Warm weather and sunshine are finally here… But ragweed pollen season is also beginning … which means DEBILITATING ALLERGIES for many!
Or perhaps you’re like me and you have allergies year-round when you push your limits playing sports (I know, who would have thought sports-related allergic rhinitis existed! Doesn’t keep me from being active, though.).
Or maybe you’re allergic to animals, like my hubby?
Whatever the reason for your allergies, we both probably have similar symptoms: a runny nose, an itchy throat, watery eyes and even a headache on occasion… Sometimes, my ears even do this weird popping! My nose and eyes usually run so much that it feels like I left the faucet on.
So, I thought I’d share with you my 5 tips to soften allergies.
Tip #1: Use cotton handkerchiefs
I truly prefer dealing with my annoying allergies with handkerchiefs, rather than paper tissues. Why? Here’s the gist.
Pros of using cotton handkerchiefs to deal with allergies
They are soft to the touch
Yes, cotton handkerchiefs are incredibly soft (especially ultra-plush flannel hankies), and leave your nose feeling less irritated. In fact, many of our clients who suffer from allergies use them for this reason over the environmental benefits. For my part, I did not have allergies before I adopted handkerchiefs—but I have to say that in the past 8 or so years, I’ve found paper tissues to be very rough and weak in comparison to cotton whenever I have had to use them! So when my allergies kick in, I’m more than happy to grab a pile of cloth hankies from the laundry room and tackle the day.
They are more absorbent
Like WAY more absorbent than paper tissues, which will tend to deteriorate when they are wet. And when you have allergies, if your face runs as much as mine, you just need to dab at your eyes and nose constantly and relieve your nose repeatedly with what seems to be mainly water. So, for this type of situation, absorbent cotton handkerchiefs will be much more efficient than feeble paper tissues that you’ll need to replace for almost every dab!
They can be reused
You can reuse your cotton hankies several times (until the fabric is too humid—which means it’s time to swap for a fresh handkerchief)… Which means you are wasting much, much less than if you are using paper tissues who can hardly be reused because they tend to disintegrate at the contact of fluids.
They cost less money
This may seem surprising to you because creating your own handkerchief collection is somewhat of an investment at first, but in the long run it will definitely pay off. Does anyone here spend 20–30$ on kleenexes when allergy season rolls in? Depending on which styles of hankies you purchase, that’s the equivalent of 2–3 handkerchiefs—which means that if you have allergies twice in a year, you could own a set of 4 to 6 handkerchiefs—and that’s good enough to start!
They help save trees
Of course, if you’re using cotton instead of paper, you’re doing a good deed for the environment! And to encourage you to keep reducing your waste, we even commit to planting a tree for every hanky you take home with you :).
Cons of swapping paper for cotton
You’ll need quite a few handkerchiefs (I can use up to one per hour when my allergies are on, full steam), which is why I pull out the big guns: thick two-ply handkerchiefs or soft, thick flannel hankies. Oh—and you may get the occasional comment from local germophobes, but I’m pretty sure you can handle it :).
That’s it, though … The rest is all good news.
Where to buy handkerchiefs?
Or, you can get your hands on a special set that I came up with for a client who was in search of the ideal handkerchief for her allergies. This set includes four incredibly soft hankies of various thicknesses, so you can pamper your nose and sample different fabrics to determine which handkerchief you like best.
Tip #2: Use a nasal spray
You may be reluctant to use a saline nasal spray and inject MORE fluids in your nasal passages, but I swear, it helps. I rinse out my nostrils 2 or 3 times a day and usually at least once in the shower, because I can simply blow my nose under water and give my skin a welcome break from blowing in a handkerchief!
Where to get a nasal spray? At your local pharmacy or make your own.
Tip #3: Hydrate your skin
Between blows (it may seem futile—but it’s not)—dab some cream on the skin around your nose. I use Cicadermine (Homeoplasmine in Europe). It’s a natural health product, it contains no parabens and it really promotes healing. So when your allergies calm down, you won’t end up looking like a clown.
I also use this magical cream on my lips when they’re chapped or dry to prevent cold sores from happening.
Where to get Cicadermine? On the Internet, via their online shop or check at your local pharmacy.
Tip #4: Drink lots of water
OK truth be told I suck at this—which is why in the past, rhinitis has often turned into a full-blown sinus infection that takes ages to heal and requires antibiotics (anyone else have this happen to them?) The idea behind this is that drinking lots of fluids will help keep your nasal mucus thin and watery, which will make it easier for you to eliminate it when you blow your nose. And of course, less nasal congestion means fewer chances of developing inflammation and swelling—or even an ear infection!
How to do this? Consider having an insulated reusable water bottle with you at all times… And one that you love if you can! Works for me 🙂
Tip #5: Take probiotics
This last tip you won’t feel the impact immediately, but there are some studies such as this one that say that taking probiotics could be beneficial in the case of immune or allergic diseases. Simply put, probiotics boost our immune system by balancing the good bacteria in our gut, which helps us produce a stronger immune response to allergens.
With time, the severity of the allergic symptoms should decrease and the allergic episodes should space out. I’ve found this article to be super interesting, if you want to learn more about the link between probiotics and allergic rhinitis!
That’s it folks 🙂 Good luck fighting your allergies this season! And don’t forget to let me know if these tips were helpful to you or if you have any other good tips to share!