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Seasonal Allergy Treatment Recommendations?

 
master gardener
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I hope that I am not the only one that experiences this, but I have allergies!

I'm talking about the itchy scratchy eye watering kind of allergies. When the pollen is flying, my eyes are crying kind of allergies.

I have for years relied on over-the-counter allergy treatments but figure I could expand the personal repertoire by accessing the collective knowledge on Permies.

Please share with me your wisdom so I don't have to be as miserable when I go out to play in the garden.
 
steward
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My first thought when I saw the title ... nettles.

AKA Stinking nettles:

https://permies.com/t/52035/Nettle-allergies

I am sure that folks have lots of suggestions that I am looking forward to.

 
pollinator
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One thing I’ve heard of and need to try, is eating local honey.

I believe the idea is that you’re introducing the immune system to the trigger in a weaker, less threatening form similar to how vaccines teach the immune system about viruses.
 
pollinator
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I think there might be something to the local honey idea from trying it a bit myself but mostly second hand from others. I do have a treatment for the itchy, red eye which I am very prone to. I just keep a supply of sterile salt water in the fridge. Thats all it is, distilled water with just enough sea salt that it tastes mildly salty. I boil it to guarantee it's fully sterile and keep it in the fridge in an old glass ketchup bottle. It certainly is not a permanent cure but wiping my eyes with it, or pouring a little bit in them relieves the itch and redness completely and immediately and lasts for several hours.  Basically, the same thing as the over-the-counter saline products but cheaper and more effective and doesn't have anything in it other than water and salt.
 
pollinator
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I tried drinking nettle tea one year but I can't say that really worked.  The friend who told me about it said it worked for her dad.  However, a little further research and I discovered that stinging myself with nettles does work.  It works pretty quickly, within a minute or two, but I have to do it a couple times a day.

I also tried going very low carb a few years ago;  I've actually be low carb for years now but I went really strict and cut out all fruits, most dairy (still ate butter), and all starchy veg like carrots, pulses, sweet potatoes, etc.  This worked the best.  I didn't even get hay fever while eating this way.  I only go really strict like this during my hayfever season which is June/July (grass pollen), and eat my usual diet the rest of the year.
 
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A trick I learned in Japan is to wear a mask during allergy season.  It's amazing how fast it helps.  Wash face to get off the spores, etc.  Put on a clean mask with a good fit (they have disposable ones just for this, but a cotton or cotton/silk one works).  Instantly gets rid of about 90% of my allergy symptoms.

And for about 10 years I got weird looks when mowing the grass with a mask on.  Then 2020 happened and it's suddenly acceptable to wear a mask anywhere I like.  

Given the increasing number of people I see wearing masks in the garden around town when no one else is around - I suspect using them for allergy relief is catching.  
 
r ranson
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Nettle tea is awesome for most people.  I have a lot of people who harvest our spray-free nettles for making tea and tinctures.

For me, mint family plants like nettles increase allergic response.  I don't know why that is.

But a weird thing, increasing brassicas in my diet, dramatically reduces my allergy symptoms.  I've been having broccoli every day this spring and only had to have an allergy pill twice - both for man-made allergens - despite having one of the worst pollen seasons in our lifetime.  

I guess it's about finding what works for the individual body.  Try lots of things.  Observe.  Adjust.  
 
James Alun
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r ranson wrote:
And for about 10 years I got weird looks when mowing the grass with a mask on.  



When I was a caretaker, I used my rubber mask with replaceable filters that I got for fibreglass insulation. It was a bit sweaty but I could breathe!
 
Timothy Norton
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There is a gentleman that I know who puts on what is essentially an entire Tyvek suit along with a mask when he mows his yard every week.

Thank you everyone for your ideas so far, keep them coming!
 
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I suffered every year from May until frost in October. Decongestants often dried me so much I got sinus infections. A saline nose spray gave a bit of relief. About fifteen years ago, in January I began eating a whole food plant-based diet. Then, in July, I realized I had no seasonal allergy symptoms! None since then. I attribute it to not having dairy. It can take several months for dairy to be cleared from your body, so have patience. Fortunately, there are now so
many non-dairy alternatives available that the benefits of no more miserable “hay fever” far outweigh the cautions.
 
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This is what came up. Ironically I have the Eucalyptus oil Dr. Bronners soap!
Screenshot_2024-06-03-17-23-13-980.jpg
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_2024-06-03-17-23-13-980.jpg]
Screenshot_2024-06-03-17-23-20-628.jpg
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_2024-06-03-17-23-20-628.jpg]
Screenshot_2024-06-03-17-23-29-715.jpg
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_2024-06-03-17-23-29-715.jpg]
 
author & steward
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I'll make a list of things that helped me...

No pets in the house
Drinking more water
Getting rid of carpeting
Avoiding super dusty chores
Reducing omega-6 oils (soy, corn, canola, vegetable)
Eliminating processed foods
Increasing omege-3 oils (fish)
Losing weight
Running
Neti-pot
long hot showers
herbal teas with mint, licorice, mallow, mullein
menthol-lyptus  candies
more sleep during trying times



 
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I agree with avoiding dairy, omega 6 (seed oils, pork, chicken), sugars and starches. Also i apply shea butter to my nostrils and eyelids which does a great job trapping pollen. And avoid kicking up pollen in the act of cutting or moving flowering bushes (goodness, lesson learned there).
 
pollinator
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During covid I discovered two things that helped a lot.
1) wearing a mask, even a homemade cloth mask. In Mexico, we wore masks everywhere for a long time (over 2 years, so two pollen seasons). My need for Claritin was cut by  80%!
A room air purifier was installed in my classroom. I later got one for my bedroom.
 
pollinator
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Something to remember about local honey is that you need raw honey. Also it's a preventive not a cure. It works best if you start using honey BEFORE allergy season. This gives your body time to recognize the pollen before it's all over the air.
 
Ashley Redding
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I'll make a list of things that helped me...

No pets in the house
Drinking more water
Getting rid of carpeting
Avoiding super dusty chores
Reducing omega-6 oils (soy, corn, canola, vegetable)
Eliminating processed foods
Increasing omege-3 oils (fish)
Losing weight
Running
Neti-pot
long hot showers
herbal teas with mint, licorice, mallow, mullein
menthol-lyptus  candies
more sleep during trying time



You can have pets, just don't let them in the bedroom. I grew up allergic to EVERYTHING and I didn't get sick with this rule.
 
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I mostly get the itchy, watery eyes in the autumn from ragweed. I use over-the-counter allergy eyedrops. I buy the Equate brand at Walmart. It's a small bottle but lasts me 2 or 3 seasons because only ragweed bothers me. I keep it in the refrigerator and that makes it very nice and cooling to my eyes. For any sneezing, I just use generic like Equate allery relief pills. But I mostly only need the eyedrops.
 
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I see comments about honey. I don't see any about bee pollen. I have been taking bee pollen, starting in late February or early March, for several years now. For some reason, maybe the same as why honey is helpful, I have very minimal hay fever symptoms from using the bee pollen. It might be an acquired taste for some. At this point, after several years, I enjoy the flavor. I just take a little pile in the palm of my hand and pop it into my mouth. Usually twice a day, though when I am just starting I might take it more often than that. Works like a charm for me. Anyone else ever try bee pollen for hay fever?
 
G Freden
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r ranson wrote:

For me, mint family plants like nettles increase allergic response.  I don't know why that is.



Not long after I wrote about nettle tea not working for me, I remembered your reply as I had an actual allergic response to it!  I've eaten nettles and drunk tea loads of times--I'd even been drinking it several times a week up until this happened.  It was so strange:  I hadn't eaten anything yet that day, being busy working around the house and garden;  I made some nettle tea at around noon and almost immediately got a very scratchy throat and felt sick/faint.  About 20 minutes later I threw up twice (only liquid obviously), had an episode of diarrhea, and then after two miserable hours felt back to normal.  

I had been picking my own nettles for tea and the only thing I can think of is that the ones I picked that day were flowering, so maybe the pollen was the culprit.  Regardless, it made me very wary about taking it again.
 
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