Note from the editor: Welcome to the debut of Ask Annie. Each month, Annie Willow will answer your questions about holistic health. Always consult your health care professional before using natural remedies to avoid any potential issues with your existing medical treatments.

Q: I love being outdoors in the cooler weather but it flares up my allergies, making my eyes itchy and watery, my nose runs and I sneeze constantly. What are some natural ways to combat fall allergies?

A: Seasonal allergies are caused by pollen and mold spores that are released into the air. Our body’s immune system releases histamines to combat the airborne allergens and the irritating symptoms begin. Allergies affect more than 40 million Americans annually who spend more than $1 billion a year on conventional relief from the pharmacy. Try these natural remedies and you’ll be back to enjoying Mother Nature soon.

• Local honey: Honey is made from bees that feed on the nectar of flowers. Eating just a spoonful a day of local honey can build up immunity by gradual exposure to trace amounts of allergens without the unpleasant side effects of allergy shots. Add the juice of a lemon and a spoonful of local honey to a glass of water to help flush the body of toxins while increasing your defense against allergens.

• Neti pot: The use of a neti pot is an ancient Ayurvedic technique practiced in India that uses natural saline (salt water) to help flush allergens and remove mucus from the nasal and sinus passages. Neti pots are painless and easy to use. Many claim a reduction of allergy symptoms and sinus infections.

• Essential oils: Hang some fresh eucalyptus in your shower. The steam will release the natural oils to open stuffy noses and blocked sinuses. Make a lavender/rosemary blend and massage a drop on your chest, throat, around ears, under nose and over your sinuses for relief on the go. Recipe blend — 10 drops lavender, 8 drops rosemary, 1 ounce grape seed oil.

Q: It always seems like a toothache occurs on a weekend. What home remedies are there to ease the pain until I can see my dentist?

A: Dental pain can be agonizing and prevent you from eating, working and sleeping properly. These simple solutions can provide soothing relief quickly.

• Clove oil: Place cotton balls soaked with clove oil (or a whole clove) in the sore area of your mouth and gently bite down. It will numb the pain and also has anti-bacterial properties.

• Ice: Press an ice pack to the cheek closest to your toothache to help reduce the soreness. This will keep the swelling down and help reduce the inflammation.

• Salt water: Rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to cleanse and draw fluid from swollen gums.

Annie Willow owns Happy Pretty You! Reiki Salon & Spa (HappyPrettyYou.com) and enjoys the natural wonders of life as an islander with Serenity Now, her Chihuahua-Italian Greyhound. Ask Annie your questions for holistic hints for a healthier lifestyle at HappyPrettyYou@yahoo.com or 409-765-5502.

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