Friday, March 23, 2012

Prepare For A Challenging Allergy Season

The mild winter and early spring will mostly result in a challenging allergy season. Those that suffer with runny noses, sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing and nasal congestion would do well to take some extra precautions early this year.

Seasonal allergies result when the immune system overreacts to pollen, grasses and trees. The irritation of the eyes, throat and nose is actually the body's attempt to get rid of toxins, preventing them from going deeper in the body. There are many ways that you can decrease your symptoms and modulate (control) the body's response to allergens including:
  • Allergy Testing. If you have allergy symptoms but you have never been officially diagnosed with allergies, it is helpful to have a blood test to clarify exactly what allergens you have and the degree you need to avoid them. 
  • Avoidance. Knowing what toxins to avoid and paying attention to air quality reports will let you know when it is best to plan your outside activities.
  • Sinus Rinse. Nasal lavage involves filling a neti pot or sinus rinse bottle with warm, slightly salty water and squirting or pouring the water into the nostril. The water easily runs out bringing any mucous with it. It is a simple technique that can be done daily to decrease nasal congestion and to reduce sinus pressure.
  •  Water. Drinking adequate water (typically 1/2 your body weight in ounces) helps to thin the mucous and decrease the feeling of congestion.
  • Avoid these foods. Foods such as dairy, bananas, yeast and processed foods can increase the amount of mucous in the body. Avoiding these foods and any known food intolerances can dramatically decrease seasonal allergy symptoms.
  • Increase these foods. Berries, dark green vegetables, nuts, whole grains, spirulina, flax seeds, chia seeds and fish, such as salmon and sardines can assist in decreasing the overreaction of the immune system.
  • Exercise. Movement increases circulation which helps to expel toxins, supports the immune system and decreases the stress response of the body.
  • Sleep. When you are well rested your immune system is less reactive. Typically, the more stressed a person is and the more exhausted, the worse their symptoms.
  • Spring Cleaning. Increasing the dusting and vacuuming in your home and changing the air filters regularly can help remove indoor allergens. It is also a good idea to leave your outside shoes at the front door and change your clothes as soon as you get home as pollens can stick to fabric. If your allergy symptoms are severe it is best to keep windows and doors closed and to shower before bed.

Everybody's symptoms are different. For some the primary symptom is sneezing, for others it is the watery eyes or the constant congestion. Hence, what works for one person doesn't always work for another. There are a number of natural remedies that effectively treat allergies. To figure out what works best for you visit your naturopathic doctor.

For the month of March and April you can book a naturopathic visit to review your allergy symptoms and to determine your best treatment options for $45.00.  Call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to arrange a convenient time.