It is that time of year again! Just as the winter flu season begins to wane, allergies pick up and for many people, their sinuses still face assault beyond their control. Whether it’s pollen from flowering buds, tree sap, the abundance of feathered animals that come back to raise chickadees for the summer, air quality, pressure or humidity changes, a large % of us suffer from some kind of non pathogenic sniffle, itchy eyes or post nasal drip.
Existing conditions such as asthma can also be exacerbated when spring begins to bloom. Avoiding environmental Allergens is much easier said that done. During the most beautiful time of the year (at least in Canada), you do not want to place yourself under house arrest just to manage your allergies.
First and foremost, you want to ensure that your immune system is stable and strong, not over reacting or falling prey to spring colds and flu. There are many natural things you can take in order to mange your allergies, but the first step is prevention. Finding your food sensitivities is a great place to start. You want to ease up on your body by avoiding food and environmental allergen exposures that are within your control so you have less to react to and more tolerance for the incoming airborne allergens. The less assault to your immune system, the less likely it is to over-react.
If you have bad seasonal allergies, it is not unlikely that you’ve already seen an allergist for a pin prick test. What you may want to consider is a blood food sensitivity panel. In general, there are some heavy hitters we recommend avoiding to kick start your wellbeing. Limit or try to eliminate dairy and sugar all together. Both of these acidify the body, strain the immune system and are the perfect breeding ground for pathogens. They are also pro-inflammatory food and contribute to body wide inflammation, which also strains the immune system. Sugar also competes for vitamins C absorption, which is a natural anti-histamine, and dairy causes the build up of excess mucous. Wheat and glutinous grains can aggravate the digestive system and increase your blood sugar, contributing to inflammation. If you are already sensitive to grains, eating them will also aggravate your immune system.
Other things you can do to limit exposure and clear your system include:
- Clean up your air quality: Try a HEPA- filter air purifier. Keep your house clean. Have guests and residents remove their shoes. Don’t allow outdoor clothing in your bed. Change your pillow cases 1-2x weekly. If you have pets who sleep in the bed you may have to bathe them before entering the bed or ban them from the bed during allergy season.
- Neti Pot: Irrigate your sinuses regularly with a solution of warm salt water twice a week. Every so often use this recipe when you start to feel like it’s maybe more than allergies. 12 oz purified warm water, dropper of iodine, 1 tsp salt, 1 drop tea tree oil, 8 drops vitamin A.
- Steam inhalation: Will help relax your lungs and drain your sinuses. Fill a bowl with boiled water and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil, and 1-2 drops of peppermint oil. Cover your head with a towel, place head over your concoction and inhale the rising steam for 5-10 minutes. Citrus oils such as bitter orange, grapefruit and myrtle are also great alternatives. You can also hang a bundle of fresh eucalyptus in your shower (scratch the leaves a bit) to get that extra boost every morning while bathing.
Nutritionally, there are a few things your health care provider can prescribe for you including but not limited to:
- Quercitin: A powerful natural anti-histamine that stabilizes mast (histamine- releasing) cells, and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory in the body.
- Vitamin C: A natural anti-histamine and immune booster. Usually taken multiple time a day to bowel tolerance and then back off by 500-1000mg.
- Stinging Nettle Tea or capsules – to aid with allergic rhinitis. Nettles are nutritive, anti-inflammatory and aid in cleansing the liver.
- N-Acetyl Cysteine is a compound that breaks up mucous and helps decrease post nasal drip.
- Numerous homeopathic medications can be used for allergies, but it’s different for each individual.
If you are still suffering, see your health care provider to discuss your options for non-drowsy and natural allergy management this year to get on top of your symptoms.