Take Control of Your Allergies
Simple strategies to ease symptoms
Paying attention can help you head off allergy problems before they start
If you are all too aware of your watery eyes, stuffy nose, and clogged head but not sure of the cause, do some research. Since your allergies can be in response to virtually any food, airborne substance, or chemical, you must first figure out the culprit before knowing how to best treat the problem. Here are some ways to determine your triggers:
Find food foes
If you suspect your morning bagel or grilled-cheese lunch might be causing your symptoms, it's time to find out. Temporarily following an elimination diet or a hypoallergenic diet can pinpoint common allergens such as wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, soy, citrus fruits, nuts, peanuts, tomatoes, food coloring and preservatives, coffee, and chocolate. Some popular books offer guidance for people attempting this type of diet. Once you have figured out which foods are causing a reaction, simply avoid them. Frequently, even those foods can be added back into the diet after a period of avoidance (such as 6 to 12 months); however, the allergy may return if the offending food is consumed more than every third or fourth day.
Many of the most common allergens can be lurking in places you would not expect, such as your bedroom or under the kitchen sink. To cut down on household allergens try the following:
Use sneeze-stopping supplements
Some people have found these natural treatments helpful to reduce allergy symptoms:
As you've probably already learned, paying attention to your body's reactions can help you head off allergy problems before they start. Some forethought will help you avoid getting caught off guard when you're out of your regular element:
Linda Knittel, MA, is a nutritional counselor and health writer specializing in alternative medicine, nutrition, and yoga. After blood tests revealed an intolerance to potatoes, Knittel gave them up for good. She misses French fries but feels much healthier living spud-free.