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Steam: The Secret Cure For Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

There’s a hot way to fight symptoms of spring allergies. It just might be a load of hot air — literally… and that’s a very good thing. Steam therapy, administered via an in-home steam shower, could be the cure for sniffling, runny noses, burning eyes, and all those other effects of seasonal allergies.

Spring Means Spring Allergies

There’s a certain order and balance to the natural world. The seasons change every few months, and out goes the cold and harshness of winter to give way to the beauty and softness of spring. Only a few weeks earlier, everything was frozen and covered in frost, only to suddenly bloom all at once, those green grasses and colorful flowers complementing a clear blue sky. But then the balance of Mother Nature strikes again. Along with the alluring colors of spring comes the offensive yellow of pollen that hangs in the air, sticks to every surface, and gets into the respiratory system of millions of sufferers of hay fever, or spring allergies. Among the most common sources of the pollens that trigger spring allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: oak, birch, ash, walnut, hickory, elm, and poplar trees

With that spring fever comes the annoyance, irritation, and pain of allergy symptoms like a scratchy throat, itchy eyes, a runny nose, waves of fatigue, and repetitive sneezing. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 19.2 million American adults and 5.2 million children have endured seasonal allergy symptoms in the past year.

Why Traditional Spring Allergy Treatments Aren’t Ideal

Every year, it’s the same obnoxious cycle for those with moderate to severe spring allergy symptoms: They’ll go through a case of tissues to wipe up everything leaking out of the nose, and they’ll try to stop allergy symptoms before they start (or cut them off after they emerge) with some kind of over-the-counter medicine or prescription medication. Sure, allergy medicines work, but only to a degree and only for so long. There’s something unattractive about having to take a pill every six, 12, or 24 hours, especially an antihistamine that will make you either super-alert and unable to sleep or one that will put you to sleep — which is already a symptom of seasonal allergies. It feels pointless.

Medications treat the symptoms of spring allergies because that’s what they’re designed to do. What allergy sufferers really need is a way to not endure those symptoms at all, to somehow wash all that pollen out of their noses, throats, and mouths so the body can’t even react to it. But how can you remove hundreds of thousands of microscopic particles from inside the body? You use good, old fashioned plain water of course — in its gas form, otherwise known as steam.

What is a Steam Shower and How Does it Work?

You could apply steam therapy the way you used to, when you were congested and your parents would have you drape a towel over your head and inhale fumes from a pan of boiling water; you could also set up an electric humidifier to emit steam. But these are imperfect methods — a lot of steam escapes and doesn’t get to where it needs to be. A steam shower, on the other hand, emits a constant stream of hot, nose-soothing, mucus-melting, pollen-eliminating steam, all in the environment of a luxurious set-up that feels like one you’d find in a hotel suite or exclusive spa, or offered as part of the package of a high-end athletic club. But it’s all at home, private, and installed in your pre-existing shower or bath stall.

How Does a Steam Shower Help with Allergies?

According to a study by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, breathing in warm or hot steam can relieve cold-like symptoms and the effects of spring allergies by soothing affected areas, smoothing out and calming down inflamed membranes that line the inside of the nose, for example. The effects of hot steam on spring allergies gets to the root of the problem. All other symptoms stem from inflammation, coming from the body trying to fight off allergens. Once that inflammation is no longer inflamed, symptoms subside, and energy levels and quality of mood can increase, too. Even better than public steam showers: one in the home is available for use as often as one would like or sees fit.

We’re not doctors, or allergy specialists in particular, but a steam shower might be the most natural, comfortable, and luxurious way to relieve the nasty, persistent symptoms of spring allergies. Unlike medications and other temporary options that alleviate runny nose and congestion for a while, steam treatments from a home-installed steam shower address the inflammatory causes of those annoying symptoms. If your spring allergies are particularly awful this year, or year after year, a steam-only head in your shower just might be worth it.


Published March 23, 2022.