After a cold winter season, we finally welcome the arrival of spring. It’s time to pack up the winter coats and embrace the first warm days of spring! Spring is a beautiful season that many of us welcome wholeheartedly. Sadly, it’s not such a pleasant transition for those who suffer with allergies.

If you welcome the arrival of spring with a stuffy nose, watery eyes and sneezing, now is the perfect time to address your seasonal allergies. Australia has some of the highest allergy rates in the world. Some allergies are only triggered seasonally, while others can occur chronically.

Some conditions that may be triggered in the spring season include asthma and hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis. Hay fever is one of the most common conditions and even those who don’t suffer with allergies may experience the symptoms of hay fever. Hay fever is an allergy caused by dust or pollen inflaming the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose, resulting in symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and itching.

dandelionAnti-histamines are the most common treatment option, however when used on a long-term basis they become less effective due to the body producing a tolerance to the anti-histamines, therefore reducing their effectiveness. There are also some lamentable side effects associated with taking anti-histamines including dry mouth, drowsiness and dizziness.

Luckily, there are plenty of natural alternatives that may assist with the treatment of allergies! These include:

1. VITAMIN C: helps to boost the immune system. You can get some Vitamin C into your system by taking it in supplement form, as well as by increasing your intake of citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, leafy dark green vegetables, kiwi fruit and papaya.

2. PERILLA: this is one of the most popular herbs, famous for its anti-allergy effect. The leaf extracts of Perilla have anti-oxidant, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory preventing properties. It also contains a flavonoid compound, Luteolin, which inhibits histamine release.

3. GARLIC: boosts immune system and has an anti-inflammatory effect which can help to alleviate the symptoms of hay fever.

4. PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT: assists with healthy gut function by building good bacteria and boosts the immune system.

5. ASTRAGALUS: works by stimulating the immune system and can help to reduce the effect of allergies, the common cold and upper respiratory conditions. It also reduces blood pressure.

6. ECHINACEA: boosts the immune system, increases the number of white blood cells, reduces the effect of allergies and helps combat some viruses that may cause common colds and inflammation.

Nutritional advice:

Increase your intake of anti-oxidants to help boost your immune system and eliminate free radicals in the body. Also ensure you are consuming essential fatty acids such as omega-3, as they have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Fish such as wild salmon have the richest source of potent omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, eat red and purple fruits and vegetables, because they are rich in Quercetin which works as a natural anti-histamine. Finally, familiarise yourself with super foods, including goji berries, kale, chia seeds and flaxseeds

Other tips:

1. On a dry, windy day, it is best to stay indoors. The best time to go outside would be after a rainy day, as the rain helps to clear pollen from the air

2. Avoid outdoor activities early in the morning because pollen counts are highest at this time.

3. If you have been outside, especially in the garden, wash your clothes and shower regularly to remove pollen.

4. If you take your medication early you are less likely to develop a snowball effect with your symptoms.

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