Allergy sufferers can look beyond medicine cabinet for relief

Allergy sufferers can look beyond medicine cabinet for relief »Play Video

UNDATED – Allergy sufferers need no reminders that this year has been one of the worst in terms of misery.

Allergy medication is flying out of stores and pharmacies as pollen counts spike and sufferers try to stem flowing noses, itching eyes and scratchy throats.

But what if modern medication doesn’t always work? What’s the next step?

There are some unlikely treatments that practitioners swear by that don’t include lots of long chemical names of pharmacy visits - but you do need some wool socks.

Jennifer struggles with her son Wilson’s allergies, which he takes two medications for before venturing outside.

Wilson’s mom said going outdoors on a summer day would result in puffy, itchy eyes and an inability to play sports, as well as some missed school days.

Addie, 10, knows the symptoms all too well. Her itchy eyes made the lazy days of summer anything but relaxing.

For her, over-the-counter, homeopathic or “natural” eye drops do the trick.

Dr. Marnie Loomis, a homeopathic physician specializing in treating illness with natural remedies, says an allergy attack is the body’s way of reacting to what it perceives as a foreign invader, similar to getting a cold or the flu.

She also says that huge pollen loads and allergy hell are the price we pay for a beautiful, plant-filled region.

Loomis said there are several natural, non-pharmaceutical approaches to controlling allergies.

She recommends allergy sufferers take an over-the-counter medication like Claritin and also a healthy dose of Vitamin C 15 to 20 minutes before going outside.

She also recommends nettles tea and using a neti pot before going out into a pollen-rich area.

But what about those wool socks?

Loomis explained how wool socks can reduce congestion before going to bed. "I find this best for the kids when they're having an allergic response at bed time, and all stuffed up. It can help for colds as well,” she said.

First, warm the feet, maybe in the tub (or even a hot tub if you have one), then put on cold, wet cotton socks.

Next, pull dry, wool socks over the top of the cotton socks.

The body automatically reacts to cold toes. "And the body says, “hey, we need to warm that part of the body up” and it increases circulation to warm up this part of his body, and by doing that [it] just pulls the congestion right away from his head."

In the morning, the socks are dry (wool pulls out the moisture) and the congestion is relieved.

Loomis also has advice about allergies at night. She says many times, windows left open to cool off on hot summer nights can push allergens right across the beds where an allergy sufferer sleeps.

Closing the window, using an AC window unit with an air filter built in or moving the bed to another location can result in better sleep.

Loomis also said that allergy attacks also increase the stress a person is under.