results. Many pharmaceutical
treatments relieve sneezing and itching, but do little to treat congestion, and vice versa. In fact, at a recent meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and
Immunology, Dr. William E. Berger reported that nearly a third of allergy patients think their medications don’t work. Plus, pharmaceutical remedies are often expensive and
frequently come with unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness and nasal irritation. The sedative effects of these drugs can impair driving ability and cause a mental
disconnect that many users find irritating. Annual bouts with pollen aren’t just uncomfortable, they also take a toll on mental well-being. Studies have shown that during
ragweed season, allergy sufferers often experience a general sense of fatigue especially mental fatigue and are more prone to feelings of sadness. People who suffer from
allergies also are up to 14 times more likely to experience migraine headaches than those who don’t have allergies. Given these statistics, you might want to pull the covers
over your head and wait until the whole season blows over. But it is possible to step outdoors safely without first loading up on allergy medications, even when ragweed is in
full bloom. Here are several natural alternatives that are medically proven to help control allergies and help you breathe easier, even when pollen counts are at their worst.
Some tips for you:
-Before heading out, check the local news or visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology's National Allergy Bureau (aaaai.org/nab) for up-to-date
readings. If levels are high, limit your time outside and take allergy medications.
-Good advice for at home and in the car to help keep pollen out. Cool with the air conditioner instead.
-Pollen counts are usually highest from 5 to 10 a.m. If you plan to garden, mow the lawn or take on other allergen-stirring chores, wear a mask.
-Moisture helps clear pollen from the air. Dry, windy days are more likely to have a lot of pollen.
-After being outside, it's a good idea to toss your clothes in the hamper and rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
-As nice as the fresh-air smell may be, pollen can cling to your clothes, sheets and towels.
-They can help keep indoor air cleaner by trapping pollen and other allergens if you use forced air-conditioning or heating systems.
-Rinsing your sinuses is a quick, natural and effective way to flush out mucus and allergens so you can breathe easier.
-Some over-the-counter oral decongestants can cause side effects, including increased blood pressure and insomnia; certain nasal sprays should be used for only a few
days. Your doctor or allergist can help determine the best medication for you.
-Most medications work best if taken before pollen hits the air. Ask your doctor when you should start treatment; some allergists recommend treatment about two weeks
before symptoms typically surface.