by Michele Carelse on March 22nd, 2011 at 7:00 am
As the wind picks up, most of us can already feel the stirrings of our seasonal allergies. Like an old (but decidedly irritating) friend, airborne allergies and irritants abound. We investigate and address a proactive plan of attack for the allergy season!
There is a lot that can be done naturally to deal with allergies, in a safe, yet effective manner – without falling victim to addictive pills, potions, lotions, drops and sprays!
What are allergies?
The body’s immune system is designed to attack harmful substances like bacteria and viruses. However, an allergy is defined as an abnormal reaction of the immune system to a substance that is typically harmless to most people such as pollen, mold, dust mites and pet saliva.
In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system produces antibodies that then cause certain cells to release chemicals (such as histamine) into the bloodstream against the invading allergens. These chemicals are responsible for causing allergic reactions that affect a person’s eyes, nose, throat, lungs or skin.
Seasonal vs. perennial allergies
People may be allergic to a wide variety of allergens – often without being aware of it! Suddenly, a harmless breeze brings with it tiny spores of pollen, dust and debris, all of which can trigger an allergy.
Hay fever refers to a pollen allergy, such as trees, weeds and grasses. This condition is caused once again, by an overactive immune system that responds to a variety of allergens. Hay fever is characterized by sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose not related to flu or a cold.
Perennial allergies, on the other hand, are usually present year-round, and include indoor allergens such as pet dander, second hand smoke and house dust mites, with molds being a seasonal or perennial allergy trigger.
Unfortunately, prescription anti-histamine medications to deal with seasonal allergies (especially nasal sprays), can easily become addictive and also become less effective over time. So what can be done naturally? Used at the start of the season or when the first signs of an allergy arise, Urtica urens gets to work without delay – using natural antihistamine properties to clear watery eyes, reduce itchiness and relieve inflammation. Plantain also has a long history of traditional use in the support of respiratory health.
Allergies can also aggravate other conditions such as sinusitis, ear infections or asthma. Asthma can be particularly tricky when linked to allergies. Most common is asthma related to dust mites, and pollen allergy. This is because the lungs are directly affected by airborne allergens.
3 preventative tips for allergy sufferers:
* Wash, wash, wash… Then wash some more! Windows, bookshelves and air conditioning vents should be cleaned regularly to remove dust and mold buildup. Wash bedding in hot water once a week and dry indoors to keep pollen from collecting on wash hanging on the line. Shower and wash your hair before bed to avoid transferring pollen to your bedding.
* Outdoor operations. Take short-acting natural remedies at least 30 minutes prior to outdoor activity. Avoid pollen – try to minimize outdoor activities during peak pollen times, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Also, take care in the garden. Wear a filter mask while mowing and gardening. Control your pets. If your animals go outside, don’t let them climb on furniture or go in the bedroom so they won’t spread pollen where you sit or sleep.
* Lockdown living. Keep the house ‘tight’. When possible, close windows and avoid using fans that bring outside air in. The same applies to the car – close your car windows and use the air conditioner and point the vents away from your face.
HayFever Fighter™ Homeopathic remedy relieves symptoms of hay fever and other allergies – sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose
AllergiClear™ Helps keep histamine levels in the normal range for optimal respiratory health