Experts are indicating that this year could bring a particularly unpleasant allergy season (especially if you live in certain cities). This may have you heading to the pharmacy, but if you aren’t looking forward to the groggy side effects (and cost) of your prescription allergy medication, you may want to try some of these drug-free ways of reducing your allergy symptoms.

Prep Your House

Get a head start on combating your allergies this season by preparing your house. Make this the year you have those air ducts cleaned. Then, look for a high-quality, allergy-free cover for your mattress, box springs and pillows. Don’t forget to wash your bedding once a week in hot water to get rid of pollen you bring in and dust mites. Also, keep your house clean, wipe down your pets when they come inside, and make sure you’re using nontoxic cleaning products, as the harsh fumes can trigger allergic reactions.

Focus on Diet

Allergy season is a good time to reevaluate your diet and make some helpful changes. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation caused by allergic reactions, so get some more foods like fish, flaxseed and nuts in your diet. Stay away from foods that cause congestion, like milk, other dairy products, processed wheat and sugar. And if you’re having a stuffy day, horseradish, chili peppers, hot mustard and peppermint tea are great ways to clear yourself out.

Take Supplements Found in Nature

Natural dietary supplements can be a helpful way to relieve allergy symptoms without the druggy side effects. Nature has provided us with safe antihistamines like butterbur, organic oregano oil, quercetin and stinging nettle. Do your research and decide which supplement, or combination of supplements, could work best for you. Your allergist might also be able to make recommendations.

Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy

You can reduce your symptoms by taking care of your outsides, just as much as changing the things you do on the inside. Cut down on hair products so pollen doesn’t stick to your hair and then follow you around and get on your pillows. Avoid synthetic clothes because they cause more static and attract pollen.

When you work outside, wear a mask and then wash your clothes when you come back in for the day. And, on windy days wear a hat and sunglasses to keep pollen out of your hair and eyes. Finally, clear your head with steam or a Neti Pot to reduce your suffering.

Try Acupuncture

For those who are not faint of heart, ancient Chinese medicine may be a solution to a drug-free allergy season. Acupuncture has been known to help relieve allergy symptoms for some people. Those who use it can get temporary relief, or even full remission. Acupuncture, for some, can relieve symptoms immediately. If you haven’t tried it, this may be the season to give it a shot.

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