Treating allergies: Making lifestyle changes

For millions of people, sneezing, wheezing, runny noses and itchy eyes, result from opening a window, working in the yard or petting the cat. With some simple lifestyle changes and trying natural remedies, you may find some relief.

Treating allergies: Making lifestyle changes

5 Lifestyle changes that help allergy sufferers

Where allergies are concerned, prevention is still the best treatment. There’s lots you can do to help keep your symptoms at bay.

  1. Stay indoors during peak pollen periods, typically between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Hot, dry and windy weather spurs high counts. Levels tend to be lowest on rainy, cloudy or windless days.
  2. Avoid raking grass or leaves, which can stir up molds and pollens.
  3. Shower and change clothes after being outdoors. Pollen collects on skin, hair and garments. And don't turn your clothing into a magnet for clothing by hanging it outdoors to dry. Opt to air- or machine-dry inside.
  4. Get a HEPA vacuum. Studies show that vacuums equipped with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters remove allergens more effectively than standard appliances. Carpets trap allergens, so vacuum often. Better yet, have hardwood or tile floors. Good-quality air cleaners could also be a big help.
  5. Forego house plants. They can trap mold and other allergens, so decorate with discretion or find alternatives.
  6. Avoid feather pillows and down bedding. Anti-allergen pillowcases and mattress covers may be the best options for you.

Go natural

  • Instead of standard drugs, you might try supplements with quercetin, a plant pigment found in apples (500 milligrams two or three times a day). It can block allergic reactions to pollen and reduce inflammation in the airways.
  • Naturally oriented physicians also recommend stinging nettle, a native weed long used in folk medicine (250 milligrams three times a day). Look for capsules that contain the freeze-dried herb, or an extract standardized to contain one percent plant silica.
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