Taking control of your allergies

Holy cow! This last week was such a buzz-kill with being able to talk a full sentence without sneezing, or coughing. The Mr. and I took a trip to our local food co-op in search of something that would allow us to sleep-mainly me-without waking up to cough, or sneeze, or even blow our nose. I wanted to keep things more to a natural approach, but we had some leftover Nyquil still floating around the house and so I finished off the last dose. It did knock me out so I could sleep, but I woke up with a Nyquil hangover the next morning. This spring's allergies have been some of the worse on the record for us. I don't know if anyone else is suffering as much as our house, but if you happen to be here are some tips that have helped us take back control of our sinuses and breathing.

1. Facial steams: Never under estimate the power of steam, especially when it comes to being able to breathe out of both nostrils. It's ridiculous how much snot our bodies produce and a good, warm steam will help clear them out a bit. Adding a few drops of essential oils like, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, or even menthol will help unclog those poor pipes too. Give some of these oil blends a try. Here, here, here, and for the little ones here, and here.

2. Handkerchiefs at hand: I like to keep a few bandanas handkerchiefs around to blow on if the time should arise. I go to bed with one and I also keep one at my side when I am working. This not only makes blowing your nose a bit more comfortable it also saves on paper waste with tissue, or toilet paper. Adding a few drops of the above mentioned essential oils to the handkerchief can also help give some relief.

3. Cough Syrup that works. The worst part of allergies is finding relief at night to be able to sleep through the night. This cough and bronchial syrup from Boericke & Tafel seems o do the trick, but go lightly with it because it contains 10.5% alcohol. You can pick some of this up at your local co-op, or health food store.

4. Keep cough drops at hand. I can not express how great these are. They are all natural and contain menthold and taste great. Nothing worse than having an allergy cough hit and you have nothing on hand. These are from Herbion Naturals and come in a sugar free variety too.

5. Aloe vera: Adding some aloe vera, or aloe vera-containing lotion to your nose will also help with the redness and drying that blowing and sneezing can cause. I don't recommend putting it on the inside of the nostrils, but applying to the outside and around the nostrils can really help with soreness and pain. Our favorite here.

6. Humidifier: Oregon, especially here in the Willamette Valley, the drying air is something else. When we lived in Arkansas it was humid and sweating was the worse of the culprits there, but here, on the Pacific Coast, I tell ya, the drying air is incredible. With that, it causes the nasal cavities to dry out constantly and the worst of it is noticeable when you have allergies. Keeping a humidifier going near your bed, or where you are sitting is a great way to bring some of the wetness in the air back. The best humidifier we have found is this one. But if you are looking to get more humidity out of your humidifier, you might consider this one. Even when we don't have allergies being an issue we leave a humidifier going all winter and into the early parts of summer.

Side note: If your allergies tend to wipe you out with energy, rest is the best solution. I can't tell you how much a few days of taking it easy and resting helped a lot with getting rid of some of the "funk" that was clogging my sinuses. The Mr. was a trooper too and allowed me those days to reset and recharge.

Lastly, keep hand sanitizer available. When you are in public don't spread cough or nose germs to others, even with allergies. People hear a cough and immediately assume you're dying. Be kind and kill any germs that come from your mouth or nose right away-it will put others more at ease that you aren't going to turn into a zombie and eat their face. We love this variety from Clean Well. It's alcohol-free and works great with kids.

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