Spring Allergies Are Back: Five Natural Ways to Put Them in Check

Spicy foods can help thin mucous secretions, offering some relief from allergy symptoms.

You can also make sure your diet contains plenty of the spicy stuff. "It's always best to start with the whole food, but you'd have to eat an awful lot of onions to get the benefit of a capsule." But if adding these foods to your diet brings relief, he adds, that may be all you need.

3. Take a break from milk: Even if you do not have a milk allergy, many doctors, including California's Sosin, believe milk and dairy products increase mucus production. It also tends to make mucus thicker, says Sosin, creating a perfect environment for bacteria and allergens to thrive. He suggests eliminating dairy during allergy season to see if there's any improvement.

Some believe milk can thicken mucous secretions, making allergies all the more unbearable.

4. Sleep with a HEPA: As nice as it is to sleep with the windows open, there is a good chance you will wake up feeling much more refreshed if you keep a HEPA filter running in your bedroom day and night.

Says Sosin: "Most people run into trouble at night. And I've seen sufferers who sleep on down pillows, or with their pets on the bed. People love their pets. It's hard to get someone to get rid of a pet, but they don't have to sleep in the same room."

It may seem like a no-brainer, but Sosin says it's common for seasonal allergy suffers to habitually add fuel to the allergy fire.

Bianca Alexander, host of a network-affiliated show dedicated to natural health and sustainable, "Conscious Living," says that the average home contains at least as many allergens as the outdoors: "Synthetic carpet, formaldehyde, certain paints, and cleaning products are serious culprits," she says, adding that air filters can help, but simple fixes like using less toxic house cleaners can be effective as well.

5. Be patient: Natural remedies generally don't work in a hour, so try not to expect instant relief. And if you're still clinging to your antihistimine like a life preserver, many doctors say why not -- for example -- experiment with changing your diet and flushing your nostrils at the same time?

In other words, one need not choose between "alternative" and "traditional" medicine. Many doctors agree that both have pros and cons, depending on the health issue. If you're seeing a doctor who is unbiased in either direction, there's a good chance you'll get solid advice.

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