Thu | Aug 16, 2018

Protecting yourself against environmental allergens

Published:Wednesday | May 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMTracey-Ann Brown
Fire fighters from the Jamaica Fire Brigade were kept busy yesterday morning putting out a raging fire at a storage area for discarded tyres, located at Westbrook Avenue, in St Andrew, next to the Riverton City dump.
A bush fire, which has been raging in Western St Thomas for over a week, threathens this house in Gordon Castle, Llandewey St Thomas. The fire, which is believed to be caused by the unwise slash and burn practice, has caused massive devastation in the surrounding areas of Richmond Gap, Orange Tree and Albion Mountain. Thousands of fruit trees such as mangoes and ackees have been destroyed. Several goats have perished in the blaze.

In recent weeks, many of us have been under siege from smoke and a number of environmental pollutants, causing increased nasal and sinus congestion and accompanying:

- Pain, tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead

- Drainage of mucus from the nose or down the back of the throat

- Headaches

- Sneezing

It seems obvious enough, but one of the first things you want to do is to avoid the allergen as much as possible. So it may mean closing your windows and doors and limiting your time outdoors.

Here are a few home remedies worth trying:




- Fill a small basin with four to six cups warm water.

- Add two to three drops eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme or tea tree essential oil/fresh herb.

- Hold your face over the basin, approximately an arm's length away and place a towel over the head and basin to prevent the escape of the aromatic vapors. Be careful not to bring your face too close to the water.

- Close your eyes and inhale deeply for five to ten minutes.

This can be done once a day. CAUTION: eucalyptus steam inhalations should be avoided by persons with: heart conditions, central nervous system disorders and pregnant women. Children and elderly people should exercise caution.




Perform this massage once or twice daily as many as ten times on each occasion.

Making small circles with the fingers while applying gentle pressure, start at the base of the nostrils on both sides, massage up along the side of the nose to the area between the eyebrows. Work your way along the eyebrows toward both sides of the face and further outward to the area just in front of the ear.

Continue massaging towards the point just below the eyes. Repeat.




- Use sea salt or kosher salt, NOT commercial salt with chemicals. Use spring water that is not chlorinated, or boil tap water to destroy the chlorine.

- Half to one teaspoon salt to one cup water, work up to two teaspoons salt per cup of water

- Quarter teaspoon baking soda (bacteria cannot thrive in highly alkaline environments)

- Fill a saline solution spray bottle with your solution. Tilt the head back and sniff several squirts up each nostril, holding the opposite nostril closed. Let the solution run down the throat and spit it out. Repeat three to five times on each side. Be careful not to force the solution into the sinuses with too much pressure.

- You may feel a sharp sensation for a few seconds, this will subside as the tissue heals over the course of the therapy. Old phlegm build-up will begin to work loose and be discharged along with some blood initially in some cases.




- In traditional Chinese medicine, a number of herbs are used to clear nasal or sinus congestion. One of which is an easy home remedy - orange peel tea. The tea from the skin of a medium-size, slightly green orange taken twice daily over two days will help to dry up mucus.

- Last, but not least, strengthen the immune system by exercising and getting enough sleep.

* Dr Tracey-Ann Brown is an oriental medicine practitioner, herbalist and doctor of acupuncture; email: