If April showers bring May flowers, then surely what comes next is the “wheezing and sneezing” of spring and summer allergies. We’ve all heard the conventional advice before, but there are some less talked about ways that allergy sufferers can try to zap those nasty symptoms for good.
Robin Wilson is an ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and has a line of hypoallergenic pillows and comforters at Bed, Bath & Beyond. She says to reduce the symptoms like sneezing, stuffy or runny nose and itchy eyes, try these less conventional techniques that really do work:
- Consume local honey – The idea behind eating local honey made by local bees is kind of like gradually vaccinating the body against allergens. It contains the same pollen spores that give allergy sufferers so much trouble when flowers bloom. Introducing these spores into the body in small amounts by eating honey may make the body accustomed to their presence and decrease an immune system response. Even a major resort in Austin, Texas, The Omni Barton Creek, produces its own honey and gives it to guests to help them fight local allergies.
- Fruit is not always your friend – Many of our favorite fruits, from apples and bananas to peaches and plums can cause symptoms similar to grass or tree pollen reactions. If you are sensitive, place the fruit in the microwave for 10 seconds to deactivate the proteins, and never eat the peel.
- Caution with sunscreen – We’re told to lather up in sunscreen when going outside for extended periods of time, especially during allergy season, when the sun is the strongest. But unfortunately, not only will the outdoor pollen get you wheezing, sneezing and itching; so too can that sunscreen. Always look for products that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to reduce your chances of a photoallergic reaction.
- There’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog – Thinking of getting a dog this summer? There really is no scientific proof of a hypoallergenic breed. Avoid exposure to pets, never allow them on the bed and always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after playing with an animal. Keep them bathed often to reduce dander.
- Pick non-VOC paints – Summer is a great time to paint the house or a room. Always use non-VOC paints which won’t off-gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor and stir up allergies. It looks just as good on the wall as regular paint.
- Change your pillow – If your pillow is older than three years and has not been washed, it weighs more now than when you bought it. It’s loaded with dust mites that are next to your face while you sleep. Use hypoallergenic pillows over down pillows, and use a zippered pillow protector that you wash weekly for a double barrier. Wash your pillow twice a year, and replace pillows every three years.
- Always use a nylon shower curtain liner – Allergy sufferers are told to shower often to remove pollen and pet dander from their bodies. But the phthalate chemicals in vinyl shower curtains off-gas with humidity and heat and also attract mold and mildew. Replace your vinyl liner with a nylon shower curtain liner.