Drinking More Water Can Help with Allergies
Allergy symptoms are a pain. The sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes of allergies can ruin an otherwise great day. While over-the-counter medications may help, they are not always the best solution. Either they don’t work well, they leave us feeling drowsy, or the short-term relief just isn’t enough. So how can we reduce our allergy symptoms and improve our quality of life during allergy season? The answer might be simpler than we think: drinking more water can help with allergies.
Drink more water. This is the go-to advice when we are sick, on hot days, and when we exercise. However, there is another important time to increase our water intake – during allergy season. Drinking more water can help reduce your allergy symptoms.
Allergies and dehydration
Science shows a connection between allergies and not drinking enough water, or dehydration. The body’s response to allergens and dehydration are similar; in both situations, the body over produces histamines. At regular levels, histamines are crucial to the body’s immune system and serve many important functions from lowering blood pressure to aiding in digestion. The problem occurs when the body over produces histamines, as it does in response to allergens. This abundance of histamines is what causes allergy symptoms – the runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. If the body is fighting both allergies and dehydration, it may magnify our allergy symptoms.
The use of antihistamines
With the overproduction of histamine causing these symptoms, the common solution is to take antihistamines. The over-the-counter medications work to ease or mask the symptoms, but they do not block the overproduction of histamines. There are a few concerns with using antihistamines. Side effects can include dizziness or blurred vision. For children and pregnant women the medication may not even be an option due to the potential effects of the drug. In the long-term, the antihistamines do not address the root of the symptoms and simply provide short-term relief.
In conjunction with antihistamines, some people also take decongestants. The problem with using these decongestants for more than a few days can have the opposite effect and actually make congestion worse. In addition, these decongestants, which are supposed to help with allergy relief, can make dehydration worse.
Hydration as a solution
With the selections of soda, juices, and energy drinks available today, chronic dehydration is a problem for some people. Not only are people not drinking water to stay hydrated, these sugar-filled drinks, just like the decongestants, are actually making dehydration worse.
One of the simplest solutions is to drink more water. With the proper hydration levels, the body will still produce histamines to combat the allergens, but it will not simultaneously struggle with the overproduction of histamines due to dehydration. Hydrating is not a quick fix for symptoms, but drinking more water can help with allergies.
Tips for staying well hydrated
- Have a pure source of water easily available. Using a filtration system can ensure the best water source right from your kitchen sink.
- Start your morning with water. While some people may reach for the coffee, tea, or juice first thing in the morning, it’s important to make a rule of “water first.”
- Research the right amount of water you need for your body size and activity level. The amount of recommended water per day is no longer as simple as 8 – 8 ounce glasses. Studies are questioning individual water needs, a vital nutrient, based on age, gender, and activity level. Just how much water is enough water may still be in question, but the health outcomes of water are still key.
Natural ways to fight allergies
Water is a great and simple first step to help reduce allergy symptoms. Studies are showing promising results with a few additional methods to reduce allergy symptoms:
- Nasal irrigation – Often done with a neti pot, nasal rinse devices have been found to be safe. The FDA recommends that only distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water is used.
- Acupuncture – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) calls acupuncture a “complementary health approach” for seasonal allergies. Studies are showing that acupuncture may reduce symptoms of allergies and improve quality of life.
- Butterbur extract – Research is showing butterbur’s potential to help ease the symptoms of hay fever. The NIH caution that some people may experience side effects from the herb, and the long-term effects have not been studied.
Focus on long-term health
Fighting allergy symptoms is a constant battle during allergy season. A focus on health, rather than just the quick-fix of an over-the-counter medication, is a long-term approach. This includes staying well hydrated and not stressing the body with dehydration leading to the additional overproduction of histamines.
One of the best ways to drink more water is to have delicious water on tap and available at any time with a water filtration system. Drinking more water should be part of a healthy habit whether we are sick, on hot days, during exercise, and now, during allergy season.