The long-awaited spring season has finally arrived, bringing with it sunshine, warm weather and the first blooms of season. Lying dormant all winter, the pollen and mold that cause sneezing, congestion and itchy, watering eyes reemerge and take to the wind, to the detriment of allergy sufferers.
Larry Weiner, a pharmacist in New York City for over 35 years has seen his fair share of allergy sufferers. Weiner says having allergies is actually an inherited trait—individuals who experience them are considered to be “atopic.”
“What you become allergic to also depends on when you’re exposed to the allergen, how much your exposed to, and for how long,” explains Weiner.
Weiner took some time to chat with us about how to survive the allergy season and prescribe a few natural remedies.
OSM: What can we blame allergy season on?
LW: Over the past few years, we’ve seen some pretty rough allergy seasons with more pollen in the air than ever. This can largely be attributed to climate change, because warmer weather year ‘round has led to longer growing seasons and more pollen production. The longer trees are in bloom, the longer allergy sufferers are going to have to withstand the pollen they’re allergic to.
Is sinus pain caused by allergies or is sinusitis a separate condition?
While you can experience sinus pain from allergies due to pressure from congestion, allergies are completely separate from sinusitis. Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, is when the nasal passages become inflamed and results in headache, tenderness of the face, tooth pain and even fever.
What’s your best piece of advice for those who suffer from allergies and sinus pain?
When patients come to me with congestion discomfort and sinus pain, but don’t show symptoms of a bacterial infection, I immediately point them in the direction of natural remedies like a drug-free saline spray because it moisturizes the nasal passages, clears congestion, and can be used as often or as much as needed with no dangerous side effects.
5 Ways to Naturally Relieve Allergy Symptoms
1. Incorporate a little bit of local honey into your diet if your allergen is pollen. Although not scientifically proven, consuming local honey every day has been shown to gradually immunize you to the irritant.
2. Irrigate the nasal passages with a saline solution. A product like Arm & Hammer Simply Saline offers drug-free congestion relief and soothes irritated passageways.
3. Alternating hot and cold compresses over your eyes and nose can help relieve sinus pressure.
4. Take a steamy hot shower to clear the nostrils and clean off pollen debris from your hair and skin.
5. Experiment with spicy foods to ease sinus pressure. Hot peppers to wasabi provide a temporary decongestive effect.