If hay fever has you feeling miserable, here are some simple lifestyle and diet strategies you can implement to improve your quality of life and help you thrive (not just survive) when the pollen flies.

  1. Bring in the freshness. Pollen can easily find its way indoors, so consider purchasing a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filterThese eliminate up to 99.97% of airborne particles that can contribute to seasonal allergies. Reputable companies include IQAirMission Allergy, and Blueair.  (Note: no compensation has been received to endorse these companies)
  2. Flush it! Sinus flushing with a saltwater solution is an ancient treatment for allergic symptoms, and can provide much sought-after relief from the facial pain, headaches, watery discharge, and nasal congestion associated with hay fever. Stay tune for the next blog post for more information.
  3. Be prepared. Leave home armed with the information you need by checking the day’s pollen forecast. In general, pollen levels are highest before noon, so adapt your day as needed.
  4. Ditch the hair products. Turns out your tresses are one of the best traps for pollen and spores floating past on the wind. Using sticky or oily hair products (sprays, gels, etc.) traps them even more effectively. Try going product-free, or wash your hair often to breathe easier.
  5. Have some honey. Science is inconclusive, but many people swear that eating a few tablespoons of locally-sourced honey daily desensitizes them to their pollen seasonal allergies. The honey is thought to contain trace sources of local pollen that caused the allergic reaction, and eating some daily could help develop an immunity against the allergens. It may be worth trying – if it doesn’t relieve the hay fever, it will benefit you in many other ways.
  6. Go pro! You wouldn’t think it, but your gut is linked to your stuffy nose. By strengthening your digestive tract with probiotics you are boosting your body’s immune system to fight the inflammation from allergy symptoms. (Probiotics are found in yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir. Also, capsule or tablet form.)
  7.  Try nature’s antihistamines. Magnesium (found in wheat germ, nuts and seaweed), Quercetin (found in onions, apples, berries and green tea), and Vitamin C (found in bell peppers, all leafy green cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, kale), berries) have all been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects on the body, reducing or even preventing allergy symptoms.

Adapted from: 10 Step Allergy Survival Kit: conquer the season of sneezes (n.d.).  In Alive Magazine online.  Retrieved from http://www.alive.com/health/10-step-allergy-survival-kit/

Dr. Sarah Sjovold is a Naturopathic Doctor practising at Livstil Wellness Clinic. She regularly sees patients in the Langley and Surrey area looking for help with digestion, detoxing. and immune support.

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