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Allergies : Allergy Season Is in Full Bloom

Thanks to the long, cold, wet winter, experts predict that this allergy season may be one of the worst in years. Trees and flowers are all blooming at once, creating a big burst of different types of pollen at the same time. However, there is a bright side -- because the pollen season started later, it's likely to be shorter.

If you're one of millions of Americans getting clobbered by seasonal allergies, the Mayo Clinic offers the following tips to help keep symptoms under control. First off, reduce your exposure to allergens:
  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Leave the mowing, weeding, and yard cleanup to other family members. Delegate the chores that stir up allergens! If you must do chores outdoors, wear a dust mask.
  • After you've been outside a while, change your clothes. You may also want to shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair. Also, don't hang laundry outside.
The Mayo Clinic also recommends checking your local TV station or the Internet for current pollen levels. When pollen counts are high, close doors and windows. Pollen counts are usually highest in the morning, so avoid outdoor activity early in the day.

A variety of nutrients can also help ease inflammation and boost immunity, which are both critical during allergy season. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are associated with a decreased risk of allergies, likely due to their anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to marine oil supplements, omega-3s are found in flaxseeds, walnuts, and cold-water fish like salmon and halibut.

Quercetin, a bioflavonoid found in some fruits and vegetables, is known to have anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, and antioxidant properties. Studies find that it may help relieve allergy symptoms. Quercetin is available as a supplement and is found in onions, apples, broccoli, citrus, and tea.

Vitamin C may be the ultimate anti-allergy vitamin. It helps reduce inflammation, and it is also a natural antihistamine. Vitamin C is available in a variety of different forms as a supplement, and C-rich foods include citrus, berries, peppers, and tomatoes.

Finally, add some beneficial bacteria to your diet. Probiotics are the key to maintaining a healthy immune system, which is critical for anyone suffering from seasonal allergies, and studies indicate that probiotics are beneficial for relieving symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. Look for probiotic supplements at your natural market, and be sure to include foods like yogurt, miso, and tempeh in your diet.
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