Yesterday, I talked about how it’s especially important this year to identify and control seasonal allergies, so as to distinguish them from early onset of a possible upper respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus or another microbe.
Today, let’s discuss why most over-the-counter (OTC) allergy drugs do more harm than good. Then, we’ll look at some natural steps you can take to tame even the worst seasonal allergies…
Common OTC allergy drugs can cause serious harm
Many years ago, back when I was a young hospital resident, I stopped relying on OTC drugs to control my allergies. I found I just couldn’t think straight or stay awake whenever I took them!
And, as I later learned, they actually cause all kinds of lasting side effects. In fact, one common type of allergy drug can increase your dementia risk by up to 54 percent! (You can learn more about those risky drugs in the April 2015 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter [“URGENT Health Alert: Popular allergy drugs skyrocket dementia risk by more than 50%”]. If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.)
Of course, my peers in mainstream medicine didn’t seem all that concerned about the potential dangers…
Indeed, I remember some young doctors relied heavily on nasal decongestant sprays whenever they were sick, because they could not (or would not) take a day off. The decongestant helped them to breathe through their noses while wearing a mask in the operating room.
But over time, after the allergy or cold had passed, the blood vessels in their noses became dependent on the decongestants. In fact, unless the doctors sprayed more decongestant, the blood vessels in their noses would relax, dilate, and fill with blood, causing a different kind of congestion. So, over time, even when they weren’t sick, the young doctors had to constantly use decongestants just so they could breathe.
Fortunately, as I mentioned above, there are many natural steps you can take to keep your allergies in check—without resorting to nasty decongestants or harmful drugs…
Natural approaches do work, when you give them a chance
The first step you should take to tame seasonal allergies is to focus on improving your diet. As always, following a Mediterranean-type diet filled with healthy, wholesome foods helps to balance your immune response and tame inflammation—which are at the root of all allergies (and chronic disease).
Plus, some types of fresh produce even have natural antihistamine properties, including:
In addition to adding more of those specific foods to your diet, you should eliminate ultra-processed foods made with added sugars and carbs, as they can stifle your immune response and aggravate your allergies.
Instead, if you’re craving something sweet, enjoy some local honey on your plain Greek yogurt in the morning. Studies show eating local honey—produced within 50 miles of your home—helps lessen your reaction to local pollens. Plus, your purchase supports local farmers and beekeepers!
In addition, try adding some inflammation-busting spices to your cooking, such as capsaicin (hot red peppers, salsas, and sauces), curry (turmeric, coriander, cumin, chili pepper), horseradish, Chinese hot mustard, black pepper, and Japanese wasabi. These spices will help keep your sinuses clear, and they have many other additional health benefits as well.
Throughout the day, you can also try drinking hot herbal teas—such as ginger or licorice tea—with honey and lemon to counter respiratory tract inflammation, soothe congestion, and alleviate itchiness. (Make sure to steep the teas for at least eight minutes to get the full benefits.)
If you can’t take a hot infusion with you, carry herbal cough drops or lozenges containing natural extracts of eucalyptus, licorice, menthol, and soothing herbs. And if you’re home for part of the day, try using these same essential oils as part of some natural steam therapy to ease nasal and respiratory symptoms.
Just add a few drops of an essential oil such as eucalyptus to a pot of boiling water. Then, turn off the heat and test the vapors over the pot with your hand. When the temperature feels tolerable, put a towel over your head and around the edges of the pot, and bend your head over the steaming pot. Breathe in deeply for a few minutes. This process traps the healing vapors under your hand-made “tent.” You can repeat this process several times a day. (But please be advised: Do not take essential oils internally.)
Lastly, make sure to keep up with your daily supplement regimen, paying particular attention to getting the optimal amount of these three immune-supporting vitamins:
- B vitamin complex (with at least 55 mg of B6)
- Vitamin D3 (10,000 IU daily)
- Fish oil (2 to 4 grams per day, depending upon you daily intake of seafood. For a full breakdown into my fish oil recommendations, take a look at the July 2018 issue of my monthly Insider’s Cures )
All of these safe, natural solutions provide relief—any time of year, no matter where you live—without putting you at risk for the serious side effects associated with prescription and OTC allergy medications. So the next time you’re faced with the nagging symptoms of seasonal allergies, give these suggestions a try—and let me know what you think! Simply drop me a line via email at [email protected] or post on my Facebook page.