Some of us react to environmental allergens practically year ‘round. Some of us only react during certain seasons … if only I were in that category! One thing is for sure – in many parts of the country and around the globe, allergy season is in full bloom. In fact, this year the allergen counts are higher than ever, and I decided to take more definitive action against mine. For more information on allergy suffering, please go here.
Some known allergy symptoms which should be familiar to you are congestion, post-nasal drip, mucus, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, etc. These can even impact your ability to focus and make decisions. You might also experience mood swings, be irritable, not sleep well, etc. You likely know the drill!
There are common sense strategies you can do to minimize your allergic responses. You can reduce your exposure to known allergy triggers by staying inside when it’s windy and dry outside. After a good rain, the allergens have been washed away so you may feel more comfortable going outside. Put on the A/C. You can also let others mow the yard if you’re sensitive to grass, etc. If you have an outdoor clothesline to help dry clothes and get that wonderful fresh aroma, well … you may want to avoid doing that as the allergens can embed in your clothes.
There are many over-the-counter remedies available to treat symptoms, such as oral antihistamines and decongestants, nasal sprays, and combination medications. You can rinse your sinus passages. Your physician may also prescribe some medications that are more effective than the over-the-counter varieties.
You can also opt for allergy shots. This is my personal choice after years of suffering (and in spite of all the natural “fixes” I have put in place) and learning that I am even genetically pre-disposed to seasonal allergies. After being tested for what you are allergic to, a serum is prepared, and you get injections over a period of time. These injections contain enough of the allergens to stimulate your immune system response, but not usually enough to actually cause an allergy reaction. After a time of gradually increasing the allergens in the shots, your immune system develops a tolerance and symptoms usually wane. For an interesting article on false myths about allergy shots, go here.
If you read my articles, then you know I am very holistically oriented. These approaches simply work better for me and the side effects are very mild to non-existent. So, there are some natural ways to approach allergy responses. For more information, go here. An interesting fact is that almost a third of people who suffer from ragweed are also allergic to certain foods like cucumbers, melons, zucchini, and more. If you test positive for ragweed, you may want to research a fuller list of foods to avoid. If you have an immune system that is compromised in some way, such as those with COPD and other conditions involving the respiratory system, may want to make sure to manage your allergy symptoms so as not to trigger a very serious health condition.
The way to approach allergies in a more holistic manner is to work with your diet, supplements, use essential oils, practice mindfulness, etc. It might also be helpful to know your genetic predisposition to allergies. Managing your stress load is a good way to start managing your allergy symptoms. Allergies are actually your own body attacking itself – yes, it’s autoimmunity. It might be helpful to avoid alcohol and caffeine, dairy, chocolate, peanuts, sugar, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, etc., as these can trigger excessive reactions during allergy seasons. Knowing your individual food sensitivities would be helpful. You can try it to see if it helps.
Some foods that might have a healing effect, especially during times of stress like allergy seasons, are local, raw honey, pineapple, apple cider vinegar, fresh (preferably organic) veggies, grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, free-range poultry, bone broth, etc. You can also beef up your immune system by eating probiotic foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, raw cheese, kombucha, etc. Fermented foods will help strengthen your immune system.
In general, eating in a healthy manner, practicing good mindfulness activities, managing stress, getting some exercise, taking some appropriate supplements, will all add to your overall health and should impact your allergy responses in a positive way. In some cases (like mine!), even with the best of lifestyle practices, you may want to explore other ways to help your body deal with the allergens.
If you want to learn more about practicing this healthy lifestyle – please consider taking this course called Prevention: Holistic Strategies for Healthy Living & Avoiding Substance Use. If you would like to learn a little more about mindfulness, go here. For a larger selection of courses, please visit Health and Wellness Online, LLC.
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.