Even when allergies are destroying your quality of life, you may hesitate to reach for medicine. Antihistamines can leave you feeling drowsy or lightheaded, making the cure seem almost as bad as the condition. Many alternative approaches to allergy symptoms exist that are doctor-approved and sometimes very effective. Here are a few of the best.
Flush Your Sinuses
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Keep Indoor Air CleanExperts advise allergy sufferers to spend more time indoors when their symptoms flare up, but indoor air quality can vary wildly. To keep allergens out of your home, follow these steps:
- Have everyone remove their shoes at the door so you're not bringing irritants into the house
- Vacuum often
- Use a dehumidifier
- Wash your hair before bed so you're not sleeping in a cloud of pollen
- Change the filters in your HVAC systems often
Try AcupunctureIn a recent study, more than 400 allergy patients were divided into three groups. One group received acupuncture from a trained therapist, a second group thought they were receiving acupuncture, but the needles weren't being inserted in the prescribed locations, and the third group received no acupuncture at all. All three groups were given antihistamines. Although the group who only believed they were getting acupuncture showed some improvement over the control group, the patients who received acupuncture experienced much more relief from their symptoms than the other two groups.
Work OutYou may not want to go to the park for a run when your allergies are flaring up, but it might be just what you need. Breaking a moderate sweat for 30 minutes reduced symptoms like itching, sneezing, and nasal congestion by as much as 83 percent in studies done in Thailand. The researchers who performed the study think moderate exercise has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body that could be responsible for relieving those symptoms.
Get Allergy ShotsIf you don't think allergy shots are a natural approach to fighting symptoms, think again. There are no chemicals or medications given in these shots. Instead, the doctor injects a tiny amount of your allergen under your skin to encourage your immune system to develop a better response to it. This is a long-term approach; it can take as long as three years for the shots to be effective.
Each allergy sufferer is unique, so developing the right combination of strategies to cope with your allergies is usually a matter of trial and error. If you'd rather not pop pills for your allergy, these alternative treatments are worth a try.