What to Do About Allergies: Over-the Counter and Natural Remedies

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Spring started earlier than usual this year in most of the United States.

This weather pattern means an earlier start of pollen and other allergens.

It makes for a lo-o-ong allergy season for some. And for some in the southern regions, allergy season never fades. Allergies are different for different people, and symptoms can range from mild discomfort to near disability due to incredible discomfort.

To reduce exposure to common allergens, Dr. Ivy Branin, of Simplicity Health Associates in New York, suggests:

  1. Remove jackets and shoes when entering the home, as to not track pollen through the house.
  2. Try to plan exercise times to an afternoon or evening time. Morning time has heavier pollen.
  3. Wash hair before bed, as to not take pollen to bed with you.
  4. Keep windows and doors closed in the early hours to keep pollen from blowing in to the house.
  5. Vacuum often. Bare floors are more allergy-friendly than carpet.

 What To Do – Option One: Western Medicine

Depending on your allergy and symptoms, there are several medicines on the market to give you some relief. Like all medicines, these can have some side effects, so make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of these medicines are right for you.

  1. Loratadine. Loratadine is an antihistamine. That means that the medicine can block certain allergens from entering the blood stream through the nose. Many antihistamines cause sleepiness for some people.
  2. Pseudoephedrine. In the United States, pseudoephedrine medicines must be requested from the pharmacy desk. This medicine constricts blood vessels in the nose to reduce the amount of allergens that can enter the blood stream. Obviously, it will not only constrict blood vessels in the nose. It constricts all the blood vessels, which can have an impact on the heart. Many people have a feeling of their heart racing on this medicine.
  3. Oxymetazonline: This medicine works as a spray. Since it is directed only into the nose, it constricts only the sinus area blood vessels, not the vessels of the entire body. As a result, the head may feel more open, but there are none of the side effects of pseudoephedrine. Oxymetazonline should only be used a couple of times within a couple of days. Prolonged use will negate the affects, and actually cause the sinuses to swell.

For any of these medications, look on the box of the medicine itself for the “active ingredient.” Many drug companies use many different formulas, so make sure you are getting the active ingredient you are looking for.

 What To Do – Option Two: Vitamins, Supplements, and other Natural Remedies

More and more doctors are relying on eastern or ancient medicine to treat all kinds of ailments. Allergies are a good example. Many patients want solutions that do not have side effects and do not interfere with other drugs, or with other activities.

  1. Saline: Simple salt water can flush out the nasal passages, loosening mucous and allergens. Using a simple saline nasal spray or with a neti pot once or twice a day.
  2. Vitamin C. We recognize Vitamin C as a help to our immune system, but it also helps in blocking histamine.
  3. Quercetin supplements. Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that happens naturally in plants. The flavenoids present in quercetin are known for their ability to naturally block histamine. Quercetin is available in supplement form, though it is usually paired with something else. Ask your doctor before using quercetin.
  4. Many doctors also recommend chiropractic adjustments, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and homeopathy. What you want to try will depend on your willingness to try, and what you think works for you.

Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, President of Parker University, and author of the book The Power of Self Healing, recommends these and other practices for natural healing.

SML TIP:  Whether you choose all western medicines, natural medicines, or a combination, hopefully you and your doctor can find some relief for you this spring!

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