Now that it is finally getting warm, allergy season will soon be upon us. Birch, oak and poplar trees are big allergy triggers in Northeast Ohio, and in a recent poll by Cleveland.com, 52% of respondents said it was the “worst season” they could remember. Instead of reaching for the typical decongestants, steroids and antihistamines that are recommended by conventional doctors, there are natural ways to get relief.
Why do people have allergies? Seasonal allergies, although common, are not normal. If your body is well-nourished, not inflamed, and not overly burdened by toxins, then you should not be hyper-responsive to elements in the natural world. In addition to avoiding allergens and treating your acute allergy symptom, be sure to consider long term strategies that will help you be less reactive and over time eliminate your susceptibility to allergic reactions.
How can I avoid exposure to allergens? Information for decreasing your exposure to allergens is readily available. Some simple measures include staying indoors when pollen counts are high, keeping windows closed, using air conditioners and air purifiers, and wearing a mask when you must go outside. Using an eye wash cup and a neti pot are useful to remove the offending particles from the sensitive mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, and sinuses.
How do I decrease my general reactivity? Foods such as dairy and wheat can cause a continual, low level inflammation throughout the body. Genetically modified (GMO) foods, especially corn and soy found commonly in processed products, are a big cause of inflammation these days. These four ingredients can be hidden in ingredients on labels such as “flavoring,” or “spice blend.” Ongoing inflammation from food can make the body more susceptible to stimulation by environmental pollen, grass and trees. Eating a hypoallergenic, whole foods diet – which includes clean protein, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and ocean kelp – can help immensely. Adding anti-inflammatory supplements that contain turmeric and boswellia can remarkably improve your symptoms.
What are supplement options for allergy relief? Here are some non-pharmaceutical options to try:
- Optimize vitamin D level: A suboptimal vitamin D level has been associated with allergic responses in all ages, but particularly in infants. An ideal level, in all age groups is 60-80IU/mL. Your whole body will function better at this level. You can ask your doctor to order a vitamin D level for you, or you can order it directly – at a big saving – by using this link.
- Herbs that work: Whether used singly or in combination, there are herbs that can be very effective at reducing allergy symptoms. Butterbur can help prevent nasal passage swelling. Bromelain can decrease sinus swelling and inflammation. Quercetin can act as a natural antihistamine. Grape seed extract, vitamin C, echinacea and pycnogenol can all give symptom relief. One of my favorite new supplements, AirMaxx, is a tasty chewable that is safe for all ages and often works within 15 minutes to relieve a stuffy nose. Each person is different and what works for one person may not work for another, so some trial and error may be needed when choosing the right herbs.
- Local Honey: Some people have found that eating local honey daily can be helpful for allergies. This may work because local pollens, processed via the bees’ honey producing procedures, are represented in the honey.
- Homeopathy: I recommend several homeopathic, over-the-counter (OTC) combinations for allergies. Allergy Eye Relief, from Similasan, and Seasonal Allergy Relief, from Hyland’s are both very effective. These products are safe and do not have the side effects that can be associated with conventional medications. If OTC homeopathy does not work, consider an appointment with a professional homeopath who can prescribe a constitutional homeopathic remedy selected especially for you.
Is there anything that can remove my sensitivities long term? At our clinic, one of our cornerstone programs is SRT, Sensitivity Reduction Technique. We’re proud to report that patients have come from all over the US and from at least 14 countries to go through this program because it is so successful – and so long lasting. SRT is a non-toxic, hands-on healing technique that can reduce symptoms caused by both food and environmental allergies. Because it is based from principles of acupuncture and uses the body’s energy to heal, it is safe for infants, children and adults. In fact, our youngest patient was only six weeks old when she was successfully treated with SRT to eliminate her GERD. You can request an appointment – or a free consultation to learn more- directly from our website.
Often with holistic treatments, the maximum benefits may not be realized for months after the program has begun. Your persistence in pursuing natural treatment, changing your diet, taking supplements and improving your overall health will prove worth it when you are enjoying the great outdoors in spring, summer and fall…. allergy-free.