Plant pollens are the most common hay-fever
triggers. The most prolific culprits are weeds
such as ragweed, sagebrush, and thistle. More
than 1,000 kinds of grass grow in North
America, but only a few—including the Kentucky
bluegrass that’s probably in your yard—produce
allergic pollen. High pollen–count trees include
oak, ash, elm, hickory, pecan, box elder, and
mountain cedar. Regardless of what your child
may be allergic to, symptoms are generally the
same so many holistic pediatricians don’t
recommend allergy skin tests. “Most pollen
can’t really be avoided anyway,” says Randall
Warm liquids soothe the
throat and nasal passages.
Sweeten herbal tea
with fruit juice or honey.
1Choose low-inflammation foods. If your child has food sensitivities—and many kids do but
don’t know it—foods such as dairy and wheat can be mucus
forming and inflammation promoting, which can create an
imbalance in immune system function, says Neustaedter.
Consider limiting these foods before and during allergy season.
Also, add more antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory foods—
such as nuts, fish, grapes, oranges, apples, and tomatoes—to
family meals. Because they fight free radical cell damage (which
interferes with the immune system), antioxidants can help
2Brew a pot of herbal tea. Warm liquids soothe the throat and nasal passages.
If your child prefers, you can sweeten tea with fruit juice, or try a
natural alternative sweetener such as agave nectar or stevia.
3Clean up household air. Outside, pollen is impossible to avoid, but indoor air is
another matter. Get a HEPA air filter, which removes pollen
and dust from air, and run it in your child’s bedroom 24 hours
a day. The portable models work fine in smaller rooms and cost
less than $100. Also, on windy days and while your child is
sleeping, keep windows shut. If possible, rip out old carpet and
cover air vents with filters, vacuum frequently when your child
is not in the room, avoid ceiling fans, and wash bedding and
stuffed animals once a week.
4Rinse nasal passages. It might take getting used to, but rinsing the sinuses with
warm saline (salt water) is an excellent, age-old natural remedy
that helps reduce contact with pollen and lessens allergy
symptoms. Look for nasal sprays containing saline or xylitol in the
For more information about seasonal allergies,