Tips for Reducing Seasonal Allergy Effects
What's Up with Allergies?
Allergens are the Enemy
What's Up with Allergies?
Allergy season. The sneezing, tickling, itching, water eyes and the green stuff, not to mention the sinus headaches and general fogginess. Seasonal allergies affect millions of North Americans (26 million seasonal allergy sufferers in the US alone) and most of these allergy suffers rely on drugs and sprays with varying success. One of the most frustrating things for allergy sufferers is that sometimes allergy medications have no effect at all relieving common allergy symptoms. In fact, Dr. William E. Berger, of the American College of Allergy, reported that nearly a third of allergy patients think their medications don’t work. Also, people with allergies are 14 times more likely to get migraine headaches than people who don't suffer from allergies.
What exactly is going on with allergies anyway?
For allergy sufferers everywhere, there is a battle between humans and mother nature. First, imagine a grain of pollen that looks something like a spiny sea crustacean and picture this prickly sea creature entering into your nasal passage and latching on to your soft mucous membranes, which line your bronchial and nasal passages. Inside of these passages lie mast cells full of histamines. When an allergen triggers such as pollen, dust, mold or pet dander, the receptor cells that live on top of the mast cells, release the histamine along with other chemicals to disturb the intruder materials and to get these materials out by creating symptoms such as sneezing, watering eyes and itching.
Hygrometer: Keep Dust Mites Out by Controlling the Temperature of your House
Quercetin: A Plant Derived Supplement that Fights Allergens
How to Treat Allergies Naturally
If you are one of the many allergy sufferers whose body doesn't respond well or respond at all to over the counter allergy medication, finding a natural way to treat your allergies is a great way to go. By not taking allergy medication, you can save money and save yourself from unwanted side affects. Here's a simple list of things you can do daily to reduce allergy symptoms:
- Wash your hair at night (to get the pollen out)
- Wear a N95 Filter Mask (to protect yourself from airborne pollen allergens)
- Keep your nose clean (try a saline sinus rinse)
- Get rid of dust mites-Keep your home temp in the mid to low 60s and the humidity between 40% and 45% will get ride of dust mites. Also, buy a home hygrometer ($20 on ebay) to measure humidity levels.
- Organic cotton bedding to keep dust mites away
- Wash your bedding weekly at 140 degrees to demolish all dust mites
- Avoid using window fans as they pull pollen indoors
- Keep your windows closed while driving
Allergy fighting foods
- Quercetin. A natural plant-derived compound called a bioflavonoid, quercetin helps level out mast cells and prevents them from releasing histamine. Quercetin also is a natural antioxidant that helps mop up molecules called free radicals that cause cell damage. Citrus fruits, onions, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce and wine are naturally high in quercetin. Allergy sufferers will most likely need to take Quercetin supplements in between meals. The recommended dosage is about 1,000 milligrams a day and people with allergies should start the treatment at least 6 weeks BEFORE allergy season. Those with liver disease shouldn't use Quercetin and those who are pregnant or nursing should talk to a doctor before taking Quercetin or any supplement.
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: cold-water fish, walnuts and flaxseed oil, as well as grass-fed meat and eggs. Those who consume Omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to suffer allergy symptoms than those who don't take Omega 3 fatty acids. Also, Omega 3's fight inflammation.
- Horseradish, chili peppers or hot mustard-when pollen counts are high, be sure to open and clear your airways with hot and spicy foods.
Stinging Nettle: A Drug-Free Allergy Reliever
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a great drug-free antihistamine, plus you won't have to endure the dry mouth or drowsiness caused by a lot of over the counter antihistamines. Nettle actually inhibits the body’s ability to produce histamine.
Stinging Nettle is a common weed but extracts of the leaves are freeze dried and made into capsules. Experts say to take 3000 milligrams daily and you will have instant relief from allergies, but the effects only last for a few hours.
For allergy sufferers who wish to treat their symptoms without causing drowsiness or other chemical-induced side affects, Butterbur is a strong contender in the war against allergies. Butterbur is derived from a common weed in Europe, used a an antihistamine. You will have a hard time finding Butterbur in the United States but luckily it's sold as a supplement.
Rinsing allergens away with salt-water with Nedi-pots is a treatment that has been used in India for thousands of years to keep the sinuses clear. Nedi Pots are great for rinses away pollen grains and for generally keeps nasal passages and airways clear.
According to the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, they found that nasal flushing was a mild and effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines.
How to Use a Nedi Pot
Steps to Using a Nedi Pot
To flush your sinuses, mix a quarter to a half teaspoon of noniodized table salt into a cup of lukewarm water and pour it into the pot.
Lean over a sink with your head slightly cocked to one side, then put the spout of the neti into one nostril and allow the water to drain out the other nostril.
Use about half of the solution, then repeat on the other side, tilting your head the opposite direction.
Gently blow out each nostril to clear them completely.