“Darn you, spring.” Is probably what a lot of you are muttering under your breath as your stuffy nose makes those very words of hatred completely incomprehensible to the human ear. A huge chunk of us within the States are already feeling the wrath of spring as it spreads its misery dust everywhere and causes a plethora of issues all around. Runny or stuffy noses, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, headaches…the list goes on and on. Nevertheless, we’ve all got stuff to do meaning that we can’t just hide inside of our homes forever. Even if the outside is trying to attack us.
How Do Allergies Work?
Allergies are – for all intents and purposes – the reaction of your immune system to certain substances and to be allergic to something is the act of your body creating antigens to fight against said substance. Constant and repeated exposure to the allergen can increase how serious any future reactions to it may be.
Granted, this is a pretty generalized explanation of how allergies work, but anything here can be applied to pollen as well, so take note if I’m saying something that you may not have been aware of. Allergies are – for all intents and purposes – your immune system’s reaction to certain substances and actually being allergic to something is the act of your body creating antigens to fight against said substance. Just as people themselves are different, so too is the way their immune system handles being in contact with any allergens. The resulting response can be mild, such as sniffing or sneezing, to life-threatening (also known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock). Constant and repeated exposure to the allergen can increase how serious any future reactions to it may be.
We Attack Pollen…
Also, I wasn’t kidding about the attacking thing I’d mentioned before. To be more specific, it’s not really so much that the outside itself is trying to attack us, but rather, our bodies are trying to attack the pollen that’s coming from outside. An allergic reaction starts in your immune system and is triggered when a person comes across anything that they might be allergic to – be it dust, mold, pollen or fur, just to name a few examples. The immune system, in trying to do its job, will overreact in the form of making antibodies that “attack” or try to eliminate the allergen and it ends up causing an adverse reaction (like the aforementioned sneezing or runny nose).
Even though allergies are typically found in children, anyone can be affected at any stage in their lives and their allergies can even come back after having been in remission after years. Stress, smoke, perfume, hormones, or environmental factors can also influence if allergies develop and how serious they may be.
One other thing that we should go over in greater detail is anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis, as we’ve said before, is a life-threatening reaction that is categorized by swelling body tissues (in the throat, for example). Everyone doesn’t have the exact same experience with anaphylaxis, but usually, the symptoms are as follows:
- Feeling warm
- Itching and hives on most of your body
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Throat and tongue swelling or tightness in the throat
- Feeling warm
- Pain or cramping
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Feeling light-headed
- Abnormal heart rate (either too fast or slow)
- Loss of consciousness
Exposure to an allergen such as certain foods, drugs, serums, insect venom’s, chemicals or allergen extracts can cause anaphylaxis to occur. A safety precaution that people that are aware of what it is that they are allergic to and their allergic reactions, they may carry an emergency kit that allows them to inject epinephrine to stop or slow the reaction.
What Are Some Natural Ways That I Can Treat My Allergies?
Now before I continue, if there is a particular allergy medication that you take, I’m not telling you to not take it. By all means, if it helps, the keep right on ahead. Think of this as me merely offering alternative natural options for anyone that doesn’t want to rely on medication. Well, now that that’s out of the way, let me give you a few ways that you can relieve yourself from springtime’s absolute hatred of you.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is a condiment that can do pretty much anything. And I mean anything. Really. You can clean with it, use it as a dressing, make your clothes smell better, and even reduce heartburn. This stuff can do it all! You can also use it to help banish your allergies which it does by causing a reduction in mucus production and cleaning your lymphatic system. One small issue that you may run into is that apple cider vinegar tastes…kind of not that great on its own. To solve this, you can simply add a tablespoon of it and some honey to a cup of hot water.
Sometimes it may seem like your body is actually conspiring along with pollen to make spring absolutely awful for you. I already said that allergic reactions are your immune system trying to get rid of the “alien” substance in your body, the thing about that is, you can sort of teach your body that the great outdoors isn’t some horrible monster that wants to destroy you.
The trick is to eat some local honey. The honey may contain some trace amounts of the same pollen that is making feel bad. You won’t kill your allergies forever, but you can help to alleviate the symptoms over time.
Net Pot/Saline Rinse
Inside of your nose is a maze of small passages that are just the perfect spot for pollen, dirt, and other absolutely “delightful things” to get lodged into. The fact of the matter is, you are going to feel like a hideous semi breathing beast until you get those nasty substances out. To fix this, you can try using a neti pot.
A neti pot is a container that you use to rinse debris or mucus from your nose and is actually pretty effective. The catch is that using a neti pot can actually be pretty messy and you do have to know what you are doing. If you do decide to use this form of allergy relief, then make sure that you use clean water or sterile solution. And whatever you do, DO NOT force the solution into your nasal passages. Please let gravity handle the flow, it does not need your assistance.
I can totally understand not wanting to pour water up your nose. Like the rest of us sane people in the world, you’re not really sure if that’s a thing you want to do. That’s fair. Luckily for you, there is another way for you to flush unwanted things from your nostrils. Nasal sprays do pretty much the same thing that neti pots do except it’s much simpler and less messy. Just spray the solution one every day and you’ll be good to go.
This one should be easy, after all, this is something that you should most definitely make a habit of doing anyway. Being dehydrated doesn’t do you any favors. At all. It can make you moody, hungrier than normal, and make weight loss a general pain. It can exacerbate whatever allergy symptoms that you’re suffering and is just flat out bad for you. Be sure to hydrate often and you’ll be amazed at the changes in your health!
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