Seasonal allergies plague more than 26 million Americans each year. As the harsh winter subsides and spring begins to warm the air and stimulate flowers and trees to bloom and grass to grow, it can be a bittersweet change for these allergy sufferers.
For many, a trip to the corner drugstore for antihistamines and decongestants is usually the first step to take when the eyes start itching and the running nose and sneezing comes on. However, that relief can sometimes be short lived and even ineffective.
In fact, at a recent meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Dr. William E. Berger reported that nearly a third of allergy patients think their medications don’t work.
This can be because of the severity of symptoms or because your body has simply built up a tolerance to your favorite allery medication. Also, many drugs only take care of the itchy/sneezing and do little to decongest. The same goes for those who only take care of decongestion. Medication costs can also add up, especially if you have a whole family of allergy sufferers.
In a time when people are becoming more aware of what goes into our bodies, it only makes sense that many are seeking a more natural treatment for allergies. Here are a few suggestions that could help alleviate or even stop those sniffles, wheezes and sneezes.
Quercitin is a supplement that has been counted on for years as a natural, plant derived bioflavanoid that helps prevent mast cells from releasing histamine. The earlier you start, the better, as it can take a few weeks to see results. The recommended dosage for allergy sufferers is 1,000mg daily, taken between meals.
Stinging Nettle is also a popular herb that inhibits the body's release of histamine. The most convenient form is sold as a freeze-dried extract in capsule form. The recommended dosage is 300mg daily. The capsules may only bring a few hours of relief, but if you're concerned about taking drugs or side effects, this could be an great option.
Butterbur is also an herb that is gaining popularity quickly as a great natural seasonal allergy treatment since the results of a Swiss study, published in British Journal of Medicine, found that butterbur was as effective as the drug cetirizine, the active ingredient in Zyrtec. It may still be hard to find in the US, but as it gains recognition and popularity, hopefully it will become more widely available.
And of course there's the good old Neti Pot, for those who aren't fearful of pouring water up your nose. It is a time-tested treatment for allergies and completely logical as it simply rinses your sinuses, clearing them of pollen, mold and other microscopic irritators.
Good luck to all you sneezers and wheezers out there as spring takes over.
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