Wearing a hat and sunglasses when doing outdoor activities can help keep bothersome pollen away from your eyes and hair.

Credit: Jordan Siemens / DigitalVision / GettyImages

Tired of the foggy, sleepy feeling that sometimes comes from treating your seasonal allergy symptoms with over-the-counter medications? There are many drug-free options that can help.

In fact, experts agree that antihistamines are not necessarily the best allergy sufferer for everyday use.

“Drugs don’t work on their own. You should save your antihistamines for the worst of days when you don’t have as much control over your behavior,” said allergist Amina Abdeldaim, MD, MPH, owner of Willow allergy in New York and Medical Director of Picnic, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Instead, what can you turn to for relief from sneezing, itching, and runny nose? Here are the allergy home remedies that work, plus a few surprising ones you’d better skip.

It’s difficult to 100 percent avoid allergens like grass, pollen, or dust in the spring or fall. But controlling as clearly as possible is the first way to prevent your symptoms from flaring up.

“If you don’t limit your exposure to the allergen, you’re just exposing yourself to the problem. Any medication or remedies you use are just patches,” says Dr. Abdeldaim.

Try to plan outdoor activities for times of the day when pollen counts are the lowest. In spring and summer (tree and grass pollen season) the levels are usually highest in the evening, while the highest levels of ragweed pollen are recorded in the mornings in late summer and early autumn American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).

You can also try downloading an app, e.g. My pollen forecastto help you track the pollen count in your area along with your allergy symptoms.

As you head out, try to prevent allergens from getting into your system. Wear sunglasses to keep pollen from getting into your eyes and wear a hat to keep as much material from sticking to your hair, where it can cause irritation until you wash it out.

And the Mask that you wore to protect against COVID-19? Go on. Face covering – especially NIOSH rated 95 filter masks – can prevent a large portion of the allergen particles from getting into your airways ACAAI.

A woman taking a shower after showering as a natural remedy for allergies

The best natural allergy remedies are all about reducing your exposure to the allergens that annoy you.

Credit: torwai / iStock / GettyImages

Pollen loves to cling to hair and clothing. “It’s very sticky,” says Dr. Abdeldaim.

Put on a fresh, clean outfit as soon as you step in from the outside so as not to walk around in an allergen cloud Mayo Clinic.

And shower as soon as possible to remove any remaining allergens from your hair and skin.

4. Optimize your exercise routine

Slide through a HIIT routine or a kickboxing class can get your allergy symptoms into full swing. Why?

“Cardio and vigorous exercise can temporarily increase inflammation and blood flow, which can make your allergies worse,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh, an adult and pediatric allergist and immunologist with the Allergy & Asthma Networktells LIVESTRONG.com.

Is a good rule of thumb? If your allergies are widespread, stick to moderate exercise. Exercises with little impact like swimming, cycling or yoga can be your best choices.

5. Keep the air in your home clean

Are Your Allergies Getting Worse at Home? While the spring air may be refreshing, keeping your doors and windows closed will allow less irritating allergens to get in.

Filters and air purifiers can also help. Use a heavy duty filter for forced heating or air conditioning, run a HEPA filter in your bedroom, and clean your floors frequently with a HEPA equipped vacuum cleaner Mayo Clinic.

A woman using neti pot as a natural remedy for allergies

Credit: South_agency / E + / GettyImages

While it won’t completely eliminate your allergies, a quick flush with saline can flush mucus and irritants out of your nose and reduce congestion, which will help provide quick relief from allergies.

You can do a nasal rinse at home by combining 1 cup of lukewarm distilled or boiled water, 3 teaspoons of iodide-free salt, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda in an airtight container per bottle ACAAI.

Use a nasal bulb or Neti pot To pour the solution into one nostril, turn your head so that the solution flows into your other nostril (instead of your throat). Then blow your nose to remove any remaining mucus.

Acupuncture appears to be effective as a natural means of relieving allergies in some people.

A meta-analysis of 13 studies in January 2015 in theAmerican Journal of Rhinology & AllergyInferred that acupuncture can significantly reduce congestion and reduce drug consumption, while improving the quality of life in adults with seasonal allergies.

It’s not a panacea, but it could be a useful tool in your allergy control arsenal.

“I recommend it for people with mild allergies who want to minimize their drug consumption,” says Dr. Abdeldaim.

A woman eating yogurt with probiotics as a natural remedy for allergies

The verdict on probiotics as a home remedy for allergies is still pending.

Credit: nensuria / iStock / GettyImages

Some research suggests that the friendly bacteria may have a role in treating seasonal allergies, but aren’t counting on yogurt or a probiotic supplement to relieve your symptoms: experts still don’t know what types of bacteria are used to fight allergies are most effective, a 2018 review concluded inClinical and Molecular Allergy.

“Nobody knows the right dose or exposure,” says Dr. Abdeldaim.

On the other hand, there is no real downside Adding probiotics to your diet If you really want to try, she’ll point it out.

There are numerous claims that locally produced honey exposes the immune system to local pollen, which could have a desensitizing effect that acts like allergy shots. But the solution isn’t as cute as it sounds.

The truth is, honey doesn’t have enough pollen to help with seasonal allergies – and there’s no scientific evidence that eating the stuff will improve your symptoms American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Unfortunately, this is another widely touted natural remedy for allergies that, from a scientific point of view, cannot quite keep up.

While a handful of studies have shown butterbur supplements can help with both symptoms and standard antihistamines, the studies were small and now relatively out of date.

Also, experts don’t know for sure whether long-term use of butterbur is safe National Center for Complementary and Inclusive Health.

In short, this is an agent that you should avoid until we have better quality research.

A woman who eats an apple high in quercetin as a natural remedy for allergies

Foods high in quercetin have many health benefits, but natural allergy relief probably isn’t one of them.

Credit: Glayan / iStock / GettyImages

Quercetin is a Polyphenolic compound This occurs naturally in foods like onions, apples, berries, and tea. It’s often touted as a natural antihistamine because it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties in test tubes and animal studiesAllergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.

However, it’s not known nearly enough to tell if it could do the same in humans.

“I can hardly imagine a disadvantage if I eat more Quercetin rich foods, but I don’t recommend it to treat allergy symptoms, “says Dr. Abdeldaim. (Remember, certain raw fruits and vegetables may be able to do this make your symptoms worse.)

Allergies are an abnormal immune response, and zinc supports normal immune function National Health Institute – So on paper, it makes sense that zinc is a good home remedy for allergies.

While some studies have linked low zinc levels to a higher risk of allergies and asthma, there is no conclusive research that shows a direct cause and effect. In other words, we don’t know exactly whether low zinc levels cause allergies, nor do we know whether more zinc can help with allergy symptoms.

However, because zinc is an essential nutrient that supports a healthy life immune systemIt’s not a bad idea to include them Foods high in zinc in your diet for overall health.

3 things to consider with natural allergy remedies

Natural allergy relief can sometimes be a process of trial and error.

“I would say a toolkit is necessary. You can’t just rely on one thing,” says Dr. Abdeldaim.

As you explore different options, keep these smart security tips in mind:

1. Of course isn’t always better (or effective)

Countless herbal remedies and dietary supplements are touted as seasonal allergy sufferers. But most of them are not backed up by good scientific research.

In the best case scenario, funds not examined could simply be a waste of money. However, in the worst case scenario, they can interact with other medications you may be taking or pose the risk of harmful side effects.

In summary? Just because a remedy is natural doesn’t mean it’s useful or safe NCCIH. Always consult your doctor before trying a new herb or supplement for your seasonal allergy symptoms.

2. Salt rinses and neti pots should be used with caution

They can cause a nasal infection if not used properly. The water used for your salt rinse should always be distilled or boiled for 3 to 5 minutes FDA. Never use tap water without boiling it as it can contain bacteria that can cause infections.

3. If you choose acupuncture, do your research

Acupuncture is generally considered safe provided it is performed by a trained professional using sterile needles Mayo Clinic. See a certified doctor and get the go-ahead from your GP before undergoing any treatment.