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August 12, 2019

As the seasons change, many of us experience seasonal allergies. The discomfort of an itchy nose, watering eyes and scratchy throat can leave you feeling drained and irritated. Skin allergies are also common, with many of us experiencing allergic reactions from a range of things including plants, skin care products and more. While it seems like an easy solution to head straight for the pharmacy, you may find relief from your allergies in your essential oils collection.


An allergy occurs when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, also known as an allergen. According to WebMD, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, making it the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the USA.


There are many types of allergies, from seasonal allergies such as hay fever, skin allergies, food allergies, pet allergies and more. Symptoms vary depending on the individual, and in some cases can be fatal. This means that when a suspected allergic reaction occurs, it’s important to monitor your symptoms closely and seek medical attention if required.



Seasonal allergies

A seasonal allergy, commonly known as ‘hay fever’, occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to an outdoor allergen, for example when certain plants pollinate. Symptoms tend to worsen during spring, summer and fall when these plants produce pollen. Symptoms include but are not limited to sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy eyes and an itchy throat. Many people who suffer from hay fever also suffer from asthma and the outdoor allergens can trigger an asthma attack.



Skin allergies

Contact dermatitis is one of the most common skin allergies, and occurs when your skin comes into contact with an allergen. For example, reactions to skin care products, soaps, plants such as poison ivy, laundry detergents and more. Symptoms typically include a rash and itching, but more severe cases may result in blistering and a burning sensation. As with all allergies, the severity of the reaction can vary, so it’s important to monitor your symptoms closely and seek medical attention if required.



Treatment

Avoidance

The best treatment for any type of allergic reaction is avoidance. For example, if you experience hay fever, you might like to check the pollen count before you leave the house. This can be done using a pollen checker app or your local weather website. If the pollen count is high, consider limiting your time outdoors.


For skin allergies, where possible avoid coming into contact with the products that cause an allergic reaction. If you’re having a reaction to particular skin care products, stop using it as soon as you notice a reaction. One solution is to try a product developed specifically for sensitive skin. If it’s a plant you have a reaction to, try to avoid coming into contact with it.



Over-the-counter medications

When you’re experiencing the symptoms of an allergic reaction, there are some over-the-counter treatments available that may help you. In particular, you might choose to try a decongestant, antihistamine or cortisone cream to reduce your symptoms. Make sure you speak with a trained medical professional, and follow the instructions provided.



Natural solutions

If your symptoms are only mild, there are a range of natural home remedies to help relieve your allergies. As difficult as it may be, try to avoid scratching a rash, as this can cause further irritation and lead to infection. You may find a cool compress to be soothing and eases itching, or even try soaking in a cool bath.


Another natural remedy for allergies is essential oils. Essential oils contain many healing properties, making them a versatile, natural, affordable solution that can be used to treat seasonal allergies and skin allergies. We’ve picked our top essential oils for relieving the symptoms of your allergy below, including the benefits and how to use each oil to gain the maximum benefits.



Recommended essential oils for allergies

1. Lavender

We consider lavender essential oil your very own medicine cabinet in a bottle! It has a wide range of healing properties that work to sooth the mind and body. According to a 2014 study, lavender essential oil prevents allergic inflammation and the enlargement of mucous cells.


Lavender is great for respiratory issues, and can help to clear the airways and prevent hay fever symptoms or even ease asthma symptoms. It also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which means it can help to reduce skin irritation, heal wounds and prevent infection.


To use lavender essential oil to reduce hay fever symptoms, we recommend adding 6-8 drops of essential oil to your diffuser and allowing the scent to fill the room. To apply topically, mix a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil before applying to the skin. This will help relieve rashes, or apply to the chest to help with hay fever.


Warning: We highly recommend conducting a patch test before applying to the skin, as lavender essential oil has been known to cause contact dermatitis in some cases.


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2. Tea tree

Tea tree oil is a must have for your essential oil collection. A well known natural antiseptic, tea tree essential oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory. This makes it the perfect solution for treating a rash caused by a skin allergy.


To use, combine 1 drop of essential oil with 0.17fl.oz carrier oil and apply to the affected area. You may also wish to diffuse this essential oil, simply add a few drops to your essential oil diffuser to cleanse the room.


Warning: Due to its high potency, tea tree oil can irritate the skin in some cases, so we highly recommend conducting a patch test before applying.


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3. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus essential oil is well known for its positive effects on the respiratory system. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties help to relieve hay fever by reducing sinus congestion. It can also provide relief from itching and aid wound healing for skin rashes.


There are a number of ways to reap the benefits of eucalyptus oil. If you’re experiencing respiratory discomfort, we recommend trying steam inhalation. Simply add 2 drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale - be careful to avoid burns or scalding from hot water. You can also add a few drops to your diffuser to fill your room with the beautiful scent of eucalyptus, take a few deep breaths and enjoy.


For skin rashes, we recommend using a compress. Try adding 2 drops of essential oil to a bowl of room temperature water, soaking and wring out a washcloth and apply to the affected area.


Warning: We recommend conducting a patch test before applying to the skin to avoid further irritation.


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4. Lemon

Lemon essential oil is known for its cleansing and antiseptic properties. Its light, refreshing scent is great for diffusing when you need an energy boost. Lemon oil can also promote lymphatic drainage. This is beneficial when suffering with allergies, as the lymph fluids help to remove waste from the body tissues and fight against infection, perfect for decongesting sinuses.


To use lemon essential oil, we recommend adding 6-8 drops of essential oil to your diffuser and allowing the refreshing fragrance to fill the room. You could also create your own room spray, by adding a few drops of lemon essential oil to a spray bottle with water (distilled preferred).


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5. Peppermint

Peppermint is another essential oil that has many healing properties. Invigorating and stimulating, peppermint essential oil is great for picking you up during times of fatigue. For hay fever and seasonal allergies, peppermint oil is known to reduce inflammation. This means it can relieve sinus and chest congestion while also easing muscle pain and headaches that can arise from excessive coughing. For skin allergies, peppermint oil has a cooling effect which can provide relief from the itching and stinging caused by hives.


Diffusing your peppermint essential oil may help you to breathe easier when suffering from hay fever, and should clear your sinuses fairly quickly. When using peppermint essential oil for hives, do not apply directly to the skin. Peppermint oil has a high potency, so it’s essential you first mix with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. You will only need 6 drops of essential oil to 0.4fl.oz of carrier oil.


Warning: We recommend conducting a patch test before applying to the skin to avoid further irritation.


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Essential oil blends

You may also find there are essential oil blends that help relieve the symptoms of allergies. Our pick? The Sinus Clear Essential Oil Blend. The refreshing combination of lemongrass, lime, grapefruit and peppermint help to relieve the congestion that often accompanies seasonal allergies such as hayfever. If your looking for a solution you can take with you wherever you go, check out our Sinus Clear Rollerball.


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Safely using essential oils

When using essential oils, please follow the instructions provided to ensure you do not further damage your skin. Many oils contain a high potency, and cannot be used directly on the skin. When using essential oils topically, please ensure you first do a patch test to ensure you do not experience an allergic reaction.


Some allergic reactions can be fatal, so please ensure you are monitoring your symptoms closely. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention as soon as possible.



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