Tame your worst pollen-triggered symptoms with these fast-acting remedies.
Itchy eyes? Wash your lashes.
Gently sudsing your eyelids, brows, and lashes with warm water and baby shampoo twice daily can cut eye redness, itching and watering by 90 percent, say researchers at Brooklyn’s Long Island Hospital. Lid washings remove sticky pollen before it can get into the mucous membranes of your eyes as you blink and rub, and warm water opens tiny eyelid glands (meibomian),prompting them to release a protective layer of oils that shield the surface of your eyes from pollen attacks.
Foggy? Rethink your bedtime routine.
It’s not just you: 75 percent of allergy sufferers wake up foggy. “Production of hormones (cytokines) that worsen allergy symptoms peaks between 4 and 5 AM — and that spike taxes your nervous system, triggering mental sluggishness,” says endocrinologist Nick Petrovsky, MD. An easy Rx: Take once-daily allergy supplements/medications at bedtime (or if you take more than one dose, take your last pill at bedtime). Texas scientists say the timing trick blocks predawn cytokine spikes, boosting focus and energy for 94 percent of women in 48 hours.
Sore throat? Sprinkle flax into salads & smoothies.
Adding 2 Tbs. of flaxseeds (or ground flax) to your daily diet could cut scratchy sore throat symptoms by 50 percent. Explains Fred Pescatore, MD, author of The Allergy and Asthma Cure: A Complete 8-Step Nutritional Program ($12.83, Amazon), flax brims with a compound — alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) — that calms the immune cells lining your throat, soothing painful inflammation and reducing the production of symptom-triggering histamine. Try sprinkling whole flaxseeds on cereal, salads or yogurt, or mix ground flax into smoothies, spaghetti sauce, and burgers
Stuffy nose? Rinse with rosemary
Using a sinus-cleansing neti pot twice daily — and adding rosemary oil to the saline — eases congestion in 5 minutes and cuts spring allergy symptoms by 70 percent, Italian researchers say. Sinus rinses flush out pollen before your immune system can react, and anti-inflammatory rosemary oil provides right-now relief. To do: Combine 4 cups of distilled water with 1 Tbs. of kosher salt, 1 tsp. of baking soda, and 1 drop of rosemary oil. Mix well, then follow the neti pot instructions.
Toss & turn? Shower at night
For spring allergy sufferers, trouble breathing can triple the risk of sleepless nights and next-day fatigue. Good news: UCLA researchers say you’ll sleep 55 percent more deeply if you have a bedtime shower or bath-and scrub your hair to remove pollen. This relaxing ritual reduces levels of the sleep-sabotaging stress hormone cortisol, and washing off pollen prevents nighttime spikes in histamine — the hormone that makes eye itching and congestion flare.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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