Dr. Russell Greenfield: Allergies affect a lot of us, whether it's year around or seasonal, your immune system is mistakenly identifying harmless particles as intruders, setting off alarms that result in plenty of discomfort. You may be able to decrease your inflammatory response to allergens by eating the Mediterranean way, with lots of vegetables, fruits, and foods high in Omega3 fats, like walnuts, Alaskan Salmon and ground Flax seed. These foods help decrease inflammation. Avoid foods that can worsen inflammation, like the pro-inflammatory trans fats and polyunsaturated oils found in many processed or take out foods.
Milk proteins can also make symptoms worse. So try a week or two without dairy products to see if this makes a difference for you. Be sure to drink lots of water to keep your mucous membranes in fighting order. Take control of your environment. Limit your time outdoors during peak allergy season. To keep pollen outside the house, leave your shoes at the door, wash your face and hands when you come in and shower upon off before bedtime.
Consider adding a High-Efficiency Particulate Air, or HEPA filter to your heating and cooling system. Limit pets to certain rooms of the house and have your house inspected for mold that might need to be removed. Try using a Neti Pot, a ceramic vessel filled with homemade saline solution. Clean out your nasal passages once in the morning and once at night when you are having symptoms and once a week when you are symptom free.
More importantly, if you believe you have allergies, speak with your doctor. Allergy symptoms are often confused with other disorders, so you want to make sure you know what you are dealing with.
Prescription medications may be of help, but try to avoid decongestants, which provide very little benefit and far too many side-effects.
By following these tips, you might just be able to better control your allergies this season. Good luck!