Summer has arrived, but with the warmer weather also comes spring blossoms and higher pollen counts. For many of us, this is a beautiful time of year and we welcome it after the long winter months, but for allergy-sufferers, spring can mean congestion, hives, itchy eyes and sneezing.
There are many allergy treatments on the market, and the conventional medications are typically aimed at symptom control rather than treating the cause of allergies. Some antihistamines can make you drowsy or jittery, and many allergy medications lead to rebound symptoms when you stop taking them.
Want to know how to treat and prevent your allergies naturally without unpleasant side effects? Read about some of your options below.
Seasonal Allergy Treatment:
- Quercetin: It is a bioflavanoid found in foods such as onions and apples. Supplementing with quercetin during allergy season helps reduce the production of histamine by stabilizing the mast cells. Lowering histamine levels reduces the severity of allergy symptoms such as hives, red eyes, itchy nose, allergic asthma, and sneezing.
- Vitamin C: Works well with quercetin by helping to further reduce the release of histamine.
- Probiotics: Beneficial bacteria that support the health of your immune system. Restoring good bacterial balance in your body keeps your immune system in balance and less likely to react to allergens.
- Vitamin D3: is essential for immune health. Studies have shown a connection between both environmental and food allergies and Vitamin D deficiency, especially among children.
- NAC: (N-acetyl-cysteine) breaks up mucus in cases of chronic congestion, sinusitis, chronic bronchitis and asthma. NAC is used as a safe and effective decongestant in allergy sufferers.
- Citricidal Nasal Spray: is a mixture of grapefruit seed extract and saline. Grapefruit seed extract is a potent antifungal that kills yeast and mold. Saline flushes out the nasal passages and sinuses. This nasal spray is most effective for those with mold allergies, exposure to mold in the household or environment (raking leaves, gardening), and those with chronic fungal/yeast sinusitis.
- Local Honey: Eating honey made from local bees in the months leading up to allergy season often helps prepare the immune system.
- Ribeas Nigrum: It is a gemmo by Seroyal that contains black current bud extract. It has been effective in my practice at reducing allergy symptoms.
–For safe dosing instructions for adults and children, and for choosing the right treatment program for you, please consult with your ND before starting any supplements.
Seasonal Allergy Prevention:
Allergy prevention is best started in the months leading up to allergy season to prepare the immune system for Spring. I have found repeatedly in my practice that it is possible to eliminate seasonal allergies by employing some basic naturopathic principles:
- Drainage: A term NDs often used to describe the restoration of normal physiology through detoxification. The implications of drainage for health and healing are enormous. The body’s ability to properly eliminate plays a large part in determining the status of health. In other words, health is restored when the body is able to rid itself of toxins that naturally accumulate in the cells. When the body is detoxified, then the immune system can relax and not become overly stimulated by pollens. There are specific remedies that are used for drainage. They are customized for each individual depending upon which organs seem to carry most of the toxic load and what type of allergy symptoms the individual exhibits.
- Identify food allergens: For many people reducing potential allergens in their diet decreses their reactivity to seasonal allergies. The theory behind this is the “bucket effect”. The amount of space in the bucket represents the amount of insults that can be placed upon the body without getting a reaction. However, once that bucket becomes full, any little insult against body or stress on the immune system produces intense symptoms. By emptying the bucket (eliminating common food allergens ie. wheat, dairy, eggs) it is possible to decrease the reactivity of the immune system. We offer a comprehensive blood test that definitively determines which foods the immune system is reactive too. Being aware of these foods makes it possible to decrease stress upon the system- especially during allergy season.
- Healing the gut: This goes along with the elimination of food allergens. Did you know that 70% of the immune system is “located” in the gut. The gastrointestinal tract functions as a barrier against antigens from microorganisms and food. Data shows that probiotics can be used as innovative tools to alleviate intestinal inflammation, normalize gut mucosal dysfunction, and down-regulate hypersensitivity reactions. Depending upon the individual additional supplements such as omega 3s and glutamine may be used to aid in healing.
- Support the adrenals: The adrenal glands play a very important role in the body through the production of stress hormones. Treating the adrenals can increase the production of Noradrenaline, which can help to dampen the allergic response.
- Allergy proof your home: although avoiding all allergens is nearly impossible, you can take several easy steps to keep allergens in your home to a minimum.
- Remove carpet from your home if possible or use a HEPA filter vacuum
- Use a HEPA filter in your bedroom to filter allergens out of the air
- Keep windows closed when pollen counts are high (especially hot, dry, or windy days)
- Change your pillow every 2 years minimum
- Check your house for areas of water damage and mold (shower/tub, window sills, walls, ceiling, under carpets)
- Choose a bright living space above ground level