17 Fast-Acting & Natural Ways To Manage Seasonal Allergies

Ah, summertime! The sun is shining, pools are opening, beaches are bustling, the birds are chirping… and millions of seasonal allergy sufferers are hiding inside feeling miserable. Tired of being a snuffaluffagus? Keep reading to find out exactly what seasonal allergy symptoms are, what often triggers them, and seventeen all-natural, affordable, and fast-acting ways you can keep your seasonal sniffles in check!

Did you know?
Allergies are often treated trivially, but research has shown their impact on people’s quality of life is pretty negative and far-reaching. Allergies have been linked to trouble sleeping, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, lower productivity at work, and poor athletic and academic performance. (1)

woman sitting on bench outside holding her nose

While seasonal allergies can be challenging to avoid because they are seemingly everywhere, know there are natural strategies like eucalyptus oil you can use for fast relief. (2)

Outdoor seasonal allergy symptoms

Outdoor allergy symptoms are the worst. You are stuck sitting inside with itchy red eyes and a headache along with your trusty seasonal companion – a box of tissues – while everyone else is outside having fun without you. If you experience any of the following symptoms, there’s a good chance you are a seasonal allergy sufferer:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose and throat
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling around the eyes

Did you know?
In many areas of North America, spring allergies affect one in four adults in early February and last late into early fall. (3)

What are common seasonal allergy triggers?

Grass, pollen, trees, dust mites, mold, animal dandruff, and mold spores are the most common triggers of seasonal allergies, and unfortunately, rainy spring and summer months mean more pollen and much more sneezing to come. (4)

Ragweed plant

Annually, 10-20% of Americans suffer from Ragweed Allergy. Sunflowers, daisies, and chrysanthemums that are in the ragweed family and can trigger pollen allergies. (5)

Did you know?
Ragweed, one of the most common allergens, can travel far. It has been found as far as 400 miles out to sea and 2 miles into the atmosphere. (6)(7)

17 natural ways to manage outdoor allergies you can try today

Outdoor allergens are virtually everywhere in the spring and summer months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat them. Here’s a list of seventeen natural strategies you can use to combat seasonal allergies that have been proven to work!

Eat more fruits and veggies

An apple a day keeps the allergies away? A 2011 study found children who eat a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts have fewer allergy symptoms. Try adding more grapes, apples, tomatoes, and oranges to your child’s diet- they were found to be particularly useful! (8)

Monitor pollen and mold counts

Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours, but this may vary depending on the weather. When the day is windy and warm, pollen counts surge. Weather reports on the radio or television often include this information during allergy seasons, and counts can also be easily found online. Stay inside during peak pollen periods (early mornings) and if possible avoid outdoor exercise activities at these peak times. (9)(10)

person drinking water at her desk

Drinking water and staying hydrated is an easy way to fend off seasonal allergies.

Drink more lemon-infused water

Constant sneezing and nose blowing can make you dehydrated and give you headaches. And persistent sinus congestion can cause a dangerous drop in the amount of protective saliva in your mouth. Drinking lemon-infused water is an essential and easy way to help combat seasonal allergies. (11)

Did you know?
Dry mouth induced by seasonal allergies can put you at an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. (12)

Allergy-proof your living space

Windows closed and shoes off! Allergy-proof your living space by keeping windows and doors shut at home ( and in the car!) in the spring. The wind carries allergens inside, and the tiny particles will stick to surfaces.

You can also have a no-shoe policy; have yourself and guests leave shoes at the door. This will help with tracking fewer allergens into your home. (13)(14)

When you do venture outside, try wearing a brimmed hat and oversized sunglasses to help protect your eyes and hair from taking in wind-blown pollen or mold spores.

Shower and change

Every time you leave your home for work or play, you are being exposed to allergens. These tiny particles will stick to your hair, skin, and clothes, so rinsing off in the shower, changing into a new outfit, and washer-drying clothes instead line drying clothing outside can help wash away allergens.

Keep furry friends clean & off the bed

Remember that your pets that go outdoors can carry pollen and mold back in on their coats, so regular bathing and grooming is a must. Do you have trouble sleeping at night and also happen to let your pet sleep on the bed with you? We have some not so great news. If your dog or cat spends a lot of time outdoors, they may be behind those sneeze attacks in the middle of the night. It can help to keep them out of the bedroom (or on the floor) to minimize allergens. (15)

Practitioner insight

“If you bring your dog to go running with you, keep in mind they are the ultimate pollen taxi. Try and avoid early morning workouts outdoors with your dog on high pollen count days – especially when it’s a windy day”, says integrative practitioner Dr. Joseph Mosquera.

Keep it dry

Dry is better, especially in your bathroom. Humidity breeds mold and mold is one of the biggest allergy triggers, according to government health website MedlinePlus. Using a dehumidifier can keep the air drier.

Be aware of not leaving damp towels in the hamper, running faucets, or moldy shower curtains. Having a fan in your bathroom during a shower or bath can also be helpful.

Decorate the house with hypoallergenic flowers

Pollen from plants with bright flowers, such as roses, usually do not trigger allergies. This is because these plants have large, waxy pollen that needs to be carried from plant to plant by bees and other pollinating insects.

Looking for flowers less likely to aggravate allergies to have indoors? Opt for arrangements of hypoallergenic flowers like daffodils, impatiens, pansies, petunias, roses, snapdragons, tulips and zinnias. (16)

Don’t roll your car windows down

Sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose can really complicate things while driving. When traveling by car, as tempting as it is to have the wind in your hair, it’s a better idea to keep the windows rolled up. And the same goes for your furry friend too! You may want to even consider crating your pet in the back of the car to reduce the amount of fur and dandruff in the car. (17)

Practitioner insight

“If you regularly commute by car and have bad allergies, you can take steps to protect yourself while driving. Always be sure to close the windows when you drive, weather strip your doors, and clean the interior and exterior of your car periodically”, recommends Dr. Joseph Mosquera. “Also don’t forget about periodically replacing the cabin air filter. Most people don’t realize their old car air filters may be worsening their allergies. The air filter should be changed at least every 15-20,000 miles.”

Make local honey your sweetener of choice

Routinely ingesting local honey is proven to help with seasonal allergies. A study in 2011 found that consuming local raw honey will help build up your immunity to local pollen. Honey also contains enzymes that support overall immune function. (18)

Experts recommend one teaspoon of honey a day in tea, on top of yogurt, fruit, or in a smoothie. You can also try adding local bee pollen to a smoothie.

Use a nasal rinse over the sink

A nasal rinse can help relieve nasal allergy symptoms. You can buy a nasal rinse kit or just make one yourself using a neti pot or bulb. Mix roughly 1/2 teaspoon salt with a pinch of baking soda in 1 cup of warm distilled or sterilized water. (19)(20)

eucalyptus essential oil and in plant forms

Try diffusing eucalyptus in the mornings as you wake up to provide you with comfort.

Inhale eucalyptus & frankincense oils

Rub frankincense or eucalyptus behind your ears and/or on your chest several times a day. You can also reap the hypo-allergenic benefits at home or in your office by using an essential oil diffuser.

Wear a mask

When you do outdoor chores, wear protective masks. If you can’t avoid raking, gardening, or mowing the grass, try to wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask that will block 95% of small pollen particles. (21)

These are available at many drugstores and pharmacies. If you are especially sensitive to outdoor allergies, generally try and stay clear of barns, woodpiles, hay, and stagnant water.

Keep an allergy diary

Some experts recommend keeping an allergy diary. This means maintaining track of your daily activities. When you do things outside, write down the time of day when symptoms occur, and what you have tried to do to help alleviate them.

Reduce stress

Stress and anxiety compromise your body’s ability to cope with allergies. Making time for yourself, exercising, getting more quality sleep, meditating, and taking natural stress supplements can help with the management of your allergies. (22)

Sweat it out in an infrared sauna

Breaking a sweat in infrared saunas regularly can also help you cope with outdoor allergies. Studies have found that infrared heat is a great treatment option for allergic rhinitis and helps to alleviate symptoms for allergy sufferers. As far as frequency, allergy sufferers should aim for least three 30-minute sessions weekly. (23)(24)

Be mindful of the weather

Weather conditions have a huge effect on pollen levels. For example, wind and humidity affect pollen counts. On windy days, pollen is carried airborne over long distances. On humid and rainy days, pollen becomes damp and weighed down with moisture, lowering pollen counts. Hot, dry, and windy days, on the other hand, are often the most miserable days for outdoor allergy sufferers.

Practitioner insight:

“Most plants pollinate in the morning around sunrise, so if you go outside to work out then, you (& your furry running companion) often pick up a lot of pollen”, says Dr. Joseph Mosquera. “Early evening is a better time to be outdoors. Pollen counts tend to go down.”

If you have a history with seasonal problems, experts recommend taking steps to alleviate your symptoms in the two weeks prior to when you expect them to start popping up.

Did you know?
In late summer through early fall, during ragweed pollen season, levels are highest in the mornings. (25)

Why your seasonal allergy meds stop working

If you suffer from chronic sniffles, you may have a go-to list of not-so-natural remedies to combat your symptoms. And if you’re a congestion king or queen, you have probably also noticed your allergy meds don’t work as well as they once did. Millions of people take antihistamines and other medications to try and find some allergy relief, but changes in the environment, pregnancy, new allergies as we age, stress, and other factors worsen our allergies and change the way our bodies react to these drugs. (26)(27)(28)(29)

close up of person getting an allergy test on their arm

Wondering what’s triggering you? Allergy testing by an allergist can assess and figure out if your symptoms are caused by pollen, mold, or some other substance.

When should I see an Allergist?

If you always feel sick and run down with congestion, it may be time to see an allergist. You may think you know what is behind your symptoms, but other substances are likely at play.

Did you know?
More than two-thirds of spring allergy sufferers also have year-round symptoms. (30)

Your best approach beyond natural management tactics is finding out what’s behind your suffering and stopping it.

Your practitioner may go on to recommend one or more supplements or medications to help control your symptoms. Some of the most widely recommended treatments for allergies are available without a prescription, while others require one. Also keep in mind that different allergy medications work in very different ways, and that can have a big impact on how helpful they are for your specific allergy symptoms.

The bottom line

You don’t necessarily need to be taking more prescription medications to get your outdoor allergies under control. You may just need to consider employing more natural, complementary health approaches to manage your seasonal allergies.

By taking an integrative and multi-pronged approach to fighting outdoor allergies, you’ll be sure to nip your seasonal sneezing in the bud for good!

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!

  1. https://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(18)30250-3/pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808543/
  3. https://acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies
  4. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/seasonal
  5. https://asthmaandallergies.org/asthma-allergies/ragweed-allergy/
  6. https://www.aafa.org/ragweed-pollen/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29788026
  8. http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(10)01769-0/abstract
  9. https://www.wunderground.com/DisplayPollen.asp
  10. https://weather.com/forecast/allergy/l/11201:4:US?rotation=71700000010334552&banner=58700000460504846&kw=6739295701&google=p_&gclid=CP_BlY608MwCFVhbhgodE40CWw&gclsrc=aw.ds
  11. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/endo.136.5.7720668?journalCode=endo
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16931889)
  13. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/spring13/articles/spring13pg22-23.html
  14. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/allergens/index.cfm
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5299096/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30097356
  17. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/allergens/pollen/index.cfm
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21196761
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2755042/
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5451967/
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16405270
  22. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5941775/
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18002246
  25. https://acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279486/
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5362176/
  28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3264048/
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4161679/
  30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4829390/