Want a natural remedy for your stuffy, runny, itchy nose? Natural treatments can't replace your allergy medications, but they can work alongside them. From acupuncture to supplements, here are some simple things that might help you breathe easier.
Acupuncture. In this ancient Chinese therapy, an expert sticks tiny needles gently -- and, many people say, painlessly -- into your skin at specific points. Studies of acupuncture for the treatment of allergies have shown mixed results, with the most rigorous studies showing very modest clinical benefit. Acupuncture may be a reasonable option for interested patients with relatively mild disease who wish to minimize medication use and find the cost of therapy acceptable.
Allergy-proofing your home. You can't stop pollen from blowing outside. But you do have some control over what happens inside your home. Keep your windows shut when pollen is in the air. Run the air conditioning instead. If you can, change your clothes before coming inside (or as soon as you get in), remove your shoes, and shower.
HEPA filters. Studies are mixed about whether air filters help with allergy symptoms. That’s because far more allergens rest on surfaces like rugs, furniture, and countertops than simply hang in the air. So cleaning is an important step in controlling your allergy and asthma triggers. If you buy an air filter, make sure it's a HEPA filter. These capture fine, pollen-sized particles. It's a good idea to get a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, too. Regular vacuums can blow allergens back into the air.
Nasal washes. You could use a saline solution (salt water) in a neti pot or a squeeze bottle to rinse out your sinuses. Use distilled or sterile water. If you use tap water, you must boil it and let it cool off first, or filter it with a filter that says “NSF 53” or “NSF 58” or says “absolute pore size” of 1 micron or smaller. Clean the bottle or neti pot after every use, also using distilled, sterile, boiled, or filtered water.
Protection. If it's allergy season, keep your triggers at bay. Don't do outdoor activities when pollen counts are high. Most pollen peaks between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. each day, and can also be high around midday when it’s warm and windy. And anytime you garden or clean the garage, wear a dust mask and sunglasses to keep allergens out of your nose, mouth, and eyes.