Spores of pollen are taking aim at sinuses like billions of tiny fighter jets traveling every which way through the air. Allergy sufferers in the U.S. Northeast are feeling the effects of a particularly harsh winter and a delayed spring that has whipped up a sudden frenzy of tree and flower pollen dubbed the “pollen tsunami.” Enter: the dreaded 2015 allergy season.
A cold, snowy winter in the Northeast, coupled with the stopover of the infamous polar vortex, left plants already were well-hydrated by the time spring arrived. Moisture fuels higher levels of pollen and lends itself to higher pollen counts in the air, according to WWMT-TV in Michigan.
Despite what the name might imply, the pollen tsunami hasn’t broken any records just yet, according to NBC News.
Allergy relief comes in many forms, including over-the-counter drugs like Benadryl and Claritin, but there are some natural steps people can take to fend off the sniffles, sore throat, and itchy eyes and ears. “Using nature-based products can be a very useful way to handle mild allergies and a useful adjunct for more significant allergies, and there are many types of treatments you can safely try," Dr. Mary Hardy, director of integrative medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told WebMD. Here are five natural allergy remedies to help you hold your ground during the pollen tsunami.
1. Probiotics. Allergies are caused by an imbalanced immune system, according to a National Institutes of Heath study. Probiotic therapy can help alleviate symptoms.
2. The neti pot. This handy little device allows allergy sufferers to flush out their nasal cavities using nothing but gravity. It’s not removing the root of the problem – the pollen – but it does remove mucus and other irritants from the nose. You can buy premade saline rinses or make your own by dissolving 1 teaspoon of sea salt in warm water. Cool the water before putting in the neti pot.
3. Start taking fish oils. A study of allergic asthma sufferers found that those who took fish oil supplements for a month were able to decrease the amount of leukotrienes, a chemical that contributes to allergies, in their systems.
4. Apple cider vinegar. This centuries-old remedy can reduce the amount of mucus produced by the body and also aids in digestion and weight loss. Simply mix a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar in water and drink three times a day.
5. Red onion water. This is essentially nature’s version of an antihistamine, according to Everyday Roots. Infusing sliced onion in water for eight to 12 hours before drinking releases a compound called quercetin, which can reduce the amount of histamine in the body.