As the weather warms up, trees start budding and grasses turns green. For many, this signifies spring and more outdoor activities, but for others, this brings about uncomfortable symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and throat. More than 1 in 6 Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies or hay fever and symptoms can last anywhere from March to November. Everyone’s immune system will react to different allergens and for someone who are susceptible or allergic to certain seasonal pollens/weeds/grasses/trees, exposure to these allergens will trigger an immune reaction. Antibodies are first produced and they migrate to mast cells lining the eyes, nose and lungs. Subsequent exposure will cause these mast cells to release chemicals including histamine, which irritate those mucosal membranes and produce allergic symptoms. Conventional treatment mostly involves anti-histamines which block this inflammatory response. However, these medications can also cause many unwanted side effects in the body such as drowsiness, dry mouth/throat, increase heart rate, flushed skin, blurring vision, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, etc.
There are many Naturopathic Alternatives that can be very effective in prevention and treatment of seasonal allergies. Working to correct the root cause of allergic reactions is the ultimate goal but working on prevention and treatment to mediate symptoms is also important.
– Ideally starts from conception and pregnancy – using good quality probiotics, watching exposure to environmental toxins and allergens, balancing immune system, good dietary habits, and breastfeeding for the baby are all encouraged as measures taken to prevent future allergies.
– Those who suffer from seasonal allergies can also start on an allergy protocol (discuss with your naturopath) before spring starts to mediate their immune system to prepare for the upcoming season, which can drastically reduce symptoms.
Balance immune system with overall inflammatory support including products like:
– Essential fatty acids (EFAs)
– Certain homeopathic combinations that mediate the immune system in response to allergies
– Herbs such as nettles, Echinacea, ginger, and turmeric – all help reduce excess inflammation and support the immune system.
– Impossible and unrealistic to avoid the outdoors to avoid allergic symptoms but as the body is interconnected in many pathways and systems, watching exposure to other sensitivities and allergies is also important
– Investigate food allergies through testing, or elimination diets
– Watch exposure to other environmental toxins and irritants in daily life
– Minimizing overall allergenic exposure will decrease the allergic and inflammatory response of your immune system, making you less susceptible to constant allergies
Stabilize mast cells and inflammatory response
– Quercetin – a bioflavonoid that acts as a natural anti-histamine, will help stabilize mast cells and reduce allergic symptoms
– Vitamin C, E – all natural antioxidants that also support mast cell stabilization and mucous membranes
– Butterbur – research on this herb show its effectiveness in treating hay fever similar to that of anti-histamines through its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic actions
Good luck this allergy season!
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