Allergy Season

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Allergy season is upon us. Pollen counts in Oregon reach among the highest in the country. Read our tips below on reducing pollen exposure and supplemental therapies to control allergy symptoms. Common allergy symptoms include runny nose or nasal congestion, itchy, red, or watery eyes, sneezing, postnasal drip, fatigue, and headache.

Tips on Reducing Exposure to Grass and Tree Pollens:

  • Wash bedding in hot water with hypoallergenic, fragrance-free detergent weekly

  • Take a quick shower before bed to rinse off any pollen

  • Replace your pillows once per year

  • Have an air filter in your bedroom

  • Remove shoes before you walk into house - prevents tracking in pollen, dust, etc.

  • Avoid drying your clothes outside on a clothesline

  • Keep the windows up in your car while driving

  • Avoid going outside between 5am-10am as this is when pollen counts are highest

Dietary Suggestions:

  • Avoid pro-inflammatory foods, such as gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, corn, nightshades, and processed foods

  • Visit a farmer’s market to purchase local honey and/or bee pollen

    • Portland Farmers’ Markets: Find a location nearest you here

  • Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) is a natural antihistamine. Try this delicious pesto recipe to incorporate this medicine into your diet. Wear gloves and use tongs to handling the plant to avoid stinging yourself.

    • Nettle Pesto

      • Ingredients:

        • 2 cups stinging nettle leaves, packed

        • 1 cup basil leaves, packed

        • 3 Tbsp lemon juice

        • 3 Tbsp high-quality olive oil

        • 2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts

        • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

      • Directions:

        • Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse ingredients until almost smooth


Regular exercise stimulates the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, chemical messengers in the body that reduce inflammation and will decrease allergy symptoms. Consider an indoor workout if there is a high pollen burden.

Nasal Rinses:

Irrigation therapies are used to rinse pollen out of the nasal passages and sinuses. When used properly, they can significantly improve allergy symptoms. It is imperative to always use distilled or boiled water to avoid the introduction of bacteria or parasites from contaminated water.  Nasal rinses can be done up to twice daily when pollen counts are high. Perform a nasal rinse at least once daily at bedtime during allergy season to reduce pollen burden or debris in the nasal passages and sinuses while sleeping. We recommend the following devices for nasal/sinus irrigation:

Xylitol nasal spray can help break up biofilms and decrease nasal congestion. We recommend Xlear.

Allergy Shots
Alder Family Medicine is offering a new type of injection therapy for seasonal allergies. Speak with your provider to see if this therapy is indicated for you.

The above suggestions for reducing pollen burden, decreasing inflammation, and sinus rinses should will ease your suffering during this allergy season. Please schedule an office visit with your provider if you need additional support for seasonal allergies.

Kat Bodden