It’s Spring! The days are getting longer and the weather is finally starting to warm up. The trees, grasses and flowers are blooming and everyone’s spirits are starting to lift after the long, dark and cold winter. Many people look forward to the change in seasons; however, for seasonal allergy sufferers this time of year is one that is often dreaded due to the persistent running nose, itchy, red eyes and bouts of unrelenting sneezing. For some, spring is filled with color and beauty, but for the allergy sufferer it is filled with clouds of pollen and inevitable weeks of handkerchief using and misery. Does this sound familiar? If so, you are not alone.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies (an immune response to a foreign substance). Allergens can include both food and environmental substances such as pollens and grasses. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever, may be due to different pollens depending upon the season. In the spring, tree pollens are the most common, in the summer grasses and weeds are usually the cause and in winter molds tend to be the prime culprit. However, for some unlucky people, hay fever can persist year round and may be due to pollens or not, causing many sufferers frustration.
If you were to ask around, most people are treating their seasonal allergies with over the counter or prescription anti-histamines such as Zyrtec or Claritin. Unfortunately, these medications do not work for everyone and for those they do help, they only offer symptomatic relief and do not address the root problem. This causes many to seek additional options such as naturopathic approaches to allergies and natural anti-histamines. Here are some at home remedies you could try.
Oregon’s pollen count and pollen levels are some of the highest in the country. To protect yourself, stay indoors when the pollen count in your area escalates using an allergy tracker such as one found on weather.com. While this may be challenging with the improving weather, reducing your exposure will lessen immune burden and exacerbation of allergy symptoms.
Get it off using hydrotherapy such as baths, showers and nasal irrigation.
Pollen is often deposited on the skin and in the nasal passages during outdoor activity. This causes irritation and the faucet-like nose running. Changing your clothing when coming indoors and using water to rinse off the pollen, especially from the face and hair can help lessen chronic exposure. By not washing yourself, you are being subjected to pollen all day and depositing it throughout your home or workplace making symptoms worse for yourself and those around you. Daily nasal irrigation can also help with mucus elimination and pollen evacuation from the nasal passages. Just make sure you add the appropriate amount of saline to prevent nasal irritation.
Eat antioxidant and nutrient rich foods.
Food intolerances can exacerbate issues with seasonal allergens. Eating foods that irritate your gastrointestinal tract increases systemic immune activity making your reaction to environmental allergens worse. By eating an organic diet rich if fresh fruits and vegetables you can get a good level of antioxidants and minerals that help with mast cell stabilization and decrease allergy symptoms. Research has also shown that eating foods rich in quercetin, such as apples and the pith of citrus, can help with boosting immunity and mast cell stabilization. Lastly, getting a food allergy test can help with diet planning decreasing your overall immune burden and symptomatology.
Filter it out.
Keep your home a safe haven by filtering out allergens. Equip your home with a high efficiency particular air filter (HEPA) removing or reducing the amount of circulating allergens in the air. In addition, prevent pets from being in your bedroom or on your furniture, as they will track pollen from the outdoors inside. Frequent vacuuming with a HEPA equipped vacuum will also help with allergen elimination.
Natural supplements and herbal remedies.
There are many naturopathic allergy treatments such as nutraceutical supplements that can help with mast cell stabilization and serve as natural antihistamines. Quercetin is a flavonoid that has been shown in double-blind clinical trials to help with symptom relief. In addition, herbal remedies such as ginger, turmeric and stinging nettles have been used in eastern and western medicine to help with immune modulation and allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Good quality sleep is one the best ways to support the immune system allowing the body to rest and repair itself. Incorporating different supplements including omega fatty acids and probiotics has been shown in research studies to help with immune response and overall inflammation. In addition, making sure vitamin levels (especially Vitamin D) are in the optimal range has been shown to help in allergies and asthma through immunomodulation. Schedule an appointment with one of our providers to get your levels check and to determine if you need vitamin D and what dose is appropriate for you.
Immunotherapy is used by allergists around the globe to build up the body’s immune response against allergens. This can be done through injections or sublingually for those a little afraid of needles. These are common natural allergy relief practices for kids. An at home recommendation includes the daily use of local raw honey, but this should not be done in children under one year of age or in those allergic to bees. These therapies may take weeks or months to become effective. Discuss this option with a provider at Today Health and Wellness to see if this is a good therapy for you.
While seasonal allergies may seem like a part of life, there are many different options available for allergy sufferers. At Today Health and Wellness, our physicians and acupuncturists are skilled in helping individuals find natural seasonal allergy relief and address the root cause. Schedule an appointment with one of our providers to see what options would be best for you to help alleviate, reduce and even perhaps eliminate your seasonal allergy symptoms.