Allergies 101 and Saline Nasal What?!?

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If there was any doubt, allergy season is blooming, all puns intended. And if allergies weren’t bad enough on their own, it’s a bit of a conundrum dealing with allergy symptoms during a pandemic. Most of us seasoned allergy sufferers, (I’m raising both hands) know the difference between allergies and something else but just in case you don’t know here’s a quick refresher of expected and maybe a little less expected but still common symptoms. 

  • Itchy, watery, sometimes even burning eyes
  • Runny nose and/or sinus congestion
  • Low energy
  • Low grade, frequent headaches and/or waking up with a headache in the morning
  • Ear congestion/pain
  • Dry, irritating cough. (Depending on the progression of the allergies, this could become a productive cough with possible wheezing and shortness of breath. In this case, please check in with your doctor and rule out COVID!)

Allergies, when not well managed, have the potential to progress to sinus infections, bronchitis, asthma and even walking pneumonia!

Most know about the usual over the counter options to treat allergies like Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra. These “2nd generation” anti-histamines (meaning they are generally safer and cause less drowsiness than a “first generation” like Benadryl) are definitely an option and sometimes a must for many when in the peak of the season.

Natural medicine options that I love are Vitamin C especially when combined with quercetin, NAC and fish oil. For some, nettles or nettle tea is a helpful alternative. These nutrients and herbs act as anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants which help calm the immune system down. 

If I could only have one thing to use to treat my allergies, I would hands down choose the saline nasal rinse. It has saved me from a life of frequent sinus infections and makes my allergies much more manageable. Here’s a couple of reasons why something as simple as running saline water through your nose is so helpful!

  • A saline nasal rinse literally rinses out of your nasal passages whatever you’re reacting to which equals less reaction. 
  • It helps decrease nasal and sinus congestion by thinning the mucus and helping remove any excess nasal discharge. 

A few important basics on the “how”:

  • I recommend a nasal rinse bottle like NasoPure or NeilMed versus a neti pot. A neti pot takes FOREVER depending on how congested you are. With a nasal bottle, you add a little gentle pressure moving the saline water easily through your sinuses. 
  • CRITICAL: NEVER use tap water to mix up your saline. Use boiled, distilled or filtered water ALWAYS because you don’t want possible microbes in your tap water going into your sinuses! 
  • If you’re not ready to try a full saline rinse, consider a nasal saline spray. You will need to do it more often than 1-2x’s/day recommended for the rinse but it can still be helpful. 

 If you’re needing further assistance helping manage your allergies, I’m here to help!