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Spring is close, and so is allergy season. Here's how you can prepare for it

Doctors say there are some things you can do now to reduce symptoms, that don't involve allergy shots or medications.
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Posted at 7:58 PM, Mar 08, 2024

If you have spring allergies you know that things like an itchy nose, watery eyes, congestion, and lots of sneezing are just around the corner.

But doctors say there are some things you can do now to reduce symptoms, that don't involve allergy shots or medications. It's all connected to preparing your immune system.

"Just being in your best state of health is the most important thing to do. So in general, making sure you're sleeping enough," said Dr. Christopher Brooks, an allergist with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Mental health is also part of boosting your immune system. It's kind of like how when we're feeling burnt out or aren't getting enough sleep, we're more likely to get sick.

Diet also plays a major role in boosting your immune system.

"Making sure you're eating fruits and vegetables, getting all those important vitamins and minerals," said Dr. Brooks.

Focusing on eating balanced meals leading up to allergy season is the best way to go about this. However, there are a few foods that are extra helpful for your immune system.

That includes citrus fruits, because they're rich in vitamin C, which supports cellular functions of the immune system.

Garlic, because it contains allicin. The compound is what gives garlic its smell while we're cooking with it. Then when we eat garlic, allicin breaks down into an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.

Leafy greens and berries are also rich in antioxidants that can boost our immune system.

Once allergy season hits, there are some external factors you can also focus on, in combination with supporting your immune system.

"Trying, if possible, to keep the windows closed can be very helpful. If you have to have windows open, at least keeping them closed in the morning time when pollen counts are highest is really helpful. Using nasal and sinus washes. So those are really helpful for not just clearing out mucus sets in the nose, but it's also really helpful for clearing out all those allergens from your nose that accumulate, especially as you're going throughout your day," said Dr. Brooks.

A basic air filter for your home can also make a difference. Taking these extra steps may reduce allergy symptoms for some people, and even lower the need for some medications, according to Dr. Brooks.