Last Saturday I woke up with swollen and crusty eyes, a runny nose and congestion. I was a mess. The pain, itchiness and all-around discomfort was brutal. The culprit? Allergies.
If you have been suffering from terrible allergies like me, it is no surprise: this year has had record high pollen counts. Frankly, I tried everything. I took Claritin, I took Zyrtec, I tried allergy eye drops, you name it. Yet, it wasn’t until I tried natural remedies for allergies and sinusitis that I started to see some real relief. Here are my top natural remedies:
- Neti Pot: If you haven’t heard about the neti pot yet, you really need to. Originally an Ayurvedic therapy, the neti pot is used to irrigate your nasal passages using saline solution. This helps to flush out pollen and other allergens from your nasal passages. The neti pot is a small plastic, metal or ceramic device that has a spout and should be used in your bathroom over your sink. As you bend over the sink, you place the spout up one nostril so that you can pour the solution into your nose so that it streams out the other nostril, while keeping your mouth open so that you can breathe. I’m not going to lie, this technique is not the most elegant or attractive, but it does help relieve congestion and allergy symptoms. If your allergies are bad, I recommend you do this at least three times a day.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): Although you may use apple cider vinegar in your food (E.g., Black Bean Salsa), it can also be helpful in warding off and relieving symptoms of allergies. Personally, I found some major relief instantly, even after a few days of harsh symptoms. Take Apple Cider Vinegar as a daily tonic or when you start feeling symptoms of allergies, such as sinus headache, a stuffy nose or watery eyes. Since Apple Cider Vinegar has a strong taste and smell, you can mix a couple of tablespoons of ACV with a glass of water and sip it over a half hour. Or, you can drink the two tablespoons all at once. If you try to drink it straight, hold your nose while you drink it so that it doesn’t have as strong as a taste or smell. If your symptoms don’t disappear immediately, you can take this mixture up to three times a day. If you’ve been experiencing allergies for a few days or so, your symptoms should disappear within about 24 hours. Keep taking the mixture, however for several days to be sure you rid your body of the histamine response.
- Cold Water: The one thing that seemed to most relieve the itchiness and pain in my eyes was frequently flushing my eyes out with cool water. I did this almost every hour for a day or two, and it definitely provided some relief. That said, my condition was so awful, I broke down and went to the eye doctor to get prescription eye drops. He prescribed Patanol, which definitely seems to be helping. He also recommended the over-the-counter eye drop Zaditor Eye Itch Relief which has an antihistamine in it.
Obviously, preventing pollen, ragweed and dust from entering our homes is important as well. Keep the air in your home clean by using Air Purifiers with HEPA Filters. Also, remember that every time we enter our home, we drag in a whole host of unhealthy things from the outside on our shoes, our clothes, and our belongings. To prevent this, remove your shoes before entering your home to keep the worst allergens out!