Spring is here. And while you have sunny days, chirping birds, and lush landscapes to look forward to, you also might be wrestling with allergy season. With dust mites, stinging insects, and pollen in the air, you might be dealing with a host of symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes, for starters. But the cost of allergy shots and steroids could get expensive. Plus, some have side effects that you might not want to experience.
And while you can certainly lean on antihistamines and nasal sprays, you might want to consider natural allergy relief. As we're heading into allergy season, here are 5 drug-free ways to tend to your spring allergies with your FSA.
Saline nasal irrigation
Flushing your nasal passage with a saline solution could be a natural way to help alleviate allergy symptoms. It can clear your sinus of allergens, bacteria, and mucus. Here's how it works: you tilt your head sideways. Next, insert the spout into your upper nostril so liquid pours through the lower nostril. Last, clear your nostrils. Repeat as needed.
You'll need some saline and you can use a Neti pot. The FDA recommends using either distilled water, or water that is boiled then cooled. And you can also purchase a saline rinse, which can come in premixed packets. Both the Neti pot and saline rinse are FSA eligible products.
To also help you with any sinus pain or pressure, another drug-free, natural way is to try using a sinus compress. This form of heat therapy can reduce swelling and open sinus and nasal passageways.
Control your environment
If the presence of pet dander, dust mites, and mold are causing irritation and trigger indoor allergies, making sure your home is free of such debris can help reduce symptoms or prevent them from happening in the first place.
Besides vacuuming and dusting regularly, a steam inhaler can help with your allergies if the air is too dry in your home. If mold is an issue, you want to make sure there's ample ventilation to prevent moisture from inducing mold spores to populate in unsightly places.
See an acupuncturist
If you suffer from eczema or allergies, a visit to the acupuncturist could help reduce your symptoms. Studies reveal that acupuncture could drastically reduce itchiness in some eczema sufferers.
Further, these symptoms were alleviated in those with hay fever, or allergic rhinitis.
While it's not recommended to only seek medical treatment from an acupuncturist for your allergies, it could be part of a more holistic treatment to help with your allergies. And alternative health, as long as it's a medical necessity, can be covered by your FSA.
Visit a chiropractor
While a chiropractor can't treat allergies, they can remove blocks in the nervous system that enables the body to function properly. In turn, it can boost proper immune function. As there might be interference to proper immune function in allergy sufferers, studies have revealed that those who undergo chiropractic treatment don't suffer from classic ailments such as runny nose, congested sinuses, and itchy eyes.
For example, a study shows that the majority of those who struggled with dermatitis had misaligned spines in their mid-back. After several spine adjustments, they showed improvement from symptoms. A visit to the chiropractor, treatment, or an exam would be covered with your FSA funds as long as it's considered a medical necessity. And transportation costs to and from the chiropractor could also be eligible.
Find ways to lower stress
While allergies can be stressful, stress can also exacerbate your allergies. That's because stress can make your allergic reactions worse. According to Harvard Health, stress can cause allergy symptoms to flare up even more. While it's not exactly clear why, there might be a connection between the mind and the body when it comes to allergy flare-ups.
Look for ways you can reduce your stress in your everyday life. For instance, meditate each morning, practice yoga, or write in your gratitude journal every night. You can also try a relaxation mask, or a homeopathic medicine for stress relief. You might not always have to resort to allergy medicine and injections. These forms of natural allergy relief could do the trick to alleviate irritation and suffering. Of course, you'll want to consult with your doctor beforehand.
Jackie Lam is a personal finance writer and is based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Salon, Mental Floss, and GOOD. She is a candidate for the ACFPE® financial coaching certification.
Jackie is passionate about helping artists, freelancers, and gig economy workers with their finances. She has in-depth experience writing about budgeting, investing, frugality, money, and relationships, and loves finding interesting stories that revolve around money.