I’ve noticed that a lot of my readers mentioned in their comments that they had experienced blocked ears as an allergy symptom. Such a manifestation is quite common, and did you know it can be alleviated naturally at home? In this article, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about clogged ears from allergies and offer a couple of simple solutions that will bring you relief.
The starting point: allergy for dummies
As you may know, your body’s main way of dealing with external threats is the immune system: a network of special cells named leukocytes. Their main function is detecting and neutralizing foreign agents so that they don’t harm your health, and in the vast majority of cases, that’s done flawlessly (that’s why we didn’t die after the first common cold in our lives).
But if you are unlucky, something might “click” in the immune system, causing it to believe that something as innocent as a certain plant’s pollen is, in reality, a life-threatening catastrophe, a manifestation of impending doom that has to be annihilated without any delay. The immune system starts firing its cannons in a rather chaotic way, just to be sure that the threat is destroyed.
The irony here is that the plant’s pollen is absolutely harmless and neutral, but your immune system’s “cannons” (such substances like histamine, heparin, and chemokines) are not. Not by a long shot, especially when fired with the frequency and vigor that are the essential part of any allergy.
What do the “cannons” of your immune system do in your body and how can they cause blocked ears?
The specific manifestations of any allergy depend on which part of your body has made contact with the allergen (that plant pollen or any other substance that your immune system hates so bad), but these are the general effects of the abovementioned “cannons”:
Histamine: causes itching, vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) and fall of blood pressure, swelling, redness, hypersecretion in mucous membranes.
Heparin: prevents clot formation, increases the fluidity of blood, thus allowing more immune cells reach the site of allergy.
Chemokines: serve as a signal for immune cells, leading them to the place of contact with the antigen.
Now picture this. Let’s imagine you are allergic to a specific plant. When the said plant starts flowering, its pollen may be carried by a rush of wind and spread through the air. If you inhale it, the pollen will settle on the mucous membrane of your nasal cavity and be immediately detected by your immune cells, which will respond to it by releasing heparin, histamine, and chemokines.
Histamine will cause local swelling (nasal congestion), hypersecretion (a runny nose), itching and sneezing, while heparin and chemokines will bring more immune cells to the nasal mucous membrane. The latter will release another dose of histamine, and the cycle will go on and on until the pollen is destroyed, washed out by your nasal discharge, or blown away through sneezing.
The main problem here is that the zone of swelling and hyper-secretion can spread from your nasal cavity to your throat, reaching the Eustachian tubes and clogging them.
Now that you know what allergies are and how do they work, let’s move on to how you can naturally fight them and unblock your ears!
Easy ways to relieve clogged ears from allergies
Step 1: Get rid of the allergen
If you suspect that your ears were blocked due to an allergy spreading from your nose (such are most cases of hay fever and any other “inhalation route” allergy), the first step would be to clear your nasal cavity from the allergen, thus breaking the vicious cycle of histamine release. This way the swelling will subside, and your ears will be unblocked naturally.
Rinse your nose with saline solution
This easy remedy is absolutely natural and has two main effects: the salt decreases local swelling, while the water washes out any present discharge along with the allergens stuck in the mucous membrane.
Mix a tablespoon of kitchen salt in 1-2 cups of warm water (distilled or tap, previously boiled).
With the help of a nasal bulb or plastic syringe (needleless!), carefully inject a portion of saline solution into one of your nostrils.
Let the liquid flow out of your nose and/or mouth, do not swallow it.
Repeat the process with the other nostril.
Repeat all steps above until nasal congestion subsides.
Inhale steam to further clear nasal passageways
After the congestion subsides, you can resort to steam inhalations for some extra cleansing of your nasal passageways and cavity. To do so, just pour a generous amount of boiling water into a big bowl, lean over it inhale the steam. For further effectiveness, you can cover your head with a towel, creating an improvised sauna at home! (The usual one is also great). Alternate breathing through the nose and mouth to clear your throat as well.
Bonus tip: Add 3-5 drops of lavender oil into the bowl for extra anti-inflammatory effect.
Gargle to clean your throat of possible allergens
As you know, the nasal cavity and throat are connected, so cleaning your nose from allergens might not be enough. Luckily, the solution is fairly simple: just prepare a glass of saline following the instructions from the first point of this list and use it to gargle 1-3 times a day.
Step 2: Make use of some natural antihistamines!
Antihistamines are substances that block the effects that histamine imposes on your body. Prescription medications of this group have significant side effects and usually lose part of their effectiveness over time, so I recommend sticking to the following options instead:
Onions, broccoli, apples, berries, and grapes are rich in quercetin, a scientifically confirmed natural antihistamine.
Turmeric has powerful antioxidant and anti-allergic properties.
Vitamin C. By the way, the foods that have the highest amount of ascorbic acid are bell peppers, guavas, dark leafy vegetables, kiwi, broccoli, and strawberries. Yep, all of these foods have more vitamin C than any orange or lemon, contrary to the common thought.
The bottom line
The two main steps in treating clogged ears from allergies are:
Cleaning your nasal passageways, nasal cavity, and throat from the allergen that caused the condition in the first place.
Eating a lot of natural antihistamines including turmeric, foods rich in quercetin and vitamin C.
All in all, remember that keeping away from the allergen is essential. No amount of remedies, natural or not, will be able to cure your allergy and unblock clogged ears from the process if you continue to make contact with the initial cause. However, if you do, just make sure to clean your mucous membranes from it as soon as possible in one of the abovementioned ways.
Additionally, you can try using a simple device like Eustachi, the Eustachian tube exerciser, to gently blow a small amount of air into your nose and instantly unblock your ears even during allergies.
I hope this article was helpful and interesting to you. If so, share the word with your family and friends!