Seasonal Allergies: A Holistic Approach
It’s that time of year, allergy season. If you are in the Denver metro area (or probably anywhere in the northern hemisphere), then you have seen the cars covered in yellow pollen and have been seeing the beautiful blossoms of the trees and plants in these past few weeks and chances are you might be feeling the effects. Itchy and irritated eyes, sneezing, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, headache and more can be triggered by these seasonal pollens.
What causes some of us to suffer from seasonal allergies aside from the pollen?
Allergies of any kind occur when the immune system overreacts or is put on high alert to attack a foreign object. About 26% of Americans have seasonal allergies. So, what about the other 74%? Why don’t they get allergies? Like most things it goes back to our genetics and our environment, taking into account our overall health and exposure to inflammatory substances around us. Factors that may contribute to the development of allergies may include: our diet, mode of delivery during birth, early life antibiotics or the overuse of antibiotics, early life exposure to microbes (pets, playing outside), dust in the home, mold exposure and outdoor air pollution.
While we can’t turn back time to change how we were birthed or whether or not we were exposed to antibiotics early in life, we can utilize an anti-inflammatory diet which will let our gut microbiome thrive and protect us. Much our immune system is located in the gut after all. We can also allow exposure to good microbes in nature and limit sterilizing our environments but ensuring to dust and vacuum routinely.
So what do you do if you don’t want to be taking Claritin and Benadryl all spring/summer/fall or whenever your seasonal allergies get the best of you?
Here are a few of my favorite options for allergy symptom relief!
- Sinus rinses (like NetiPot or NeilMed Sinus Rinse) or nasal sprays like Xlear nasal spray
- D-Hist by Ortho Molecular is a combination of quercetin, stinging nettle, NAC, bromelain, vitamin C which help to thin secretions, calm down inflammatory mediators involved in allergy, and help the immune system response (there is also a D-Hist Junior that my kiddos love!)
- Beekeepers Naturals Throat Spray supports the immune system through the use of bee propolis which is full of immune support compounds
- Quercetin rich foods (berries, onions, apples, garlic, parsley, tea)
- Dusting and vacuuming the home frequently, especially if windows and doors are left open during allergy season to get rid of pollen that may get inside.
- Adding local raw honey to the diet for the immune boosting properties and may also help to sooth an irritated throat (my personal favorite is from our friend Chris Munson’s Family Farm in Boulder – take a trip up to their farm stand located at 75th and Valmont – starting in July)
- Hot, steamy shower to help loosen up congestion.
- Acupuncture has been shown to reduce allergy symptoms in a few randomized controlled trials and may be worth a shot for more severe symptoms!
I hope you found this helpful and if you are looking for more recommendations or a Functional Medicine Practitioner to work with, hop on over to my website (link located in my bio) and sign up for a free 15 minute call!)