If you are one of the 50 million Americans or others worldwide who suffer from allergies, you may be delighted to learn of some at-home remedies for all the most common allergy symptoms, such as coughing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, post-nasal drip, and more. The following suggestions by Dr. Mary Jo DiMilia and Dr. Maoshing Ni (Dr. Mao) should help you to alleviate specific individual symptoms of hay fever and seasonal allergies (or pet allergies).
To best soothe the symptoms of your allergies, first determine the most troublesome allergy symptoms and then begin targeting relief. Remember to speak with your doctor about severe allergies or any remedies you plan to use if you are not completely aware of interactions that may result.
Q. – What are some natural or at-home remedies for a runny nose caused by hay fever?
A. – Dr. Mary Jo DiMilia: I’m a huge advocate of nasal rinsing. The concept is to cleanse the nose with a saline water solution to remove particles like dust, allergens, dander and pollutants so you can breathe more freely. There are a number of ways to practice nasal rinsing – for instance, the neti pot is a traditional technique. One of the newest forms of nasal rinsing, which I recommend is Afrin PureSea because it’s easy to use and effective. It is made entirely of 100 percent purified sea water, it comes ready-to-use with no ingredients to mix and the contents stay sterile even after the product is used.
A. – Dr. Maoshing Ni (Dr. Mao): Make tea by boiling three slices of ginger, 2 stalks of scallions, and one orange peel. Drink three cups a day until symptoms clear.
Q. – How can allergy sufferers treat and soothe itchy or watery eyes?
A. – Dr. Mary Jo DiMilia: I tell patients to start out with an eye wash or saline eye drops. There are also homeopathic eye drops available; I suggest consulting a doctor who specializes in Integrative or Alternative Medicine to get more information.
A. – Dr. Mao: Use a peppermint tea bag as a warm compress for eyewash by steeping tea bag in hot water for 30 seconds. Let cool to warm and place against eyelids. Repeat for five to ten minutes. Also, take stinging nettle in capsule or tea form.
Q. – During hay fever season, some people find it difficult to sleep through the night. Do you have any tips on sleeping more comfortably when you are suffering through allergies?
A. – Dr. Mary Jo DiMilia: It’s important to control the symptoms of nasal allergies because this can disrupt sleep. I suggest using an all-natural nasal rinse right before bed (like Afrin PureSea) to clear your nostrils. You can also elevate your head using a wedge (instead of extra pillows) and decrease the pollen in your home.
A. – Dr. Mao: Improve sleep by taking a steam shower before bedtime to help drain the sinuses. Make sure to prop up your head to help sinuses drain properly.
Q. – When spring allergies cause a cough, what can be done to prevent or get rid of the cough?
A. – Dr. Mao: Cough and allergies are often due to post-nasal mucous drip. Dry up mucous by drinking tea from mustard seed and orange peel.
Q. – If chest congestion becomes an issue for allergy sufferers, what can they do to alleviate their discomfort or clear up the chest congestion?
A. – Dr. Mao: Relieve chest congestion by rubbing tonic oil on chest and upper back. Tonic oil is made from wintergreen, peppermint, fennel, cinnamon, and other essential oils that help to loosen up congestion in chest and promote circulation.
Q. – Is there anything you can do to your home to help reduce the pollen that gets inside?
A. – Dr. Mary Jo DiMilia: When walking outdoors you are exposed to pollen. The pollen becomes deposited on our clothes, shoes and hair which we carry indoors. Tips for reducing pollen in the home include: shower and wash hair before bed (the pollen from your hair rubs off onto your pillow, and you are directly exposed to the pollen all night long), take off shoes before entering your home , and keep windows closed on high pollen count days.
A. – Dr. Mao: Reduce pollen in your house by keeping doors and windows closed during day. Air out at night by opening doors and windows when pollen count is at its lowest. Use a HEPA air filter to mop up pollen inside your house.
Q. – Can altering the diet improve allergy symptoms?
A. – Dr. Mao: Clinically, it has been found that by reducing food made from wheat, dairy, and refined sugar, patients will often experience reduction of allergies and hay fever symptoms, sometimes even elimination. This is especially critical and effective during hay fever season.
Please consult your physician for any allergy concerns or health issues you may experience.
About the Experts:
Dr. Mary Jo DiMilia is an internist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She practices Internal Medicine and Pediatrics as well as Integrative Medicine in New York City. Dr. DiMilia is the founder and former director of the Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency and holds faculty positions as Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. DiMilia is quoted regularly in many national publications such as the NY Times, Daily News, Parent Magazine, Redbook, Glamour, and WebMD.
Dr. Maoshing Ni (Dr. Mao) is an expert on organics and natural health remedies. Dr. Mao (as he is known) is the author of SECOND SPRING: DR. MAO’S HUNDREDS OF NATURAL SECRETS FOR WOMEN TO REVITALIZE AND REGENERTE AT ANY AGE (Free Press; April, 2009). He is a bestselling author and a 38th generation Chinese Doctor of Medicine, as well as a Yahoo.com Health Expert. He works with scores of celebrity clients, including Sheryl Crow, Denzel Washington, Helen Hunt, Angelica Houston, Reba McIntyre, Fran Dresher, Debbie Allen, Arianna Huffington and many others. For more information, visit online at www.AskDrMao.com.