Fall is officially here, and while the season brings the changing of the leaves and fun activities like pumpkin picking and football, it also might mean red eyes, sneezing and running noses. Spring isn’t the only season that causes allergies, and enjoying all those fun activities in the fall can be difficult without the right kind of allergy management.
Typical fall allergy treatments may include antihistamine medication, which isn’t natural and may cause medical side effects. Additionally, some prescription or over-the-counter allergy drugs don’t work well or can cause harmful side effects if you have health problems like high blood pressure.
Instead, there are lots of ways to fight allergies in a natural way. Not only will these treatments help you avoid putting chemicals into your body, but they may also have other benefits for your overall health. For example, a vitamin C supplement is a natural antihistamine, but it can also help bolster your immune system and prevent you from getting other types of diseases.
Identifying seasonal allergies
Seasonal allergies in the fall are not always caused by the same allergens that plague people in the spring. Ragweed is one of the biggest offenders in late summer and early fall, and it doesn’t usually go away until the first frost occurs. Ragweed pollen can travel long distances, so it has the potential to affect you even if you don’t live near it.
Mold is another common allergen for fall because it thrives in damp places. When the leaves change color and fall, piles of wet and damp leaves on every street quickly become home to mold spores than can irritate your lungs.
Finally, a few year-round allergens have the potential to really disrupt your life. When you close your doors and windows for the winter to fight off the cold, dust mites and pet dander can’t filter out of the house, potentially making your allergy symptoms worse than they were during the summer.
Some allergy symptoms can mimic those of the common cold or flu, so it’s important to note of what all of your symptoms are and make sure you’re properly diagnosed with allergies.
Common signs of seasonal allergies include:
- Itchy throat
- Running nose
- Teary or red eyes
- Wheezing or mild difficulty breathing
Natural remedies for fall allergy symptoms
If you start to feel the familiar symptoms of fall allergies creeping in on you, don’t head straight for the pharmacy. Instead, try some of these natural or home remedies to keep your nose, throat and head clear.
- Prevention is key: Keeping your home clean is one of the best ways to avoid over-exposure to your allergens. Be sure to remove clothing and shoes near the door if you’ve been outside and around allergens. Vacuum your carpets and rugs to keep the home pollen- and dust-free. In high pollen times, keep your windows closed.
- HEPA air filters: HEPA air filters help to remove almost all of the pollen and allergenic microbes from your air. Install HEPA filters in your air conditioning unit or HVAC system to keep your air ultra-clean.
- Spicy foods: Spicy foods like chili peppers and jalapeños can help you clear your sinuses if you’re suffering with congestion and the nasty side effects it causes, like headaches.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps give your immune system a boost, alleviating allergy symptoms. It also helps prevent your immune system from forming histamine, which can be a great prevention technique if you know pollen counts are getting high.
- Natural herb supplements: Natural herb supplements like Eyebright designed for allergy relief contain a blend of herbs that have been shown to reduce histamine levels in the body.
- Anti-inflammatory diet: If allergies are interfering with your life, making changes to your diet can help. Inflammation plays a large role in allergy responses, so avoid inflammatory foods and eat foods that contain properties that help lower inflammation like omega-3 fatty acids and quercetin. Try to add foods like fish, flaxseed oil, onions, grapes, tomatoes and green tea to your everyday meals.
- Stinging nettle: Usually an annoying weed in your garden, stinging nettle can actually help you alleviate symptoms of seasonal allergies. The weed has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties and can be brewed into a tea or taken in freeze-dried capsules.
- Neti pot: Nasal irrigation devices like a Neti pot can be helpful by flushing the sinuses to clear congestion and provide you with instant relief. Always be sure to use sterile saline solutions instead of tap water to prevent infections.
By using a combination of a few of these natural remedies, you may be able to alleviate some or all of your allergy symptoms. Don’t suffer through fall or load up on medications when you can use immunity-boosting, natural remedies and feel better all season long!