It may have taken trees and flowers some time to start blooming because of the cold, but spring is becoming more and more evident with the weather warming. This also heralds the beginning of allergy season so, anyone sensitive to pollen, take heed.

The truth is, it looks like allergy season is making up for lost time. It is predicted to be particularly harsh this year, much to the horror of allergy sufferers, once pollen reaches its peak. Stunted by the extreme cold of winter, plants started spreading pollen late. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, for instance, pollen season usually begins in February, but trees only started pollinating recently.

Allergies may also be caused by grass and ragweed, but the two are spurred by the level of daylight, so their seasons usually begin and end around the same time every year. Allergies to grass are most prevalent during late spring to early summer, while ragweed allergies are generally observed around late summer and during fall.

Aside from temperature, the amount of rain and snow during winter also affects pollen season in the spring.

If you are hoping to ward off allergies this spring, keep in mind the following home remedies:

  • Cook with turmeric. The spice contains curcumin that can decongest, helping reduce allergy symptoms and prevent colds from developing.
  • Go out at night. If you must spend time outdoors, schedule it for when the sun goes down. Many trees release pollen at the start of the day, so by the time you step out in the evening, pollen levels would have already dropped.
  • Change clothes when you get home. Prevent dragging pollen all over your home by changing clothes immediately after coming inside.
  • Take your allergy meds at night. Symptoms are usually at their worst during the morning. Taking allergy medication at night before bedtime ensures the drug would be effective already once you're exposed to allergens.
  • Put on sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when stepping out. Aside from making you feel like a glorious Hollywood star, wearing these also keeps pollen from entering your eyes and preventing them from becoming watery and itchy.
  • Take fish oil supplements. A study of people suffering from allergic asthma showed that those who regularly took fish oil supplements had lower levels of leukotrienes, which are chemicals that promote allergic reactions.
  • Eat more chicken than beef. A study has shown that those who ate low levels of monounsaturated fats were less likely to have hay fever.
  • Take a hot shower. The water will wash away pollen from your body, which simply changing your clothes can't get rid of. The steam will also open up your sinuses to help you breathe better.
  • Have some peppermint tea. The essential oil of the tea decongests, complementing peppermint's anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Load up on wasabi. As much as you can handle, at least. The allyl isothiocyanate in wasabi promotes mucus flow, which can have you breathing better in no time.

Photo: William Brawley | Flickr

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