Want a natural remedy for your stuffy, runny, itchy nose? Natural treatments can't replace your allergymedications, 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. There's evidence that it might help with allergies. One 2013 study found that 8 weeks of acupuncture cut allergy symptoms. It worked so well that people were able to take lower doses of their allergy drugs.
Alternaria. Aspergillus. Cladosporium. Penicillium. Unless you have a special fondness for fungi, you’re probably not too familiar with these or any of the thousands of other common molds.
But if you’re among the estimated 5% of Americans who have mold allergies, you may be all too well acquainted with the itchy eyes, nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, and other symptoms mold allergies can cause. Severe mold allergies can even trigger potentially dangerous asthma attacks.
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.
Probiotics. These are healthy bacteria that live in your digestive tract. While there are conflicting reports, some studies show that probiotics might reduce allergy symptoms such as runny nose and congestion. You can get them naturally from foods like yogurt and the milk drink kefir. They're also available in supplements.
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.