Spring may have sprung but the sneezin' season arrived weeks before, thanks to this year’s fierce winter storms and heavy winds. It’s pollen season, everybody is sneezing and itching. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), in late February through early March, California had a 20 percent increase in sick visits statewide due to allergy symptoms.
People prone to hay fever know seasonal allergies start early in balmy Southern California even though the vernal equinox officially arrived March 20.
About 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children suffer from nasal allergies, according to the ACAAI. Southern Californians in this group might not be pleased to know that the year's heavy winter rains gave high pollen flowers, trees, grasses, weeds and shrubs a big jump start.
There are some allergy medications that do not cause drowsiness, but if you prefer natural remedies you need look no further than the kitchen cabinet.
You might want to try cooking up some allergy relief in the form of hot, spicy foods. The reason: Experts say the spicier the dish, the more likely it is to thin mucous secretions, which in turn can clear nasal passages. Hot and spicy foods can actually help relieve some of the respiratory symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Apparently, the spicier the foods the mo r e likely it is to clear up a stuffy nose.
Among the most frequently recommended spices for this purpose include cayenne pepper, hot ginger, and fenugreek, as well as the traditional onion and garlic.
There are lots of dishes that are hot, spicy and flavorful: Kung pao chicken, curry, spicy ginger chicken, hot Italian sausage, which is great on the grill by the way, all kinds of Mexican and Thai foods. Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper on grilled vegetables. It doesn't take much to produce the desired result. Of course, spicy foods will not prevent seasonal allergies, but they are a tasty way to get some relief.
Look at your diet and cut out any foods that seem to provoke even a mild sensitivity, such as occasional hives or even stomach upset. In doing so, you can literally lighten the burden on your immune system, which in turn may help reduce the impact of seasonal allergic reactions.