I love this time of year in central Texas. Time to break out the sweaters after months of putting up with the relentless heat of summer. Experimenting with different kinds of stews becomes my hobby and longer walks with my dog are much more enjoyable. But what’s that? My nose is starting to itch. And I can’t stop sneezing. My eyes are red and my head feels like a water balloon. Oh, yeah. It’s cedar fever. I get it bad.
Since cedar season is just around the corner, I thought I would compile a list of remedies which could be helpful if you are a sufferer like me. Some of the things on the list are things that I’ve tried or recommend to my patients and some are things that have been recommended to me. I’m always looking for the right combo, so if there is anything not on the list that you’ve found helpful comment below and let us know!
Or some other nasal irrigation device which can be found at many grocery stores and most pharmacies. These help you to flush out allergens from your nasal passage with a simple saline solution and warm water. It’s a really easy way to unblock your sinuses and it is gentle enough that it can be used multiple times a day.
Wash your hair more frequently (particularly wash before bed to keep your pillow clean), and clothing such as coats and jackets that might collect pollen outside. Do you have a dog? Towel him or her off before coming inside the house, especially if they like to get on the furniture.
Acupuncture can provide immediate relief to an allergy attack. Trust me, I know. Having been the practitioner and the patient on this one. Chinese herbal formulas are helpful, too. There are different herbal formulas that address different symptoms. You might suffer from cedar allergies differently than the next guy. Acupuncture and herbal therapy will address these differences and treat them accordingly to make you feel better.
Tinctures & Serums
There are a few out there and some of them use local pollens to help you build up an immunity. The first one I tried several years back was BioStar Botanicals Cedar Serum. Made here in Austin, you can find it at Peoples Rx.
I know some people swear by Allergena, which you can get at H.E.B. This homeopathic tincture also uses local pollen. If it’s mold that get’s ya, they make one for that, too, as well as allergen blends. I’m giving this one a go this season.
One of my patients told me about WishGarden who makes something called Kick-Ass Allergy which supports a healthy immune response to seasonal stressors. They also make something called Kick-Ass Sinus which seems like a good accompaniment.
Keep air purifiers humming at work and at home. They do help. Just don’t forget, you may have to change their filters more frequently.
Get your greens during allergy season. They are really extremely helpful for your immune system. Try adding some turmeric, too which is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Spicy foods can help with congestion. My choice is wasabi to help clear my sinuses. Just don’t go overboard with the spice so that it is troublesome to your tummy.
Add a probiotic supplement or include a good probiotic food source such as yogurt, kombucha, or sauerkraut. These can help boost your immune system and fight off anything else trying to attack.
Local honey is usually a good way to fight pollen allergies, but unfortunately not for cedar. In order for it to be effective the pollen has to be distributed by bees, but cedar pollen is spread through the air instead.
Stay away from food that causes inflammation such as dairy, sugar, processed foods, and fried foods. Make sure to get antioxidant rich foods such as fruits like blueberries and blackberries. Red cabbage, kale, green tea, and artichoke are also antioxidant rich.
Over the Counter Drugs
A lot of us are going to rely on Zyrtec, Flonase, or Benadryl. And some of us might have to get a prescription from our doctor if things get really bad. Even if this is the case, keep up with some of the other things from this list that you’re able to follow. It will still be helpful.
Allergy Shots or Drops
If your allergies are so bad that antihistamines and supplements aren't doing the trick, you might want to consider allergy shots. Allergy shots include a months long regimen of regular immunotherapy treatment designed to slowly help your body respond to allergens appropriately.
For those who do not tolerate allergy shots, as well as people who are unable to commit to an allergy shot schedule, allergy drops might be a viable solution. These drops of allergen extracts are administered at home under the tongue. With both shots and the drops, treatment should start well before the peak of cedar season.
If you do suffer from allergies in the winter here in central Texas, consider starting a health regimen now to prepare for it.