Allergies are on the rise, especially in 2011. Some new research shows that because of climate change, North America will have one of its longest allergy seasons. Most common outdoor allergens, like tree pollen, grass pollen and mold increase in production when temperatures and humidity are high. Ragweed levels in particular also go up with higher concentrations of atmospheric CO2 — the “greenhouse gas” causing all the trouble. So as the consequences of climate change extend the pollen season, more babies may grow up with things like eczema, runny noses, watery eyes, or worse — asthma. High pollen and mold counts lead to worsening of symptoms for asthma sufferers, and studies have shown more asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations during these peak times.
So with all the allergy treatments out there, which ones are the best? Here are ways to keep the watery eyes, itchy skin and runny noses at bay:
- Try butterbur instead of allergy medicine: Promising research has emerged that butterbur, a flowering plant that grows in moist climates, treats allergic rhinitis. People with allergic rhinitis found taking doses of a butterbur plant to be as helpful as fexofenadine (Allegra).
- Move to the country: A 2011 report documents the results of two European studies that looked at the differences between city kids and farm kids when it comes to developing allergies and childhood asthma. The studies indicated that youngsters who live on farms are 30 to 50 percent less likely than their city cousins to develop asthma or allergies. Of course we can”t all move to the country, so one of the key reasons for the lower allergy rate? The exposure to all the animals. So consider getting a pet.
- Use a neti-pot: Saline irrigation (or a neti pot) may spell sinus pain relief for allergy suffers, as they have been proven effective for cleansing the nostrils of excess dirt and mucus. In 2007, reviewed evidence for the effectiveness of nasal saline irrigation for symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis (inflamed nostrils); the reviewers concluded that it is well tolerated and beneficial, whether used alone or when used in addition to nasal sprays or allergy medication. The process of using neti pots can be rather simple, but seeing the execution of it can be a little intimidating. For optimal use of neti pots, click here for instructions.