Anyone who has allergies (more than half the population) knows that it isn’t much fun to deal with the symptoms. But since the major treatments are all manufactured pharmaceuticals, those who would rather stick to their green guns may find themselves up a creek (sans paddle). Because of the waste, pollution, and general environmental contamination that are generally associated with pharmaceuticals, many people would rather avoid using them. On the other hand, you don’t necessarily want to suffer. So here are just a few eco-friendly options that you may not have considered when looking for ways to treat your allergy symptoms.
- Skip pharmaceuticals. Obviously, most OTC and prescriptions remedies are out. But don’t despair; there are other options. If you’re looking for an alternative to antihistamines, consider butterbur, an herbal treatment from the European market that has been shown to be just as effective as your average antihistamine at relieving inflammation and other side effects (when taken daily). It may effectively treat both sinus and skin irritations (when mild or moderate – if you suffer severe symptoms that can be life-threatening, like anaphylactic shock, you should always keep an Epi-pen handy for emergencies).
- Use natural household items. If you suffer from itching, rashes, hives, or other skin irritations as a result of allergens in the atmosphere (the common cause is chemical dyes and fragrances in everything from your clothing to soaps and detergents), then there are a number of common household items that can be used to treat your symptoms naturally. One of the best sources of relief can be found in your fridge or pantry in the form of apple cider vinegar, which can be applied topically as a rinse (often mixed with water). You may also apply lemon juice or any number of oils (tea tree oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, for example). Honey may also help, as will a soothing oatmeal bath.
- Adjust your breathing. The art of Buteyko breathing is meant to retrain those who suffer from respiratory issues brought on by unknown hyperventilation. It is thought to help with asthma, sleep apnea, and a number of other respiratory issues, allergies included. At the very least, you can use some of the breathing exercises to clear your sinuses, sans medication.
- Irrigate your sinuses. The neti pot is a useful little tool that will help you to flush blockages and allergens alike from your sinus cavity. The device itself resembles a small teapot, with the pot portion holding a saline solution that is poured into your nose through a spout. It may sound strange, and the process does take some finessing at first, but you basically just tilt your head forward and to the side, breathe through your mouth, and then pour the liquid into one side of your nose to flush it.
- Maintain your living space. There are many ways to reduce allergy symptoms (at least in your home) by simply reducing allergens. You may use organic fabrics, switch to green cleaners (or hire an eco-friendly maid service), use a vacuum that pulls allergens from the air, or even install an Austin Air purifier that comes with a HEPA filter. Even better, consider arranging for an energy audit, which does double duty by detecting leaks in your home that, once sealed, will keep allergens out while also reducing your energy consumption and waste. Bazinga!