The warm weather can bring about more pollen in the air, which can trigger bothersome allergy symptoms. Luckily, you can keep symptoms like a starchy throat, congestion, and runny nose at bay using these six simple tips for allergy relief!
A simple spray eases congestion.
Spritz your sinuses three times daily with a nasal spray containing xylitol (a natural sugar alcohol) to halve your congestion in 72 hours and cut your sinus itching, sneezing, facial pain, and other symptoms by 35 percent. Stanford University scientists say xylitol soothes and moistens nasal passages, plus binds to pollen particles before they can stick to mucous membranes, making them easier to flush out when you blow. One to try: Xlear Nasal Spray (Buy from Walgreens, $12.49)
Warm soaks soothes itchy eyes.
You can ease itchy, red, watery, puffy eyes by 90 percent in 48 hours just by washing your lids and lashes twice daily with warm water and a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil or baby shampoo, say researchers at NYU Langone Health. Doing so whisks away sticky pollen before it can get into your eyes to trigger allergic reactions, and the warm water opens tiny eyelid glands so they release a protective layer of oils that shields the surface of your eyes from pollen attacks.
A peppermint steam eliminates sinus pain.
To soothe thudding sinuses in just 10 minutes, try inhaling peppermint-infused steam. British researchers say the menthol in this essential oil quickly calms overactive pain nerves, and according to Sinus Relief Now (Buy from Amazon, $15.95) author Jordan Josephson, MD, “Inhaling steam dilates blood vessels in your sinuses to improve drainage and reduce sinus pressure.” To get the perks: Put 5 drops of peppermint oil on a damp washcloth and leave it on the shower floor so the oil can infuse the air as you wash.
A quick squeeze prevents restless sleep.
Allergy symptoms make it tough to sleep, but tensing and relaxing your muscles before bed prompts the release of sleep-deepening brain waves to cut nighttime wake-ups by 67 percent, suggests a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. To do: Lie in bed and breathe deeply, then tighten and relax your muscles, starting at your toes and moving up to your head.
Sweet gargles heals a scratchy throat.
Gargling with raw honey diluted in warm water will soothe a scratchy throat in 30 seconds — and doing so three times daily can prevent allergy triggered throat troubles entirely. So say Australian researchers, who found that unpasteurized honey’s plant enzymes soothe irritated throat nerves, reduce inflammation and kick-start the healing of damaged throat tissues. To make a full day’s supply, stir one tablespoon of raw honey into 4 ounces of warm water; shake or stir before each use.
Spirulina stops a runny nose.
Adding spirulina to your daily diet could cut spring allergy symptoms like a runny nose and sneezing by as much as 70 percent, reveals research in the journal ISRN Allergy. Credit the blue-green algae’s natural antiinflammatory compounds, which calm immune cells in the sinuses to reduce their production of symptom-triggering histamine by 32 percent. Tip: Blend spirulina powder into smoothies for a delicious sip, or take 2,000 milligrams in supplement form.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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