Say Goodbye to Allergies, Naturally
It’s that time of year. (Achoo!) Nature is awakening and flowers color the landscape with bright splashes of pink, yellow, and purple. (Achoo!) Their heavy floral perfume fills the air and vibrant green plants and budding leaves contrast the barren brown branches of winter (Achoo!) Unfortunately for many people, this also means the time of year for congestion, sneezing, running nose, and itchy eyes from allergies. If you are one of the 40 million people in the United States who report allergy symptoms annually—listen up!
Allergies are triggered when a small amount of allergen enters the nose and causes antibodies to bind to mast cells and eosinophils. This binding triggers the release of histamine, leukotrienes, and tumor necrosis factor. You can tell by their names that they do unpleasant things and it’s true that these chemicals have effects on the body which cause the characteristic allergy symptoms. Preventing the release of these chemicals is therefore essential to preventing allergies.
Step 1: Avoid your allergens as much as possible. Do NOT dry clothing or bedding outside or you will be surrounding yourself all day and night with your allergens. Do not drive with the windows down. Invest in a fancy HEPA air filter—like Blue Air brand—for your bedroom and run it 24 hours/day. In a perfect world you would also change your pillow cases daily and your sheets every few days. Shower at night before bed to rinse off allergens and clear out your sinuses. And speaking of sinuses . . .
Step 2: Flush out your sinuses with a neti pot 1-4x per day depending on how severe your symptoms are. Put 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt such as sea salt or kosher salt in 2 cups room temp water and let dissolve completely. Use ONLY sterile or distilled water in your Neti pot. If using tap water boil it for 5 minutes to sterilize and let cool. Bend over the sink and tilt your head to the side. Your forehead should be about at the angle of your chin. Insert spout of Neti pot into the raised nostril and create a seal. Raise the pot slowly to develop a steady flow of saline solution through the upper nostril and out the lower nostril. The higher you hold, the faster the flow. During the process breathe through your mouth. When done, gently blow nose into tissue to remove the water in the sinus cavity. Now repeat the procedure on the other side. Do this as often as needed. Just. Do. It.
Step 3: Take a natural anti-histamine that contains Vitamin C, nettles, quercetin, and bromelain. (Avoid bromelain if you are sensitive to pineapple.) Natural anti-histamines have the advantage of containing vitamins, bioflavonoids, anti-oxidants and enzymes that support your health in many ways vs. over-the-counter/prescription anti-histamines that can cause unwanted side effects and offer no additional health benefits.
Step 4: Eat an anti-inflammatory diet and drink plenty of water. Inflammatory foods can absolutely worsen allergy and sinus issues. I have worked with many people who were able to eliminate allergy symptoms when they changed their diets. Focus on eating a variety of whole foods such as lean meats, legumes, vegetables, fruits and hypoallergenic grains.
If you do these steps and are still struggling with allergy symptoms or need extra guidance around changing your diet, I recommend setting up an appointment for a more individualized treatment plan.