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  • Writer's pictureWellness Ctr of Franklin

8 Tips for Surviving Allergy Season

For the short-term relief of symptoms, here are some survival strategies to try. They will do no harm and have been shown to successfully alleviate symptoms.

Remember: Prevention is the best form of medicine.

1. Diet

An estimated 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. To me, addressing your diet and your digestive health is essential to supporting your immune system.

Eat a wholesome, noninflammatory diet based on unprocessed, ideally organic and/or locally grown foods, grass-fed meat and eggs, and fish.Include fermented foods (can contain 100 times more beneficial bacteria than a probiotic supplement) and/or probiotics. A 2008 study discovered people who took probiotics throughout the allergy season had fewer allergy symptoms. Other researchers found evidence that giving probiotics to mothers-to-be may help prevent childhood allergies.If you tolerate lactose, try raw milk. It has more beneficial bacteria than processed/pasteurized milk. Study showed school-aged children who drank raw milk were 41% less likely to develop asthma and 50% less likely to develop hayfever.Raw honey. Honey has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. Honey works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough medications, to soothe cough and related sleeping difficulties. Of course, if you’re avoiding sweeteners because of insulin resistance or other medical problems, the fructose in honey could exacerbate the problem. But if you are healthy and over 2 years old, raw honey could be very beneficial.Optimize your vitamin D3 with 800 IU to lower risk of fractures and up to 2000 IU per day to reduce inflammation and risk of heart disase.

Boost your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio (getting closer to a 1:1 ratio to reduce inflammation), forming the foundation upon which your immune system functions. According to Mother Earth News, a German study found people who have diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids suffered from fewer allergy symptoms and a Swedish study found that children who regularly ate fish had much lower allergies.

For digestive issues, try digestive enzymes with meals.

2. Regular exercise

Exercise is crucial. Get outdoors early or late in the day as pollen counts are at their lowest at these times. Allergies tire your immune system and exercise can give it a boost, which can be very helpful.

3. Hydrate

Stay well-hydrated by drinking 8-10, 8oz glasses of water a day.

4. Relieve stress

Chronic stress weakens your immune system. Research shows that people with persistent emotional stress have more frequent allergy flareups.

5. Avoid unnecessary antibiotics

6. Go Green, not overly clean

Use antibacterial cleaners and hand sanitizers sparingly as many researchers now suspect the increase in immune-related diseases is rooted in our preoccupation with germ-free, dirt-free environments that result in wimpy immune systems. Some household chemicals such as triclosan and bisphenol-A (BPA) can aggravate or even cause allergies.

7. Allergy-proof your home

Wash bedding at least once a month. Remove synthetic carpets, rugs as possible. Keep windows closed during peak allergy seasons and ban smoking inside the home.

8. Improve indoor air quality

Regularly vacuuming your home. Leave shoes by the door to avoid trekking allergens through the house. Use an ozone air purifier to help clear airborne allergens.

Additional helpful tips to try:

Use a neti pot (small, teapot-like pot) to irrigate your sinuses of irritants, including allergens, and help you breathe easier. (Hint: Use distilled, previously boiled or filtered water only, not tap water.) Aromatherapy, especially chamomile, lavender can relieve allergy reactions and lower stress. Acupuncture has been shown to offer effective relief from allergies for the short-term. Useful herbal remedies from nature provides allergy relief. You may want to consider:

  • Goldenseal. Studies suggest that the active ingredient in goldenseal has antibacterial and immune-enhancing properties.Echinacea, astragalus root strengthen the immune system.

  • Cayenne pepper, chili pepper, or hot mustard sprinkled liberally on food, as a natural decongestant for a few days.

  • Vitamin C is another natural antihistamine, that when taken 500-1000 mg three times a day may reduce symptoms.

  • Green tea has been shown to strongly inhibit histamine release and relieve symptoms of runny nose and eye itching in pollen sufferers.

And, a few things to AVOID…

Chlorinated pools and hot tubs if you have allergies or asthma. Chlorine has been shown to increase respiratory problems and allergies.

Using your cell phone when your allergies are raging. A study from Bastyr University found cell phones – one hour of continuous use - might actually worsen allergy symptoms. The exacerbation may be due to the phone’s microwave radiation.

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