It’s springtime in The South. If you aren’t from here, you might not know what that means. In some parts of the country, it’s still quite cold. Snowing, even. In other parts, it’s already hot as blazes, as my grandmother would’ve said.
So, what is springtime like in The South? And by The South I am referring to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee…the states to which I can speak of with experience.
The mornings are sometimes freezing, followed by uncomfortably warm afternoons.
Sometimes the mornings are uncomfortably warm, followed by chilly afternoons.
Sometimes the mornings are chilly, followed by equally chilly afternoons.
Sometimes the mornings are uncomfortably warm, followed by even warmer afternoons.
The one thing that is consistent is the inconsistency of it all…except for one thing:
There are a lot of nice things about pollen.
Its absence would be devastating.
But for allergy sufferers like myself, its presence is devastating.
In fact, this blog post is the first thing I’ve written in three days because of the cloudiness in my head, the burning in my eyes, my nose. @&$^#+! pollen!
Couple the thick blanket of the devil’s yellow dust with the unpredictability of the weather, and you’ve got yourself a fine equation for feeling like absolute shit.
Allergy attacks can quickly mutate into ear and sinus infections. It turns people like me, people who love nature and being outdoors into damn near cave-dwellers inside our homes, venturing out only long enough to go to work or to the grocery store.
Or the freaking pharmacy. Again.
As a longtime allergy sufferer, I’ve learned a few tricks beyond taking allergy medications, and thought I’d share them:
1.| Change Your Clothes. When you come in from the yellow-dusted outdoors, it’s imperative that you change your clothes. As soon as I come in from work, I get those clothes off and into the wash. That pollen gets tracked in on our clothing and invades our poor, unsuspecting homes.
2.| Use Pet Wipes. There are these between-doggy-bath wipes you can get—use them! Just like our clothes can trap pollen and bring it inside, our pets get coated in it every time they go out. It might surprise you how much yellow stuff is clinging to your pup’s coat. (Please only use products designed and tested for domesticated animals.)
3.| Use a Saline Spray. Every day, actually. A few years ago I had near back-to-back sinus infections during allergy season and the third doctor I visited told me I would need to use a saline spray every day, especially during allergy seasons. They work best if you use them before you show any symptoms. They help afterward, loosening up the gross junk…but you don’t want it to get to that point.
My favorite is Arm & Hammer Simply Saline.
4.| Spicy Foods. If my throat is sore, I skip this. But, spicy foods can really help open you up, even if only for a few minutes at a time. One of the things that works best for me is mixing Sriracha sauce into ketchup.
But beyond spicy, spicy foods, think spice. I know, sounds like my allergy fog is still in full swing, but hear me out. There are a lot of different spices out there that can help your congestion. Turmeric, ginger, garlic, cayenne. Personally, I like to add some turmeric to my chicken noodle soup. I eat pickled ginger on its own.
5.| Avoid Dairy. I’ve been told this isn’t an issue for everyone else, but for me and several people I know, having any dairy products makes congestion so much worse. There is one time I break this rule, though. If my allergies transform into a full-blown sinus infection and I require antibiotics, I will try to have some yogurt. Antibiotics are great at ridding bacteria, which can sometimes kill off our good bacteria. It can cause thrush in your mouth, gastrointestinal problems, etc. So yogurt might prevent all those nasty issues.
6.| Essential Oils. Some people think me a snake oil salesmen when I start talking about essential oils, so if you don’t think they’ll work for you, don’t try it. Simple as that. They work well for me, though. My go-to concoction for allergy/congestion is lemon and eucalyptus. Sometimes I just sniff the vial, other times I add a few drops into grape seed oil and rub along my throat and across my sinuses.
This is essentially the same thing as using a mentholated rub. (There’s a lot to be said for using that on your feet!)
If you’re interested in essential oils, I get mine from Piping Rock.
7.| Hot Beverages. Yeah, yeah. This isn’t a secret. But…it is. I’m sure you’ve heard a thousand times about drinking hot tea with honey and lemon…but have you heard about drinking hot jell-o? It’s true, this is not a vegan-friendly option, but if you aren’t vegan, this trick passed down to me from my mother may work nicely for you. The theory she has is the flavor is pleasing, the sugar helps to give a little burst of energy, and the gelatin helps soothe the throat…the same benefit marshmallows provide to a sore throat.
When I started writing this post, I was sipping on some warm strawberry jell-o. I mix a few tablespoons into a standard coffee mug with hot water. There’s no exact ratio, though, play around with what tastes and works best for you.
And about hot tea: It’s soothing while you’re drinking it, for sure…but be careful of overdoing the tannin. It can dry out your throat.
8.| Local, Raw, Unfiltered Honey. You might’ve heard of this one, and if you have that’s great. I’m not going to apologize for repeating it. The thought process behind the honey being local is that the pollen collected to make the honey will consist of the plants you are allergic to. Using the honey may help you build up a tolerance for it, therefore reducing your allergic reaction to it. Use it in your hot tea, on your toast, or mix it with…
9.| Honey, ACV, and Cayenne. Use your local, raw, unfiltered honey and mix it with an equal part of unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar and 1/4 part cayenne pepper. I take a tablespoon of this whenever I’m sickly. This is especially handy if you’ve got a cough and you’ve taken all the cough syrup you can and it seems like an eternity until it’s time for your next dosage.
It’s a strong flavor, be forewarned.
10.| Don’t Ignore Your Body. Allergy attacks can make you feel crummy. But don’t forget, they can develop into full-blown sinus or ear infections, so if you don’t start to feel some marked relief after a few days of taking anti-histamines and one or more of the above suggestions, then you might want to see your doctor.
The last couple of days I’ve had a marathon with my doctor. 😉
I hope you are well and enjoying your springtime. If not, I hope some of my suggestions help you feel better.
Please excuse my absence from social media as of late…the pollen got to me.
You know what isn’t affected by the yellow dust of face-death? My giveaway. There’s still plenty of time to enter! Click below!
See you next week, friends. xoxo