Grunt! Itchy! Sigh!

The evidence is around us lately. Even people with allergic symptoms are usually mild until nothing shows signs of an allergic reaction this spring.

How are you? If you are like many allergy sufferers, the 2012 season will be one of the most challenging – sneezing!

You may have heard many common strategies that make sense to keep you away from home and out of your body. Let’s go further. Today, I offer three rather unknown strategies to minimize the suffering of your allergies. This anti-allergic secret might make a difference to help you win the spring battle this year.

Secret 1: Give your nose some TLC.

– Blow gently to avoid nosebleeds and even more jams.
– Irrigation with rinse salt or neti pot to moisturize and clean the parts.
– Limit your exposure to irritants in the air, including chlorinated pools, passive smoking, and aromas from colognes, candles, and cleansers.
– Apply ice or hot packs to the sinus area to reduce pain and pressure from congestion and inflammation.
– Breathe steam from boiling water or take a hot shower to reduce congestion.

Secret 2: Some foods can be very helpful – or not.

– Eating foods containing histamine-blocking in a healthy manner, including parsley, broccoli, kale, and collard greens.

– Avoid consuming raw apples, cherries, pears, apricots, tomatoes, and some peanuts during times of high spring allergies. These foods can trigger cross-reactions and make the symptoms worse.

– Gargle with salt water to soothe an itchy and irritated throat.

– Eliminate caffeine, processed foods, and sugar. These foods increase stress and feed inflammation.

– Enjoy a cup of herbal tea. Nettle, eyebright, red clover, and rose hips all help reduce allergy symptoms. But it might be better to avoid chamomile during the allergy season. Chamomile, a relative of ragweed, can sometimes worsen symptoms.

– Add extra anti-inflammatory omega-3 to your diet. Find these healthy fats in flaxseed, avocado, and cold water fish, like wild salmon.

Secret 3: Be smart about turning to the natural world to ask for help.

– Flush out itchy, watery eyes with natural lubricant drops that work like tears.

– Try self-help movements like acupressure-to-go: To reduce congestion, press both sides of the face outside the nostrils for 30 seconds. Do this as often as you need.

– Ask about allergic antidote supplements: Nettle can naturally reduce histamine levels, vitamin C boosts the immune system, and bioflavonoids such as quercetin and bromelain lend natural anti-inflammatory actions.

– Reduce stress to reduce your body’s cortisol production. Cortisol reduces the ammunition of your immune system and makes you more susceptible to disease and inflammation. Stress suppressive techniques to try include acupuncture, exercise, and meditation.

– Know when you might need medical help. Allergy symptoms can mask more serious conditions. See your doctor if you experience thick, colored nasal mucus, a fever that is higher than 101 for more than three days, facial or upper tooth pain, coughing thick mucus, or difficulty breathing. Such symptoms can indicate infection, asthma, or bronchitis.

No doubt, this spring is full of more colds and intense symptoms than usual. Many people suffer … big time! But while we cannot do anything to shorten the season, we have more choices than just waiting – among them, the three important strategies above. Don’t suffer for one week of discomfort. Take action now to reduce your reaction.