We've visited this topic many times over the years here on HealthCentral, but since there's always a lot of interest in what are viewed as more "natural" treatments, I thought it might be useful for our community if I pulled all the information together here in one post and also updated it with the latest knowledge about alternative or natural approaches to treating allergies.
Why Do We Want to Go Natural?
I read on another website, in a post written by a doctor, that people often seek natural treatments because of a mistrust in the medical establishment, and I suppose that may be true, but I think it's only part of the story.
Some of us just don't like putting foreign chemicals into our bodies, no matter how helpful they are in controlling our symptoms. Nor do we enjoy spending hundreds of dollars a year on prescription and over the counter medications!
So, we look for alternatives that feel safer, more "back to nature" and that are a whole lot cheaper.
Where to Start - The Cornerstone of Allergy Treatment
First, let me emphasize that one of the main foundations (and certainly a natural approach) to treating nasal, eye and skin allergies (plus asthma) is what is known as "trigger avoidance." Triggers are allergens and other substances in our environment that set off, or trigger, our allergy symptoms. Common allergy triggers include:
- Mold spores (both indoors & outdoors)
- Pollen from trees, grasses and weeds
- Pet dander, urine and saliva
- Insect droppings
It's not realistic to think you can ever get rid of every one of your triggers from your environment, especially when you leave home and/or go outdoors. Still, there are many things we CAN do to reduce the amount of triggers in our environment. And we can refrain from going outside when pollen and mold counts are high, if those are our triggers.
So, trigger avoidance is the best place to start treating your allergies... and it is also a very natural approach. If you come into contact with allergens less, over time you'll find that you need less medication and your symptoms are also less frequent and intense. Here are a couple of articles you may find helpful in working toward that goal:
But, you'll probably still have some symptoms, so what then?
Preventive Alternative Allergy Treatments
Some alternative treatment approaches are meant to alleviate symptoms, while others are geared more toward preventing the symptoms in the first place.
One of the preventive measures I reported on back in October of 2008 was a gel called Allergen Block or Little Remedies, which claimed to be a drug-free, innovative product that blocks airborne allergens before they trigger your allergy symptoms. Supposedly, the electrostatic gel would prevent allergens from entering your nasal passages.
I didn't notice much effect when I used it, but to be honest, I only tried it a few times and then lost interest. An Internet search reveals that there are many people who swear it helps... and just as many who debunk it. So, I'd say the jury is still out on this one. But it is fairly inexpensive and can be bought in any drugstore or pharmacy department, so you could always try it.