The first place to start is always prevention. This involves boosting your immune system to help prevent the effects of an allergic reaction. The hard part of the immune system is that it is often being “attacked” by many different agents and it can be difficult to ascertain a starting point. For example, most people think of big moments such as anaphylaxis due to eating a peanut as an allergic reaction but we are bombarded by small stressors on a daily basis that often allow an environmental allergen, such as pollen to be the “tipping point” causing misery and reactions. Here are some common areas of prevention that can help:
Adjustments help allow the nervous system to coordinate every aspect of the immune system and organ function, such as the lungs, liver, etc.
Take care of your house, especially the bedroom.
The bedroom is big area that causes problems. Run a dehumidifier or air purifier in your bedroom and clean it frequently. Use non-allergenic pillows and have your bedding cleaned to kill dust mites. Avoid having pets in the bedroom but if you can’t, vacuum regularly. Change the heating duct filters regularly.
Avoid Food Sensitivities.
This one can be a bit harder to identify and is a subject that people are not as familiar with. Food allergies can be dramatic, such as the peanut example, however, much of the population has food sensitivities which means that they are consuming foods that are inflammatory in nature or just don’t work well with their body. The affects can be runny nose, congestion, adrenal fatigue/loss of energy, etc over time and many people are unaware that this symptoms are occurring as a result of their food choices. Many illnesses, especially in kids, are related to food sensitivity issues. In adults it can manifest in the form of Chrohn’s disease. lupus, RA, adrenal fatigue, etc to name a few. Think of a food sensitivity like adding water to your car’s gas tank. In small amounts, your car may run but if you do it long enough your car eventually wont’ function the way you want it to. The five most common offenders are gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, and soy which is why there is so much hype surrounding “gluten-free products”. (The reason these have become such big offenders is an article to look forward to from me from the future) A common way to determine food sensitivities is blood work, but keeping a food diary can help you track your symptoms in relationship to your food intake. Elimination or reduction of foods can help. Remember these are generalities and it can be helpful to find a doctor with experience in these issues such as a chiropractor, naturopath, acupuncturist and some medical doctors.
Avoiding or decreasing your sugar intake during flare-ups can also be beneficial as it wreaks havoc on the immune system.
Decrease your stress.
This is just good advice in general but stress slowly nicks away at the immune system and release cortisol, which is a hormone that is highly inflammatory in nature.
Here are some tips to help counteract the affect of allergens to help ease the symptoms.
Eat foods that are anti-inflammatory:
Many asian foods are naturally anti-inflammatory and include tumeric, ginger, curry powder (which is made of both) cinnamon, garlic, onions, grape seeds, vitamin C, stinging nettles, horseradish, and echinacea to name a few. Drinking 1-2 cups of chamomile tea or eating a tablespoon of local honey can also help (especially if done in the weeks prior to help boost the immune system prior to “allergy season”.) (If you are allergic to ragweed, start with only a few teaspoons of chamomile.)
These typically involve the use of a Neti-pot or Naso-lean which are the two most common brands. They are irrigation systems that rinse the nasal passage with warm salt water. Please note that this is not the same as inhaler or products such as Nasonex that are sprayed into the passage. First they do not “flush” the passages and usually just moisten the passages for temporary relief. Secondly, all medications have a chemical component that is often irritating something else or causing a side effect.
This is best left to professionals who practice this type of care such as chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists, some massage therapists, etc. Health food stores often carry many natural remedies that are beneficial and a common remedy is the use of essential oils, such as lavender.
Good luck and happy breathing as you enjoy the beautiful spring weather!