Health & Wellness

Scratch, Sniff, Sneeze, Repeat: Seasonal Allergies

by Wendie Trubow, MD, MBA June 10, 2018
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Seasonal allergies sapping your energy, stuffing your nose and causing you to consider buying stock in a tissue company?

You’re not alone! Luckily, there are many approaches you can take that don’t involve prescription medicines and may enable you to get through this season with flying colors!

Allergies often occur when one’s system just can’t handle another input. It’s quite common to experience allergies after an increase in stressors, health challenges, or dietary setbacks. This is happening because your health functions like a “Rain Barrel.” You might not have symptoms at a low level of stress/irritating health issues, or dietary excursions, but if you don’t have adequate opportunities to rest, recharge and get back on track, your symptoms can get worse. When you begin to have symptoms after a stressful time, it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down!

Prevention

Everyone loves opening their windows; however, in the peak of pollen season, it’s better to keep your windows closed, and invest in a high quality HEPA filter to run in your bedroom. The more you can keep the pollen out of some key rooms in your house, the better you’ll do.

The bedroom is a key room for minimizing exposure. Invest in a high quality mattress cover; this lowers your exposure to dust mites while you sleep. (Dust mites love to live in spring-mattresses.) While not technically a spring-related reaction, this can lower your overall allergy exposure. While you’re at it, consider getting an allergy pillow cover, swapping out your down pillows for latex/memory foam and your down comforters for silk, and putting a cover on your duvet, too.

We know everyone loves their animals, but during pollen season, animals are a prime way to spread pollen through your house. Wipe down your animals with a moist cloth as soon as they come in from outdoors, and if possible, don’t sleep with them (between the dander and the pollen, your allergies can go wild!).

You are also a source of pollen, so it can help to shower before bed to remove anything from your hair so that you don’t inhale it while you sleep.

Treatment

Local honey and bee pollen (local is considered anything within 100 miles of where you live) are great ways to build up tolerance to pollen and decrease your allergic reactions. It’s best taken year round, but now is as good a time as any to start!

Supplements

Supplements containing Bromelain, stinging nettles leaf, quercetin and NAC can all assist with decreasing allergy symptoms and reactions. These are best taken twice a day during peak season, but can also be taken year round.

The Hard Stuff

It’s much easier for your body to quiet the allergy reactions when your body isn’t busy on other fronts trying to stay well. During peak allergy times, it’s important to make sure you sleep enough, manage your stress (exercise and meditation anyone?) and avoid inflammatory foods (processed carbohydrates, non-fruit sugars, alcohol) so that your system has to deal with as few irritants as possible.

Over time, these small adjustments can make a huge difference in your allergy symptoms.

Tried everything and still struggling? It may be time for a more aggressive approach. See a functional medicine provider who can work with you on additional allergy remedies.