Time spent outside is good for our overall health. Studies have shown that time in nature can help improve our mood and even support our immune system. Warmer seasons may bring longer days and welcome sunshine, but can also increase the symptoms of lung issues, such as allergies and asthma. Fortunately, there are some simple and natural things you can do to help the sniffling, sneezing and wheezing you may be experiencing.
Wash Away the Allergens
Our clothing can collect allergens and irritants such as pollen, which can aggravate allergy symptoms even once you’re indoors. Changing clothes once you come in from an outdoor activity can stop you from carrying allergens like pollen and grass on your body. These same allergens can also get into our nasal passages and irritate tissues in the nose, which could lead to more sneezing and runny nose.
Just like we wash off and clean our skin, our nasal passages can also be washed with the use of a neti pot. A neti pot is a teapot-like device that uses warm salt water to gently rinse out any allergens trapped in nasal passages and sinuses. Nasal washes like the neti pot have been used for hundreds of years and there are now newer styles shaped like plastic squeeze bottles that are simple to use.
Keep It Soothed
Nasal passages, eyes, mouth and throat can all become scratchy, dry and irritated after exposure to allergens. Lubricating eye drops can help calm red and dry eyes. This can often be used several times a day to help keep dryness symptoms maintained. Try to resist the urge to rub dry eyes as to not cause any damage to the eyes and make sure to wash hands before touching the eye area. For nasal passages, natural saline-based (i.e., salt water-based) sprays may help keep the passages from being dry. Dry nasal passages could be more sensitive to exposure to allergens, so keeping the nose hydrated could help it feel less irritated.
Scratchy throat and a dry feeling in the mouth and throat can also be common symptoms of allergies. Hydrating mouth lozenges can provide some relief throughout the day from the dryness and drinking tea can help soothe an irritated throat. Look for products that contain hyluaronic acid, which can help keep moisture in the mouth and throat area to ease dryness. Also, herbs like marshmallow root and slippery elm create a soothing coating on the throat when sipped in a tea.
Keep It Sweet with Local Honey
Honey is sweet and delicious, but did you know that it also could have some health benefits? When purchasing honey, look for one that is locally sourced. Honey is made by bees that feast on the pollen found in the flowers around them. Local honey contains very small amounts of the pollen found in the area. It is thought that consuming honey with these traces of local pollen could help your body adjust to the pollen in your environment. This could ease allergy symptoms by getting your body used to the pollen in the area so you may not have as much of an allergy reaction to them. Honey can be stirred into tea, spread on toast or eaten right off the spoon.
Cupping is a modality that has been around for centuries. You may be familiar with how the technique leaves circle marks on the skin and how it’s commonly used to relax tight muscles. But did you know that there are other uses for cupping? Cupping can help open the diaphragm and support the lungs, which could be helpful for those with asthma, wheezing and other lung concerns.
Be sure to contact your healthcare provider before trying any new natural product. If you’d like to learn more about natural products and therapies, visit the ProMedica Natural Wellness Shop website.
Kylie A. Study, M.Sc, MSTOM, Dipl.OM is a licensed acupuncturist and natural wellness practitioner at the ProMedica Natural Wellness Shop in Sylvania, Ohio.