By our contributing writer Crystal Blanchard, CCN…
Allergy season has struck. Many of us cough and sneeze our way through this time of year with little relief in sight. Allergies have blossomed into epidemic proportions today; over 60 million people are allergy sufferers (more than 20% of the population). Respiratory allergies (allergic responses to environmental allergens such as air pollutants, asbestos or heavy metals) affect 35 to 50 million people. Seasonal allergens, such as dust, pollen, spores and mold, include the rest of allergy sufferers.
1) What are you dealing with?
Allergies are immune responses to substances like cat dander, dust or wheat, and seasonal conditions (pollen or spores not normally harmful). So what’s the reason for the increase in allergic responses by our bodies? Substances, like environmental pollutants, asbestos and smoke exhaust fumes, stir up much of our trouble. Mix seasonal allergies with environmental allergies and you’ve got some tough stuff to deal with. No wonder you feel so miserable when spring has sprung.
2) Setting the stage for allergies
Stress and adrenal exhaustion set the stage for you to get sick. Often we eat pretty much what we want and sooner or later, we have to pay the piper. In this case, the piper is a frustrated immune system. In short, we’re not as healthy as we could be and risk running ourselves down with our hectic lifestyles. So when you’re out and about, allergy symptoms strike you down and out.
3) So do you have Type I allergy to environmental or seasonal allergens? Chances are you do if you have any of these symptoms:
Chronic lung, bronchial and sinus infections with itchy, watery nose and eyes
- Frontal headaches with sneezing, coughing attacks and sore, scratchy throat
- Your face swells up, with itchy, rashy skin
- Skin rash on your arms or torso
- Trouble sleeping
- Dark circles under your eyes that don’t go away with sleep
- Unusual menstrual pain and congestion
- Hypoglycemia? Candida albicans yeast overgrowth? Or learning disabilities
In other words, you feel like the beast instead of the beauty.
4) Masking symptoms
Medications found in drugstores mask symptoms, often cause drowsiness and have a rebound effect. That means the more you take them, the more you have to take them. Some of the newer medicines for allergy symptoms are strong and produce strong side effects like rapid heartbeat. Old, standby antihistamines can be dangerous too such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) which can impair driving performance more than alcohol does. Then you have steroid drugs offered for hayfever which, if taken for long periods, can often make the situation worse by depressing immune defenses and impeding allergen elimination. They don’t cure.
Add to this mixture environmental allergens which frequently compound the discomfort of allergy sufferers by activating and aggravating other irritants. Then, even the most powerful drugs don’t relieve symptoms.
5) Healthy Alternative Suggestions:
a) When facing allergy symptoms head-on, change your diet and cleanse your internal environment first. This can help control allergic rhinitis reactions. In other words, you won’t feel like you have a perpetual cold.
b) Focus on a plant-based diet. Animal fats produce inflammatory leukotrines linked to allergies.
c) Consult with someone who practices alternative medicine to guide you through a 3- to 7- day cleanse to help rid you of mucous build-up.
d) A cup of green tea each morning (and at bedtime) helps thin mucous. Enjoy some hot miso or chicken soup to release mucous. Celery juice daily helps flush allergens.
e) Add non-mucous-forming foods to your diet: fresh veggies and fruits, cultured foods like yogurt, high vitamin C foods like berries and citrus, seafoods, cabbage, onions and garlic.
f) Avoid preserved and canned foods, sugary foods, caffeine, and fatty, mucous-forming foods during healing (dairy products and high gluten foods).
6) Lifestyle changes:
a) Avoid allergens. Stay indoors, especially in the morning hours and try to exercise indoors on dry, windy days.
b) Invest in an air filter or run an air ionizer to reduce indoor allergens.
c) Stop smoking and avoid secondary smoke. Smoke only makes you feel worse.
7) Acupressure points:
Acupressure can help, so when you’re experiencing an attack try the following:
a) Press the tip of your nose hard as needed.
b) Press the hollow above the center of your upper lip as needed.
c) Press underneath the cheekbones besides the nose, angling pressure upwards.
8) Homeopathic remedies:
Many homeopathic remedies are available to help you gain control over your allergy symptoms. For example, the homeopathic remedies Allium cepa treats burning nasal discharge, while Apis mellifica is specifically for bee-sting-like swelling in the body. Sabadilla is helpful when spasmodic sneezing is the primary symptom.
9) Some things you can do at home include:
- Before the allergy season starts, gear up your immune system with botanical therapies weeks before symptoms normally appear. That way you’re on top of the situation and can often avoid problems later.
- Keep pollen from your hands and face after coming inside. Avoid touching your eyes or nose while you’re outside. Take a bath before going to bed to reduce exposure to pollens on your hair and skin. Washing your bedding regularly is also helpful.
- A facial of steaming eucalyptus to ease breathing helps. Add 2 pinches of eucalyptus leaves to hot water or add a couple of drops of eucalyptus essential oil to boiling water. Then cover your head with a towel, hang over the pot of steaming water and inhale the steam for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remember to exercise. Increasing your oxygen intake helps the healing process and stimulates the lymphatic system. Walk daily and breathe deeply.
- Because stress depresses immunity and aggravates allergies, use relaxation techniques like tai chi or yoga to help ease you into wellness.
- 80% of your immune function is in the gut. If you’re not on a daily basis eliminating toxins from your body through normal functions, then you’re setting yourself up to be sick. That’s why a cleanse is a great beginning, but it’s only a beginning. Throughout the year, a seasonal cleanse helps you develop an appetite for health. If you have questions, visit a healthcare professional you know and trust to provide you with the support you need.
10) Aim for a Healthier Lifestyle
During the allergy season, learn how live a healthier lifestyle. The sooner you get a grip on what’s ailing you, the sooner you’ll feel better. And the sooner you feel better, the better you’ll understand how your body works and you’ll learn how to work with it. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Crystal Blanchard lives in east Texas with her husband, Greg, and three young adult children. She’s been a mom to many (ten to be exact) and has home educated most of them since 1980. She has turned her wellness consultation practice into a research and writing project to help answer questions about health. We are wonderfully knit together by a loving, compassionate Creator. He is the source for our well-being and we are foolish to trust in anyone other than the Lord first when seeking counsel and wisdom in matters of health. Crystal navigates the labyrinth of health issues to help others (especially her own family) along the way of life. She gives us articles to encourage us in our high calling regarding health and nutrition.
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