In spring people suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms. Natural allergy treatments can indeed be as effective and, in many cases, more effective than allergy medications.
Fresh cut grass, blooming trees cum flowers, and weeds do release pollen, causing seasonal allergies in an estimated 40 million to 60 million people each year. Allergic rhinitis is the medical term for hay fever and seasonal allergies that do occur not just in the spring, but throughout the summer and into the fall.
While hay fever does frequently begin at a young age, it can affect anyone, at any time. Sometimes seasonal allergy symptoms do fade over the years, only to reoccur later in life. If one experiences seasonal allergy symptoms in one location and then moves on to a new area with different types of flora, one’s allergies may go away.
Every tree, flower, and weed does release pollen, but not all individuals have heightened sensitivity or allergic reactions to all pollens. It is important to pay attention and also recognize what triggers one’s allergy symptoms. For some people, cottonwood trees and ragweed are the problems, while for others it is grass or ragweed.
Nearly a third of ragweed allergy sufferers also do experience an allergic response to certain foods. These include cucumbers, melons, zucchini, sunflower seeds, bananas, and chamomile tea. If one has a ragweed allergy, it is better to avoid foods causing it.
Left untreated, seasonal allergy symptoms do cause miserable symptoms, and one’s day-to-day activities get affected and one suffers from spur asthma attacks.
The same pollen and allergens that do trigger seasonal allergy symptoms can cause asthma attacks, resulting in wheezing, and shortness of breath, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. This condition is usually referred to as allergy-induced asthma or allergic asthma. People with compromised immune systems, COPD and other respiratory conditions do need to manage their seasonal allergy symptoms in order to prevent further complications. Changes in diet, natural supplements, essential oils, and lifestyle changes can help.
Common Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms make one feel simply awful. Congestion, post-nasal drip, itchy eyes, and sneezing wear one’s body down. While the severity of symptoms of allergic rhinitis varies widely from season to season, chances are if one has seasonal allergies, the symptoms impact one’s day-to-day life.
Researchers are at odds as to why seasonal allergy symptoms have worsened over the past 30 years but agree that allergies to pollen mold and some foods are growing exponentially. Many hay fever symptoms are quite similar to those of a common cold or sinus infection, but colds and sinus infections do come and go much more quickly than seasonal allergies. Allergy symptoms do not go away until the pollen is dormant.
Someone suffering from seasonal allergies does face the same challenges, season after season. When the allergen is pollen, mold or another airborne substance, the symptoms typically manifest in the lungs, nose as well as eyes. Food allergies, on the other hand, most commonly affect the mouth, stomach and may cause skin rashes.
Common seasonal allergy symptoms include:
• Post-nasal drip
• Excess mucus production
• Scratchy throat
• Runny nose
• Itchy, watery eyes
• Tickle/irritation in the ears
• Decreased concentration and focus
• Decreased decision-making
• Exhaustion and sleep disorders
• Mood swings
• Low blood pressure
Underlying Causes of Allergy Symptoms
Are you aware that one is at risk of suffering from seasonal allergy symptoms on account of underlying medical conditions? Asthma, unmanaged stress, deviated septum, nasal polyps, recent trauma or illness, pregnancy, and even food allergies can put you at heightened risk.
Stress plays a big part in the immune system, and unmanaged stress can lead to allergy symptoms. Women who are pregnant also are exposed to allergies. Even the elderly are exposed.
Treating Allergy Symptoms Naturally
Antihistamines, corticosteroids, and decongestants, as well as other OTC allergy medications, counteract the effect of the histamine produced by the body. However, they do have side effects.
Pharmaceutical allergy medicines simply are not for everyone. Remember, they do not cure the allergies — they just treat the symptoms. Many are not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or those with high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, glaucoma, or with thyroid problems.
There are foods that one should avoid during allergy season. Any foods that one is allergic to, or have a sensitivity to, should be avoided. If one is not sure how far-reaching one’s food sensitivities are, an elimination diet can help identify foods that can make your allergies worse.
Avoid foods that commonly make hay fever symptoms worse include alcohol, caffeine, dairy, chocolate, peanuts, sugar, and wheat, citrus, and chocolate. Also, many common food preservatives — including sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium sulfite, and artificial sweeteners — can contribute to one’s allergic rhinitis symptoms.
One needs to avoid dried fruits, bottled citrus juice, shrimp and any highly processed foods. In addition, many people find relief when avoiding foods that cause mucus production.
Conventional dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeinated beverages, as well as any foods that you have sensitivity can also worsen one’s allergy symptoms. If you have a ragweed allergy, it is important to avoid melons, bananas, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, echinacea, and chamomile, as they can a trigger allergic response in one’s system. The overall goal of limiting foods that one has a sensitivity to is to lighten the overall burden on one’s immune system and allow it to function more optimally.
Foods to Enjoy During Allergy Season:
• Raw local honey
• Hot and spicy foods
• Bone Broth
• Probiotic-rich foods
• Apple cider vinegar
• Fresh organic vegetables
• Grass-fed meats
• Free-range poultry
• Wild-caught fish
The foods to avoid list may feel overwhelming, but fortunately, there are great tasting foods that will help relieve one’s symptoms while strengthening one’s immune system.
Probiotics modify the intestinal flora in the gut and also help boost the immune system, and they also show progress in the treatment and prevention of allergies. Vitamin A — 2,000 micrograms per day: Vitamin A does boost the immune system, fights inflammation and has antihistamine properties. Bromelain — 1,000 milligrams per day: Bromelain, the enzyme in pineapple, does help to reduce swelling in the nose and sinuses, helping to relieve hay fever symptoms. Zinc — 30 milligrams per day: Zinc also helps to heal adrenal fatigue caused by chronic stress. Stinging Nettle — 300–500 milligrams twice per day: Stinging nettle does contain antihistamine cum anti-inflammatory properties that do help to reduce the body’s production of symptom-causing histamine.
Complementary Natural Allergy Treatments
One can go in for complementary approaches to get relief:
Using a Neti pot during allergy season or after exposure to allergens is indeed a very effective way to relieve nasal congestion and flush out mucus. Once or twice daily, use warm filtered water or distilled water with some salt to flush one’s nasal passages for relief.
Diffusing essential oils, that include menthol, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint oil, does help to open up the nasal passages and lungs, improves circulation and relieves stress.
Acupuncture does reduce the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies in 26 patients and without side effects. Prior to allergy season it is advisable to meet with an acupuncturist to determine the best course of action.