Seasonal allergies affect between ten and thirty percent of the world’s population—that’s in the range of 700 million and 2.1 billion people. In America alone, that figure is over 25 million people. Chances are pretty good that you’ve experienced some of the many fall allergy symptoms, or that you know someone who has. If so, you know how difficult they can make things, and how they dominate your life until you find relief. Your immediate reaction is probably to go to your local drug store, pick up an over-the-counter solution, and hope it relieves whatever you’re experiencing. Before you do that this time around, consider your other options. Rinsing your nose with a sinus rinse or saline spray with xylitol should be your initial regimen for relief. Medications should only be a last resort.

Prominent Fall Allergy Symptoms

Understanding what causes your symptoms is the key to solving your allergy issues and inhibiting them in the future. Here are a few of the most common fall allergy symptoms.

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Excess sneezing
  • Itchy throat
  • Irritated eyes

Many of these symptoms are similar to the common cold or flu, so take note of the season and your environment to determine if you’re suffering from allergies—treatments can differ if you’re suffering from a cold or from fall allergy symptoms. If you don’t know if you have allergies, an allergist in you area can test you. If you have asthma, ragweed-induced symptoms can aggravate your already wheezy chest, so take special care during the fall time.

Understand that symptoms are not the cause of your suffering. The root of the problem lies with the allergens. Treating allergy symptoms with medications for an instant “fix” is like treating a bruise with a bandage. It’ll cover it up for a while, but it won’t solve the problem. Before tackling your symptoms, recognize that they are a defense mechanism, not a problem to be solved.

Common Fall Allergens

Ragweed is the most common trigger of fall allergies. Funnily enough, ragweed is in the Ambrosia flora genus, the group of plants named for what the Greeks called the “food of the gods.” Essentially, scientists named a plant that induces fall allergies after the food of the gods—a cruel irony if ever there was one.

Ragweed is responsible for more than half of pollen-induced cases of fall allergy symptoms in North America due to its ability to travel great distances in the wind. Your city might not have a single ragweed plant, but you could still be affected by ragweed up to 300 or 400 miles away from its origin. What’s worse, a single ragweed plant can release up to one billion pollen spores into the air in a given season. It’s common everywhere in the United States, and seemingly unavoidable; however, you can minimize your risk of exposure by limiting your time outdoors during ragweed season (August through October) and even during peak times in the day when pollen is most prevalent (10:00 am – 3:00 pm).

Other fall allergy triggers include mold spores and dust mites. Mold is another tricky one—you’ll want to watch out for mold growing in your bathroom, and also for outdoor mold under piles of dead grass and leaves. During the fall as people turn on their furnaces, a lot of dust gets stirred up. Be sure to have a clean, HEPA filter to minimize allergens in the air.

Why the Body Reacts to Allergens

Many allergens aren’t very dangerous to the body. For example, your allergic reaction to ragweed pollen doesn’t mean that ragweed pollen is dangerous. Your reaction to the ragweed is simply an evolutionary mechanism designed to defend your body against environmental toxins.

Of course, there are many different types of allergies, and some allergens that are harmless to one person can be dangerous or fatal to another. However, by developing a defense mechanism against a specific acute toxicity, the body can more effectively defend against other toxins. As our immune system recognizes the allergen, it produces histamine as a defense, leading to the symptoms of sneezing and nasal congestion.

How the Body’s Response to Allergens is Helpful

Histamine is a small biological molecule that plays an important role in the human body, involved with a total of twenty three different physiological functions. When the immune system induces histamine creation during an allergic reaction, it causes mucus production and inflammation, leading to symptoms such as an itchy throat and congestion. The purpose of antihistamines is to break down the histamine and relieve the symptoms caused by the allergic reaction. However, the medicated spray leaves the root of the problem in place—the allergen itself. The very name antihistamine should be a good indicator that perhaps the medication is in opposition to the body’s natural defenses—studies have even shown that they cause more problems than they help. Congestion helps your body reject the allergens through other symptoms such as sneezing. But if you use an antihistamine to relieve the mucus production, the cycle will persist.

The key here is to stop treating your symptoms like problems and start working with your body’s natural defenses. It’s hard to separate the two from each other, especially when that itchy throat refuses to let you breathe normally. However, that’s where solutions like the Xlear Sinus Rinse with dissolvable rinse packets, and xylitol saline spray come in. Xlear uses a xylitol saline solution that not only alleviates symptoms, but tackles the issue at the core--the allergens. The hypertonic, xylitol solution, which is used in the Sinus Rinse and Saline Spray, pulls extra moisture out of swollen sinus tissues. This moisture effectively thins mucus, helping the body relieve itself of the allergens

Relief from Fall Allergy Symptoms

There are essentially three steps you can take to alleviate fall time allergies: 1) recognize the symptoms, 2) understand what causes the symptoms, and 3) use your knowledge of the symptoms to prevent and alleviate them naturally.

Many fall time allergic reactions start in the nose—if you take care of your nasal health and learn to defend against allergens, you can inhibit major fall allergy symptoms because your body won’t react to the allergens. This outcome is greatly preferred over the quick-fix option that antihistamines and other medications provide.

You can take the following steps to most efficiently relieve allergy issues and prevent future symptoms:

  • Control your environment: Do simple things like closing the windows during allergen peak times, changing out filters in your home, and washing your hands and showering often. Be aware of the pollen count in the air and protect yourself against the root of your symptoms.
  • Use a Xlear Sinus Rinse Bottle with Sinus Rinse Packets, or Xylitol Saline Spray: Xylitol has been clinically studied for decades, and research has shown that it has significant positive effects on nasal and sinus health. Much more than a simple saline spray, the xylitol saline spray increases the ability of your immune system to defend against contaminants, and resolves the allergy at the core of the issue, rather than scratching the surface. Remember, a healthy, clean nose can inhibit many allergy-related symptoms.
  • Medications: As a last resort, use medications for relief. If your allergies are causing serious medical conditions, see a doctor for a prescribed medication.

So next time you feel that itchy throat coming on, or the obtrusive congestion brought on by fall allergies, don’t jump the gun and try to solve the issue with an over-the-counter medication. Take the steps to resolve the core of the problem—wash your nose and maintain proper nasal health. Learn more about the Xlear Sinus Rinse with Xylitol and Saline Spray here.

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