6 Natural Remedies For Allergies

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Many people experience allergies, with irritants like pollen, food, and pets. The severity of allergies greatly varies, with symptoms ranging from a runny nose to a full allergic reaction. While individuals with serious allergies should see a health care professional, more moderate symptoms can sometimes be treated with natural home remedies.

Causes of Allergies

Not all allergies are experienced year-round. Some are seasonal. Others are triggered by specific environments or encounters with irritants. Here are the most common categories of allergies.

Seasonal

Usually, when someone experiences seasonal allergies, it is because of pollen. Pollen can come from trees, grasses, and even weeds. This irritant is spread throughout the air during a certain time of year, in order to fertilize other plants. Some species of plants will spread especially allergenic pollen, such as ragweed grass, birch trees, cedar trees, and oak trees.

When the air full of pollen, it's hard to avoid breathing in the allergen. If you are allergic to pollen, the spring season will likely cause some runny noses, sneezing, itchy eyes, and dry throats. Of course, symptoms do depend on the severity of your allergy. A seasonal pollen allergy may also be known as “hay fever.”

Dietary

Dietary allergies occur when your body views food as harmful and reacts accordingly. Your body’s reaction to the “harmful” food is called an allergic reaction and includes symptoms such as having trouble breathing, as well as experiencing stomach pain, skin reactions, and swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat.

Not everyone who reacts poorly to food will have a dietary allergy, however. Allergies and food intolerances have similar symptoms, yet allergies involve the immune system, while food intolerances do not. The most common dietary allergies are due to milk, eggs, nuts, wheat, and fish.

Medical

Medical allergies can include allergies to latex, drugs, and even mold. Those who are allergic to latex are actually allergic to the sap of a Brazilian rubber tree. Most of the time, a latex allergy will be seen through symptoms like itching, swelling, or hives, after being in contact with things such as rubber gloves, bandages, or even a condom.

Drug allergies, also known as medicine allergies, are adverse reactions to certain drugs. Oftentimes, this is due to your body’s immune system reacting to a substance it finds harmful, even though it is harmless. When your body is reacting poorly to a drug, there are many symptoms you could have. These symptoms can range from typical allergy symptoms and skin reactions to something more severe, called anaphylaxis.

Sometimes, an allergy to mold can also cause a drug allergy, such as an allergy to penicillin. Mold allergies usually have similar symptoms to hay fever, with the exception of not being seasonal. If you have an allergy to latex, drugs, or mold, you should tell your doctor.

Animal & Insect

Some allergies are immune system responses to animals or insects. An animal allergy is often a reaction to the animal’s urine, saliva, or dander. These allergens can coat the surfaces and belongings of pet owners, and will even be in the air of their homes. This makes it very easy for the allergens to get into your eyes and lungs, causing itchy eyes, a dry throat, and sometimes breathing problems.

Insect allergies are different. Usually, an insect allergy is a reaction that occurs when you are bitten or stung by a certain type of insect. Common insect allergies are due to bees, wasps, hornets, bedbugs, fleas, mosquitos, and flies.

Some insect allergies, however, do not require a bite or sting. Some people are allergic to cockroaches or dust mites, which can cause allergic reactions just from being in the area. These types of insects can cause year-round allergies.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies can help to work alongside a doctor’s treatment and make daily life more manageable for those experiencing allergies. If you are worried a natural remedy may interfere with a doctor's treatment, speak to a health care professional first.

Stay Hydrated

One of the easiest ways to counter allergies is to stay hydrated. According to Dr. Purvi Parikh, allergist and immunologist with the Allergy & Asthma Network, there are many ways to do this. First things first, drink plenty of water throughout the day. There are other hydrating tips as well:

  • Apply a warm, wet cloth to your face several times a day to relieve sinus pressure and itchy eyes.
  • Inhale steam to clear out your nose, either by boiling water or running a hot shower for a few minutes.
  • Avoid things that will have a drying or dehydrating effect, such as caffeine, alcohol, smoking, or air pollution.

Clean Your Space

Lots of allergies include airborne allergens or dander, which can collect on surfaces and build up over time. If you are experiencing mild allergies to pets or pollen, it may be a good idea to clean your house and take a shower. This will remove all of the allergen buildup on your body and within your home, which should lessen your symptoms. 

As you work to clean your space, avoid bleach and other fragrant cleaners, as they can irritate your nose and lungs.

If you don’t have the time to shower, sometimes it can help to quickly wash your face and hands. As noted by Dr. Brynna Connor, Healthcare Ambassador at Northwest Pharmacy, it is especially important to wash your bedding and pillowcases. She recommends looking into a hypoallergenic pillowcase, which will help to prevent mold, dust, and mildew buildup. 

Try Locally-Sourced Honey

While it is not confirmed, there is evidence that consuming honey may help alleviate allergy symptoms.

In a 2013 study of forty patients, half of them consumed 1 gram of honey per kilogram of body weight every day for eight weeks. The other half did not consume honey, but rather a honey-flavored substitute. The patients who consumed the honey experienced progressively fewer allergy symptoms as time went by. This study claims that a large dose of honey each day helps to alleviate allergy symptoms.

This could be due to anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Eating honey is known to help reduce swelling and fight bacteria. A 2021 study explored these properties, as well as the overall effectiveness of honey against allergies. While there is evidence supporting honey as a natural remedy, there is still more research that needs to be done. 

Take Probiotics

While very little research has been done, it is possible that probiotics can help alleviate allergies. In a review of 23 studies, it was found that seventeen of them showed at least one significant clinical benefit of using probiotics.

Probiotics are known to aid digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms, meaning they may be especially helpful in easing dietary allergies. You can find probiotics in certain foods, as well as in teas and supplements.

Get an Air Purifier

Air purifiers are used to remove, and sometimes even sanitize, particles from the air. A 2020 study on the use of air purifiers found that they helped to alleviate the need for allergy medication, by filtering irritating particles—like dust and other allergens—out of the air.

Air purifiers were not, however, found to get rid of the actual symptoms. That is to say, the air being filtered resulted in fewer allergy reactions overall, but it took time to filter the air. Turning an air purifier on will not immediately lessen any symptoms that you are already experiencing. 

Try Nasal Irrigation

When allergens are in the air, you will often breathe them in through your nose, coating your nasal passage in allergens. This can cause a runny or congested nose, sneezing, or a dry throat. Nasal irrigation, often using a saline solution, aims to remove the pollen and mucus buildup in your nose.

In order to do this effectively, spray the saline solution up your nose. The water will clean out your nasal passages before it falls back out of your nose. This should alleviate your nasal symptoms.

Saline nasal irrigation was found to have no adverse effect on your health. So there should be no harm in trying it to relieve your allergy symptoms.

When to See a Doctor

If you experience symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as hives, vomiting, swelling, difficulty breathing, pale skin, or a change in heart rate, you should get immediate medical care for your allergy. Symptoms such as these could lead to anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

If you see any of the aforementioned symptoms in someone else, search for an epi-pen while seeking immediate medical care. If you see that the person is unable to speak more than one or two words, gasping for breath, pursing their lips to breathe, or using their neck muscles to take breaths, they are going into anaphylactic shock and you need to call 911. 

A Word From VeryWell

Natural remedies are not always the answer. They are usually intended to help alleviate mild symptoms. If you have moderate to severe allergies, you should see a health care professional about how to treat your allergy and avoid allergic reactions.

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15 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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