April 16, 2005 — -- Spring has sprung, and that means allergies have too. As the weather gets warmer and wetter, pollen and molds bloom, and spingtime winds can stir up the allergens.
When it comes to allergies, misery loves company. Roughly 40 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Nearly 10 percent of Americans are allergic to pollen. The result is hay fever, whose symptoms include runny nose, sneezing and puffy, watery eyes.
Sales of over-the-counter allergy drugs are through the roof, but some of the best remedies may be in your own kitchen.
Allergist Dr. Cliff Bassett talked about some of the more popular -- and effective -- natural remedies for allergy symptoms on "Good Morning America." Bassett said "natural" does not necessarily mean safe or effective, and people may have unintended side effects. Check with your doctor before trying any natural remedy, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.
Some foods, including apples in some people, cross-react with tree pollen and will cause allergy symptoms. Some of those foods include pears, kiwi, cherries, peaches, nectarines, celery, carrots, parsley, peppers and nuts like hazlenuts, walnuts, and almonds.
Echinacea is the most popular supplement in the country, and there is evidence it does build up the immune system and protect against colds. But while echinacea can help prevent colds, it can actually worsen seasonal allergies.