It has been a long hot summer but in a few short weeks the sizzling temperatures will give way to the colorful, breezy days of autumn. Nothing is more refreshing than hiking through the woods on a brisk fall morning and taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the new season. But for the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, the joy of autumn is dampened by sneezing, itchy eyes, clogged sinuses and persistent coughing.

Although there are several pollen-producing plants that contribute to fall allergies, ragweed is one of the major triggers. It is a yellow flowering weedy plant that produces substantial amounts of pollen. Ragweed pollen can travel for hundreds of miles on a breezy day, so even if it doesn’t grow where you live you may still be exposed to it.

Pollen can land in a person’s eyes, nose or lungs and cause a reaction. Because your body senses that allergens are invaders, it will do everything it can to flush them from your system. Sneezing and watery discharges from the nose and eyes are some of the methods the body uses to flush away allergens.

If you are susceptible to seasonal allergies it is important that you stay abreast of the pollen count in your area. You can find the outdoor allergen levels in most newspapers and on the weather channel. If the pollen levels are high you should keep your windows closed both at home and in the car to minimize your exposure.

Allergy symptoms are often severe enough to send sufferers running to their doctors or the nearest drug store to find prescription or over-the-counter relief. Drug companies spend millions of dollars a year on advertising to convince us that chemicals are the answer. Unfortunately many of the pharmaceutical solutions to allergies have negative and sometimes dangerous side effects that are worse than the symptoms they are supposed to relieve.

The good news is that there are many natural ways to tame seasonal allergies. Natural supplements that are used to treat symptoms include butterbur, echinacea, grape seed extract, pine park extract, vitamin C, honey, cat’s claw, golden seal and spirulina.

Holistic practitioners often recommend using a natural nasal wash in addition to supplements for maximum protection against the allergens of fall. One of the best ones is Xlear.  This natural, non-addictive formula keeps nasal passages irrigated which reduces the chances of invasion by pollutants and germs.

Don’t let seasonal allergies keep you from enjoying the golden days of autumn. Talk to your holistic practitioner about the drug-free solutions that best suit your needs so you can savor Mother Nature’s beautiful fall foliage and gentle breezes.