April 25, 2022

Home Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

A natural approach may help resolve that sneezing and runny nose

person taking laundry out of the washer

One morning you wake up and it’s … ah… ah… ah-CHOOOO! Allergy season can hit fast and hard, with sudden fits of sneezing, a nonstop runny nose and itchy eyes leaving you feeling miserable.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

For many, the path to relief begins with the rattle of a pill bottle — and that’s perfectly OK.

But there are other, more natural options that may be worth a try, says functional medicine specialist Melissa Young, MD. And most are simple solutions that don’t require the removal of a childproof cap.

“There can be an over-reliance on medications as a quick fix,” says Dr. Young. “Sometimes, you can take a different approach and get similar results.”

Natural remedies for allergies

Resolving seasonal allergies may just be a matter of finding and addressing the root cause. “It’s about getting a deeper level of understanding of why you’re having an allergic response and then taking steps to decrease or reverse symptoms,” explains Dr. Young.

But if you’re not sure of the cause — be it tree pollen, ragweed, mold or dust, etc. — what can you do to tamp down the sniffling, sneezing and wheezing that come when seasonal allergy triggers spike? Here are eight ideas you can try.

Dietary changes

Did you know that more than 70% of your immune system resides in your gut? What you eat supports the microbiome in your belly. So, keeping that gut flora healthy can help your immune system better handle allergens.

Common food sensitivities to gluten, dairy and sugar can lead to immune system dysregulation.

“The reality is we eat a lot of junk and non-organic food grown with the application of pesticides and herbicides,” says Dr. Young. “Choosing clean, organic food can reduce toxin exposures that alter our immune system function.”

Adding probiotics to your diet is a good start. Research shows that probiotics — which are plentiful in many yogurts and fermented food such as sauerkraut and kombucha tea — can help treat hay fever (allergic rhinitis).

Advertisement

An elimination diet may also be helpful in identifying if certain foods cause inflammation, leading to a “leaky gut” that worsens seasonal allergy symptoms. “There can even be connections between specifics foods and pollen,” notes Dr. Young. “It’s just a matter of finding them.”

Clear the air

Filtering the air inside of your home can eliminate dander, dust and pollen particles that can make your allergies go haywire. Look for a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which removes about 99.97% of troublesome airborne particles.

“Putting a HEPA filter in your bedroom can make a big difference,” says Dr. Young.

Another simple step? Close windows in your home when pollen counts soar in your area. Air conditioning can help, too, by removing moisture from the air and knocking back mold and mildew growth.

Hit the showers

Make sure to get a good scrubbing in, particularly before going to sleep, in order to wash off any allergens.

“Think of the hair in your ears and your eyebrows as Q-tips that collect pollen throughout the day,” says Dr. Young. “If that hangs around while you’re in bed, it can worsen itchy eyes and nasal congestion while you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.”

Laundry loads

Washing your bedding once a week in hot water can reduce your exposure to allergens such as dust, pollen and animal dander. (If you can stomach it, learn why you really need to wash your sheets regularly.)

Also, change clothes when you get home in case allergens latched onto your garments. Toss them next to the sheets in the hamper.

Saline nasal irrigation

Flushing out your sinuses with a neti pot or squeeze bottle can wash away pollen and other allergens that found their way in. Studies show the effectiveness of a good sinus rinse, too. “It really can provide a lot of relief,” says Dr. Young.

Advertisement

Acupuncture

Surprised to see this on the list? Don’t be. This ancient needling practice can deliver a boost to your immune system and help combat hay fever. “There’s good research supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of allergies and sinus disorders,” says Dr. Young.

Vitamins and supplements

As mentioned, a healthy diet supports a strong immune system response. But it’s possible that your immune system may need an extra boost — and that’s where dietary supplements might help.

Certain vitamins and herbs also can help limit inflammation that comes with allergic responses. Dr. Young suggests looking for supplements with:

Practice mindfulness

Your body just doesn’t work as effectively if it’s under stress. “Increased stress promotes allergic disease,” adds Dr. Young. Taking a few meditative minutes could help you keep things under control.

Do natural allergy cures really work?

For some people, yes. “We’ve seen huge reductions in allergy symptoms for some when they embrace making these sort of changes and just run with it,” says Dr. Young. “There have been really nice results.”

But treat the above recommendations as more of a potential starting point for dealing with allergies, not the be-all and end-all for treatment. They’re also not a substitute for medical care during a severe reaction.

“There are people who benefit from medications. That’s why they’re available,” says Dr. Young.

But if you’re looking for an alternative to day-to-day allergy maintenance, it’s important to know there might be simple solutions aside from medications. “These approaches can help,” Dr. Young assures. “It’s just a matter of giving them a try.”

Related Articles

Applying aloe vera to irritated skin
February 27, 2024
Do Home Remedies for Ringworm Actually Work?

Some natural home remedies may offer relief, but they lack scientific evidence and won’t typically cure the condition

Person holding cup of hot tea, with honey jar floating in background
February 23, 2024
Why Your Throat Tickles — And How To Stop It

Often, a throat tickle is due to a cold, allergies or GERD — but see a doctor if it won’t go away

fire cider in a mason jar
February 7, 2024
Fire Cider: What Is It? And Can It Prevent Illness?

This spicy concoction can do more harm than good, upsetting your stomach and causing painful acid reflux

smoothie with acheta protein powder in scoop
January 24, 2024
What Is Acheta Protein? What To Know About Eating Crickets

This edible insect powder can be a good source of protein, fiber and other nutrients

hands using mortal and pestle with cocoa powder, surrounded by soaps and bath salts
December 19, 2023
The Health Benefits of Cocoa Butter

Pure cocoa butter can help keep your skin supple, with a subtly delicious scent

Natural antibiotics, pills and herbs, displayed on bamboo spoons on wooden table.
December 4, 2023
Why You Shouldn’t Self-Treat With ‘Natural Antibiotics’

Natural doesn’t mean they’re safe or effective

Person suffering from an ear ache.
September 11, 2023
Is It Safe To Use Essential Oils To Treat an Ear Infection?

Ear infections can be painful, but essential oils may make the problem worse

person doing yoga in living room
August 8, 2023
Find Relief From Back Pain With These Home Remedies

Get moving, use cold packs, and try yoga and stretches to ease back pain

Trending Topics

White bowls full of pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and various kinds of nuts
25 Magnesium-Rich Foods You Should Be Eating

A healthy diet can easily meet your body’s important demands for magnesium

Woman feeling for heart rate in neck on run outside, smartwatch and earbuds
Heart Rate Zones Explained

A super high heart rate means you’re burning more than fat

Spoonful of farro salad with tomato
What To Eat If You’ve Been Diagnosed With Prediabetes

Type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable with these dietary changes

Ad