12 Ways to Reclaim Spring from Allergies
5. POLLEN-SAFE, GLUTEN-FREE
While you’re breathing easier in your newly spruced-up garden, why not pick a handful of herbs and tomatoes for something new in the kitchen? Quinoa and amaranth are two great grains that are naturally gluten-free, and will go nicely in a tabbouleh salad.
We recommend that people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or even those hungry for a different dinnertime taste may want to dabble with these tasty and nutritious grains that are now widely available. Quinoa – yellow, red and black pearls – are high in protein and used in cereal, soups, salads and stews. Or try quinoa flour in a batch of baked goods.
Amaranth is also making a splash as a gluten-free grain. Its seeds are high in fiber, iron, and other minerals. Pop them like popcorn, boil them like rice, or roast them like chickpeas. The vitamin-rich leafy greens of this plant are also a great addition to salad.
6. APRIL NASAL SHOWERS
Oprah Winfrey swears by hers and, on her former show, made the neti pot a household name in sinus relief. But today, for those of us who prefer to rinse out the nasal passages with a little less concoction-making and applying of teapot nozzle to nose, there are now some excellent and easy-to-administer saline sprays and rinses available.
Oprah got this part right: the cleansing brings benefits.
A review in the journal American Family Physician says both saline nasal sprays and salty liquid poured in one nostril and out the other reduce inflammation and help the nose to resist irritation. One study that looked at pollen-allergic kids found those who took antihistamines and regularly rinsed with saline solution had fewer symptoms than kids who just took medication.
7. BE BOLD WITH MOLD
If you’re preparing for a fog of summer humidity, you’d be wise to add a dehumidifier to your heating and cooling system, or buy a standalone unit to prevent allergy-triggering mold.
Check a central air conditioner to make sure water isn’t dripping off the coil and making a puddle where spores can grow. In cooler climes, install double or triple-glazed windows to prevent condensation on windows says indoor air quality expert Max Sherman, a fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers. His advice: “Dry it, and they will not come.”
If you do find mold, rather than dousing it with lung-irritating bleach, try a cleaner free from harsh chemicals, such as MoldStat, Concrobium Mold Control, Vital Oxide or Safe Shield. For big jobs, call in a mold contractor, and soon.
8. THE QUICKER SHOT
Immunotherapy can bring great relief for those suffering from seasonal pollen allergies. Your doctor will confirm whether you’re a candidate for allergy shots, but there’s a downside – a typical patient spends five years building up immunity, and an estimated 40 to 50 hours of total time in the doctor’s office getting jabbed.
However, if your concern is ragweed allergy, there is a far quicker option available. Spring is when you’d need to check with your doctor about the Pollinex-R vaccine, which requires a series of only four shots, one week apart and repeated for just three years. The shots need to be given ahead of the ragweed onslaught.
And swift desensitization now appears on the horizon for grass pollen. In development is Pollinex Quattro, which is meant to build immunity with just four needles a season over three years. There have been promising research trials for this new vaccine, and the manufacturer recently had a long regulatory hurdle cleared in the United States. Ehrlich says the jury is out on whether this quick-shot regime will leave patients as resistant to hay fever several years down the road. But he adds: “I hope they do come out. They could be great.”
9. POLLEN SCREENERS
If you still hanker for a natural breeze, consider installing PollenTEC’s window screens. You can buy a roll and cut them to fit windows and doors, or order pre-cut rectangles. In independent European testing, the polyester screens removed 100 per cent of grass pollens, 99.7 per cent of birch pollen, and nearly 91 per cent of ragweed pollen from outside air. For information, see www.pollentec.com.
When it comes to your own face, if you’re the sort who must mow the grass or feels compelled to garden near aggravating trees, allergist Ehrlich advises wearing a triple-layered face mask to filter out the pollen. Timing is important: there’s far less pollen floating around on a still, drizzly evening than on a warm windy morning.
Next: Pollen Stoppers