Spring is here at last! Unfortunately, it also means billions of pollens are floating in the air, which trigger seasonal allergies for millions of people. If you are one out of five Americans who suffer from allergies, chances are, you have taken OTC drugs to control symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. If you suffer from spring allergies, take action and take control of your allergy, not your allergy taking control over you!
WHY DO WE GET SEASONAL ALLERGIES?
There are many kinds of allergies but the seasonal one is typically caused by pollens. The immune system is designed to fight off virus and bacteria. However, when we get into contact with pollens, our immune system over-reacts and this manifests as an allergic reaction.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS?
-Stuffy or runny nose
-Itchy nose, eyes, roof of the mouth, throat
WHERE DO POLLENS COME FROM IN SPRING TIME?
Depending on the season and where you live, your allergen triggers will vary. During spring, these are the typical pollen sources:
- Tree pollens (birch, pine, cedar, cottonwood)
- Grass pollens
TAKE CHARGE, WHAT YOU CAN DO:
MINIMIZE EXPOSURE + EAT THE RIGHT FOOD + TAKE SUPPLEMENTS
You can’t stop the trees and grass from releasing pollens but there are things that are within your control.
You can reduce your exposure to allergens by doing the following:
-Stay indoors and close the windows
-Bathe or shower and change your clothes after being outside
-Use HEPA air filters in the bedroom
-Use an air conditioner at home and in the car
-Do not hang-dry clothes outside
EAT MORE OF THESE
- Probiotics are friendly bacteria for your gut. You can get them from kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, sour pickles, olives.
- Flavonols found in capers, berries, apples, onions, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin C
- Green Tea
- Herb called stinging nettle
- Dairy. Try soy or almond milk instead.
You can take medications like antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal corticosteroid sprays to help control your allergy symptoms. An allergist or immunologist can run a test to identify what allergens you react to and recommend an appropriate plan. Allergy shots have been seen to offer long-term relief from symptoms for those who really have bad allergies.
Dietary & Nutritional Supplements to help fight allergies
Taking nutritional supplements is an option, especially if plant-based sources are lacking in your diet. It supports your body’s immunity, so it copes better with allergens like pollens. Some studies support taking supplements, while other literatures suggest more studies are needed. Speak with your physician before taking these supplements.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus. You can also take supplements that have L. acidophilus, a type of “friendly” bacteria.
- Quercetin. Quercetin is a flavonoid (plant pigment) that gives fruits and vegetables their color. More studies are needed on Quercetin and it can potentially interfere with medications.
- Spirulina. is a of blue-green algae, that may help protect you against allergic reactions. It stops the release of histamine, which contributes to symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
- Vitamin C (2,000 mg per day). As expected, Vitamin C is in the list because of its antihistamine properties.
Consult with your health care practitioner about your options. It is always worth trying these suggestions to prevent and fight off allergies. After all, keeping allergies at bay will make you enjoy spring time with family and friends, without the inconvenience of sneezing, having itchy, runny nose and teary eyes. It is definitely not a great feeling!
To learn more about allergies, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at www.aaai.org.
Spring Allergies. Aaai.org
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