The Basics of Seasonal Allergies
Spring is coming, and if you live like me in Arizona allergies may not leave you ever because something is always blooming in Arizona. The worst is the seasonal orange blooms! This means that nasal congestion, redness of the skin, tears, watery eyes, runny nose, itchy skin, postnasal drip, and other unpleasant symptoms may appear.
According to the definition, allergy is an increased acute reaction of the body’s immune system to certain substances (allergens) that the body comes into contact with.
Causes of Allergies
So, what are the causes of allergies?
If you notice a deterioration in condition from the beginning of spring to mid-autumn, most likely you are faced with hay fever – an allergic reaction to pollen from plants.
The pollen of trees, shrubs, and grasses enters the nose, and our immune system perceives it as a foreign substance. Our immune system begins to produce antibodies – just like against viruses and bacteria. Histamine – a biologically active substance – is formed in the blood and we develop unpleasant manifestations of allergies: coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and so on.
It is possible to get improvement with minimal medications and also by getting to the root cause of the allergies.
One more important conclusion can be drawn from this. In a person who is not predisposed to allergies, the reaction will not be even when in contact with the strongest allergen. And vice versa, in a person predisposed to allergies, the reaction will manifest itself, and even substances that are not allergens can provoke it.
Common allergenic triggers:
- Environmental pollution;
- Recent antibiotics;
- weakened immunity;
- Mold exposure/mold allergies;
- Gut issues and impaired microbiome;
- Yeast or bacterial overgrowth;
- Food sensitivities and/or allergies provoked by microbiome (gut bug) imbalance.
By the time of year when you begin to feel unwell, you can understand what exactly your body responds to. In spring, allergies are most often caused by tree pollen, in summer by herbs, autumn allergies are associated with pollination of weeds.
Sometimes the allergen is obvious, but in most cases, it is necessary to diagnose.
How to prepare for the spring season of allergies
1. Follow a hypoallergenic diet
A hypoallergenic diet is an exclusion from the diet of those products that can provoke or aggravate allergies. It is advisable to do your own nutrition and thereby strengthen the immune system in advance, even before the onset of flowering.
In addition, directly during the allergy period, it is worth abandoning the use of certain products. For some people, it could be dairy and gluten, for example.
2. Try Vitamins and Foods
Vitamins D and C effectively help to cope with an allergy to pollen and also strengthen immunity. I also recommend taking small amounts of local pollen and local honey every day. Just a few pollen seeds to start with and to note if there is any reaction to that. Then the amount could be eventually increased to 1/2 teaspoon every day.
3. Undergo specific immunotherapy
An allergen is detected (for example, you can’t tolerate alder pollen), and before flowering, doctors inject drugs based on small doses of the allergen. So the body gradually gets used to it, so during the flowering season, you will not have a reaction to a substance that provokes an allergy. If you can’t completely get rid of the allergy, then at least an allergic reaction will manifest itself in a milder form. I personally chose not to use this strategy because I believed that my seasonal allergy was caused by something else. I will talk more about it in my next post! I cured my allergies naturally by addressing the root cause and adhering to a different diet as I was eating SAD (Standard American Diet at that time).
How to deal with allergies
1. Personal hygiene
This is the most important thing that may help with allergies! As well as preventative measures in a potentially dangerous period:
- daily washing of the nose with (boiled or distilled water only) saline solutions and frequent hand washing;
- tightly closed windows in rooms and the car;
- If your allergies are severe, immediately after returning from the street, it is recommended that you change your street clothes to your home and take a shower.
- the use of humidifiers and air purifiers;
- limited outdoor stays in the morning and in dry, hot weather, because at this time pollen allergens are most concentrated in the air.
- Use Xclear spray every day (preferably, twice a day) if you cannot use Neti-Pot or Neil-Med rinses. Blow your nose after the use.
2. Drugs from the Pharmacy.
Also a common method of struggle. Another common mistake: take pills when an allergic reaction has already gained momentum. Taking antihistamines after contact with an allergen is mostly useless – the body has already reacted. Ideally, it is advisable to start a course of taking medications 2-3 weeks before the flowering season. There are non-pharmacologic ways to treat allergies by getting to the root cause of allergies and using homeopathic/herbal supplements. Well, you know the drill. You went to your doctor and, probably, got some anti-histamine over-the-counter prescription.
To better tolerate allergies, you need to prepare your home for the flowering season. Keep doors and windows closed whenever possible. Ventilate the room after the rain. Get an air purifier for your house and change house AC filters often. Install a higher grade AC filters as they would grab more allergens/dust and will prevent it from getting into the house.
In the next post, I will talk about herbal supplements/teas that may help with allergies! Stay tuned!
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