AARP Eye Center
The runny-nose , itchy-watery-eyes, scratchy-throat season is in full swing for some 50 million Americans. But don’t suffer; be proactive! Try these unusual remedies to make allergies more bearable. But do check with your doctor first.
Sip on tea
Try a Japanese variety of green tea called Benifuuki. A double-blind study in Japan found that symptoms such as nose-blowing and eye itching were significantly relieved among a group with seasonal rhinitis who consumed a Benifuuki-green-tea beverage, compared with the placebo group.
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Flavor your food
Grab cayenne pepper from your spice rack and add it to your meal. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which, yes, heats up your tongue, but also works to ease a congested nose. Chop up a tear-inducing onion while you’re at it. Onions have quercetin, a chemical compound known to have anti-allergic properties. All the crying from onion fumes is bound to make your nose run, too.
Skip these fruits and veggies
Produce such as apples, celery, carrots and peaches may worsen allergy symptoms, depending on the type of seasonal allergy you have, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Allergic to birch tree pollen? An apple may cause an itchy throat or mouth. Ragweed could cause an allergic reaction in lovers of bananas and zucchini. The proteins found in some fruits and veggies mimic those found in pollen, which confuses the immune system.
Don’t skip your workout
Experts say simply moving more often can strengthen the immune system to help reduce allergy systems. A study out of Thailand proved that moderate-intensity exercise significantly improved the symptoms of allergic rhinitis in subjects who were asked to participate in a running exercise. There are countless benefits to regular exercise, so it can’t hurt to try.
Tried and true tips
- Watch the pollen counts where you live on websites like aaaai.org and pollen.com. When the numbers are high, stay indoors if possible.
- Fresh air is nice, but close your home’s windows and crank up the AC to keep the pollen out. That goes for driving in your car, too. Don’t forget to regularly replace your house’s air filters.
- If you do go outside, shake off pollen from outerwear before entering the house, and leave shoes at the door. Then jump into the shower. Try to track as little pollen as possible into your home.
- Don’t forget about Fido. Pets can also bring pollen inside. After a walk, wipe down your dog’s paws and fur before entering the house.
- Use nasal sprays and allergy pills. Talk to an allergist about OTC drugs or prescriptions that could work well for you, as well as saline rinses for your nose and sinuses.