6 Natural Ways to Keep Your Allergies in Check This Spring

Allergy season has arrived, people.

Every year when spring rolls around, I’m surprised that my entire face is itchy, I’m sneezing a lot more frequently and that my eyes well up every time I step outside. And then I remember: spring allergies. Drat. There goes my standard of living for the next couple of weeks, as well as a good chunk of change spent on boxes upon boxes of tissues, Allegra-D, and nose spray. If you’re in the same boat, take note give of these six natural and easy ways to set yourself up for the least miserable allergy season possible. (And if all else fails, we won’t shame you for submitting to Benadryl and Netflix.)

1 Always check the allergy forecast.
You can check out the allergy forecast here and plan your day accordingly (i.e. decide whether or not you actually want to leave your house). The Daily Allergy Weather Report tells you the pollen levels of ragweed, trees and grass, as well as expected levels of mold, dust and dander, so you know what you’re working with.

2. Keep your windows closed.
This tip applies to the car and the home. In the car, instead of having the windows down and sunroof open, allergy-ridden folks should keep the windows rolled up to keep the pollen out. (I know, this is a bummer in spring, but air conditioning exists for a reason.) The same goes for your windows at home — keep ’em sealed tight to keep the pollen from floating in. Use the air conditioning or heat, whatever is appropriate for the day, and try not to mad that you can’t enjoy the early-morning breeze.

3. Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air filter.
Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the sole act of vacuuming was enough to keep allergies at bay. Apparently not, because some vacuums just propel dust into the air, making allergies worse. So that’s why it’s important to get a a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA), which magically filters out 99.7 percent of small particulate matter roaming around in the air, decreasing the amount of allergens you inhale at home. Here’s a HEPA vacuum option from Amazon that’s only $56 — that’s cheap enough to be an impulse buy.

4. Eat more garlic and onions.
It turns out, garlic and onions contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may reduce histamine production in the body and, therefore, ease your allergy symptons. You can, of course, just add raw or cooked garlic and onions to any dish you’re cooking to up your garlic intake. Garlic capsule supplements are another option.

5. Shower before bed.
Now, I understand that you’re getting conflicting advice on this one, but I think allergy season is the exception to the rule. By the end of the day, assuming you’ve been outside, your hair, skin and clothes will be covered in an undetectable layer of pollen. So, take a shower when you get home so the pollen doesn’t spread to your furniture and be sure to change into fresh, pollen-free clothes post-shower. The steam from the shower will also help unclog your allergy-ridden stuffy nose, in case you needed more convincing!

6. Embrace essential oils.
Yay! Treating allergies is just another area where you can wiggle your love for essential oils into your life. Aside from smelling ah-mazing, certain essential oils are great for fighting inflammation and soothing a seriously stuffy nose or scratchy throat. Two big ones to focus on are peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil — the first can unclog sinuses and reduce coughing, while the second is a winner when it comes to opening your lungs and clearing sinuses. Here’s how to use ’em.

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