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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Natural Relief for Allergies

May 01, 2013 09:53AM ● By Etya Novick

Every year around this time, many of us suffer from itchy eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, inflammation in the throat and nose, and sneezing. The probable cause is seasonal allergic rhinitis. Trees, grasses and weeds are the usual suspects in the spring. What happens is that your immune system overreacts to a typically harmless substance (an allergen) and treats it as an intruder by releasing histamines. These histamines are responsible for causing your uncomfortable symptoms.

Rhinitis can contribute to other problems such as asthma, sinus or ear conditions, or trouble sleeping. Therefore, it’s important to take action. While there is no cure for seasonal allergic rhinitis, reducing pollen exposure is your first line of defense.

Here are some tips:

  • Track pollen counts in your area. You can download an app to your smartphone from or This is especially helpful if you know your specific triggers.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible when the pollen count is high, especially on dry, warm, breezy days.  The best times to be outside are very early in the morning (when dew is on the plants) or in the evening, during and after rain, or on cloudy, humid, or windless days.
  • Keep windows and doors shut during high pollen counts.
  • Keep car windows closed. Use your air conditioner and choose the setting that recirculates air.
  • Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter at home and in your car.
  • Shower and change your clothes after being exposed to lots of pollen. Don’t let the pollen make its way to your pillow!
  • Do not dry clothes outside.
  • Protect your eyes. Wear glasses rather than contacts outdoors.
  • Avoid activities that stir up pollen. If you’re sensitive, get someone else to mow and rake your lawn. If that’s not an option, wear a pollen-filtering mask.
  • Landscape with allergies in mind. Choose plants that have large and heavy pollen such as azaleas and magnolia.
  • Vacation in low allergy areas such as the beach or high altitudes.

Sometimes the symptoms are unavoidable. If you don’t want to resort to inhalers and steroids, there are several natural treatments available. Well-known remedies include saline rinses, steam inhalation, eating local honey, homeopathy and acupuncture.

Salt therapy, as offered by Respira Salt Wellness Center in Berkeley Heights, is another option. This treatment is used to help adults and children who suffer from allergies and a range of respiratory problems. It is gentle, noninvasive, and helps reduce inflammation, loosen congestion, kill bacteria, and boost your immune system. You spend only 45 minutes per session relaxing in a room full of microscopic sea salt particles that circulate in the air. These particles are able to travel to the deepest parts of your sinuses and lungs where they can help counteract the immune response.

The most effective way to reduce your allergy symptoms is to come in for regular salt therapy treatments before the season is in full swing. However, you can also help reduce your symptoms by coming for a series of sessions when you are in the thick of it.

For more information about salt therapy or to schedule an appointment, visit or call 908-665-0333.

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