There’s a joke here in Upstate South Carolina about “Southern snow”; what’s flying around in the air in Spring can cover your car in a fine yellow dust of pollen. For those with allergies, Spring and Summer can turn into a miserable three months of sneezing, coughing, and trying not to rub at itchy eyes. While there’s no substitute for medicine, we do know of a few natural ideas that can help lift those symptoms and make things a little easier to handle.
Always buy local honey. It’s a bit of an old-wives’ tale, but many people with allergies swear by local honey. Honeybees work by picking up pollen from local wildflowers and plants, and some of that sticks around in the end product – meaning that ingesting honey from local bees can help you take in and build up an immunity to allergens that might otherwise have you sneezing in seconds. In order for this tip to work, you do want to be sure to buy your honey as close to home as possible. Some good places to get local honey around here are The Carolina Honey Bee Company up in Travelers Rest, Bee Well Honey & Natural Foods in Pickens, and Francis Farms in Simpsonville.
Neti pots and saline sprays can feel like a lifesaver on bad days. Neti pots look pretty gross, but when used safely and correctly can go a long way towards relieving some of the worst nasal congestion that goes along with allergies. Use the neti pot to filter salt water up through one side of your nose and out the other, clearing out congestion and helping you breathe more easily. Not interested? You can pick up saline sprays that will also help clear things out, although they may not work quite so well. You can find neti pots at most natural foods stores like Earth Fare, Whole Foods, or Garner’s Natural Life.
Try some herbal supplements or teas. Butterbur is an herbal supplement that has been used successfully in the treatment of allergy symptoms. It’s been known to be as effective as some over-the-counter medicines in the treatment of hay fever and is pretty inexpensive. Stinging Nettle is another herb often used for this purpose – you can buy it either in capsule form as a supplement, or to steep in tea. The capsules for both will be found in the vitamins and supplements sections in natural foods stores, and Stinging Nettle tea can be found in the Tea & Coffee section. Be sure you check with your doctor before taking any supplements to ensure they will work safely for you.
Last, but not least – check your air filter! It’s easy to forget them. After all, they’re hidden down that hallway you never use. But they can be the first line of defense against pollen and dust making you miserable in your own home. Someone with allergies should ensure they’re using a high-quality air filter and checking on it or changing it out monthly, to keep your air quality as clean as possible when you’re indoors. You may be surprised at what a difference this single tip can make! Air filters are inexpensive and available in just about any store with a ‘home goods’ section.
We can’t get rid of the pollen; it’s part of what makes Upstate South Carolina such a beautiful place to live. Instead, we have to figure out ways to live with it and still be able to enjoy life. Allergies don’t have to have you hiding indoors until fall, and these natural tricks may help you breathe a little easier in the spring.
Corley is here to help you keep your home in great shape going into Spring! Take a quick look at our Spring Checklist to make sure you know what you need to to take on hot weather!