Around 50 million Americans suffer from allergies of all kinds and they range from mild to severe with some even causing life-threatening situations. Fortunately, among the plethora of other uses, there are essential oils for allergic reactions and they do a pretty impressive job. Before we get to that, let’s first drill in to what allergic reactions are all about.
When most people hear of allergies, they think of food. However, an allergy is a reaction that your immune system has when it’s exposed to a foreign substance. When you come into contact with harmful substances, your immune system reacts by producing antibodies. An allergic reaction, on the other hand, is when your immune system produces antibodies when it comes into contact with harmless substances. The reaction causes inflammation of the skin, airways, nasal passages, sinuses, or even the digestive system.
What Are Common Allergic Reactions?
Some of the most common allergic reactions include:
This is a common allergic reaction that affects about 10.8% of adults in the US. Here, your immune system reacts to foods that you have eaten. It does this by producing antibodies that fight against the allergens in food protein.
The symptoms that indicate a food allergy include swelling of the mouth, lips, face, and throat, nasal congestion, hives, and itching. In very severe cases, anaphylaxis occurs where the body’s blood pressure drastically drops, heart rate reduces, and breathing becomes labored. This reaction is fatal and so must quickly be quelled with an epinephrine injection.
Commonly known as hay fever, itAllergic Rhinitis is an allergic reaction where a person experiences nasal congestion, a runny nose, and sneezing. The symptoms may often be confused with the flu but they are triggered by specific allergens. Allergens that trigger this reaction include pollen, cats, dogs, house dust mites, and mold.
Hay fever can be very disruptive to your daily activities such as school or work. It may also interfere with your sleep and this impairs your productivity. If not treated well, it may also cause problems in your bronchial tube, throat, sinus, and middle ear.
The two major types of skin allergies are eczema and ulticaria.
Eczema is a skin allergy that exhibits symptoms such as dry, red, irritated, and itchy skin. In case of an infection, you will observe bumps on the skin that are filled with a yellow or clear liquid.
Ulticaria is also known as hives and it is characterized by a bumpy, red, and itchy rash on the skin. It can appear almost anywhere on the body and it varies in size and shape. In some instances, the swellings may develop on the eyelids, lips, hand, and tongue. It only lasts about 24 hours and goes away.
Allergic asthma is a condition that causes the inflammation of the airways of the lungs and results in difficulties in breathing. It is usually triggered by allergens in the environment such as pet dander, pollen, tobacco smoke, strong odors, dust mites, and air pollution.
When to See a Doctor
If after using essential oils you do not receive any relief, you should seek a doctor right away. You should also see a doctor if you react to the treatment you’re using.
Don’t hesitate to go to a doctor if you’re having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) yet you don’t have an epinephrine injection. This condition could easily lead to death so you can’t take any chances.
Which Essential Oils are Best For Allergic Reactions?
There is no cure for allergic reactions so treatment options only seek to reduce their symptoms. One of the most commonly used methods is the use of essential oils. They offer a natural solution that will save you from the harmful effects of the chemicals in antihistamine drugs.
Some of the best essential oils that you can consider using include:
Lavender is very good for skin allergies due its anti-inflammatory and soothing effects. It reduces swelling, soothes irritation, and it also speeds up healing. It also prevents inflammation of mucous cells which leads to nasal congestion.
You can apply lavender directly to your skin, put it in your bathwater, lotions, or any other skin product.
Frankincense is especially helpful in reducing inflammation in the airways and also reducing sinus infections. This means that it can be used as a treatment for asthma allergy and allergy rhinitis.
Frankincense can be mixed with other essential oils like sandalwood and ravensara oil. The mixture can then be added to a carrier oil like almond oil and applied directly on the skin or diffused into the air.
It reduces inflammation in the airways because it has a relaxing effect on the smooth muscles that line them. It opens up airways and helps you breathe easier. Ingesting peppermint helps in treating food allergies because it detoxifies the body.
For even better relief, peppermint can be mixed with lavender, lemon oil, and a carrier oil then applied directly to your skin. It can also be diffused into the air so that you inhale it.
It has very good anti-inflammatory effects and it helps in decongesting your breathing pathways. It is also used in the treatment of infections in the respiratory tract and reducing coughs, hoarseness, and sore throats.
You can use eucalyptus by breathing it from its bottle or diffusing it into the air and it brings quick relief. However, it triggers allergic reactions in some people so take care.
Tea Tree Oil
It is re-known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antiviral effects so it’s very good at relieving skin allergies.
Apply it directly on your skin and it will significantly reduce swellings brought by skin allergies. However, tea tree oil is very powerful and may react with your skin so do a skin patch test before you start using it. You can test it by mixing it in a carrier oil and applying it on a small section of your skin like the forearm and waiting for 24 hours to see if there’s any reaction.
It helps in reducing congestion in your breathing system and also clears sinuses. Therefore, it is used in the treatment of allergy rhinitis, asthma, and seasonal allergies.
Lemon oil can be applied directly to the skin or diffused in the air. Avoid going out in the sun after you apply lemon oil because it makes your skin sensitive and it can easily burn.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is used in treating skin allergies, allergy rhinitis, and sinusitis. When mixed with carrier oil, it can be applied directly to eczema to reduce itching and swelling.
How to Use Essential Oils for Allergic Reactions
Once essential oils have been extracted from plants, they can be used in the following ways:
This involves releasing essential oils into the air through a diffuser or oil burner. You simply add a few drops of oils in a plug-in diffuser or oil burner and it will fill the atmosphere in the room.
For allergies that cause rashes, hives, and itching, applying oil on your skin will help in relieving the symptoms. It is advised that you dilute them in a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil before applying because they are usually too concentrated.
Essential oils can be breathed directly from their containers or by putting a few drops on your handkerchief. To reduce congestion, you can add a few drops in hot water and inhaling the vapors.
Spraying essential oils is done on allergens that trigger reactions such as molds and dust mites. Take 20 drops of essential oil and a tablespoon of vinegar and add them to one cup of water. You can then spray the mixture on areas prone to mold and dust mites such as clothes and mattresses.
When purchasing these essential oils for allergic reactions online or from local stores make sure they are 100% pure (not diluted with any other oils) and are from respected manufacturers (like the ones mentioned above). Be sure to consult your doctor before using any of them for treatment.