Seasonal allergies vs perennial (year-round) allergies
Treatment of allergic symptoms starts with diagnosing what is causing your allergic reactions. Seasonal allergies, as you may know, happen during the fall and spring due to the increased exposure from allergens such as pollen. The most allergenic pollens are trees, grasses and weeds. If you live where it’s blooming more often (Florida and California for instance) this may be a problem most of the year. Perennial allergies are typically due to the constant exposure of common indoor allergies such as dust, dust mites and mold. If you want to know how to treat allergy symptoms, you need to know how to control your environment first. Let’s cover the great outdoors and then move inside where we actually have more control.
Note that this article is not covering drug allergies, hives, asthma or anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions) as those must be handled by your doctor.
The symptoms of seasonal allergies are also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis (runny nose, congestion, sneezing) which can make everyday living during these times quite miserable. If you reside in geographic areas such as Florida, seasonal allergies are actually all-year-round allergies. There are simple solutions to make these seasonal allergies much easier. Let’s get right to them.
Treatment of Allergic Symptoms Starts with Reduction of General Exposures
On dry, windy days, try to stay indoors.
When it comes to doing yard-work, it’s best to have someone do it for you. If you must do it, wear a mask and other protective gear.
After coming in from outside, take a shower and change into fresh clothes.
Always dry laundry in the dryer; never on a clothes line.
Reduce your Pollen Exposure
- Always check the weather channel to see the pollen levels and forecast.
- If pollen levels are high, try to take your prescribed allergy medication (or preferably- your natural allergy treatment from our store) before symptoms begin.
- Close your windows and doors to prevent allergens from coming indoors.
- Do not do any outdoor activity in the early mornings as pollen levels are the highest at that time of the day.
Controlling your Indoor Environment edited to here then HTML issues
- Keep the air conditioning running. Dust mites thrive in warm, humid homes.
- Use clean A.C. filters and replacement then regularly. Specially made electrostatic dust filters don’t seem to be better than just making sure you change filters regularly. Here’s everything you need to know about fitting a good filter to your HVAC system.
- Use mattress and pillow case covers for your bedding.
- Keep your indoors dry by using a dehumidifier unless you live in a dry climate.
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and avoid fabric softeners and dryer strips.
- Over-the counter drugs
- Prescription drugs
- Skin testing and de-sensitization
If you are having a lot of symptoms, allergy skin testing is a good idea. Do note that blood testing is not as accurate as skin testing. Testing can be important so you know exactly what to avoid and what treatments will work best. If you are “very allergic” you’ll have a stuffy, runny nose, sneezing, and will even start to feel a bit achy and fatigued. These are typical “very allergic person” symptoms and can be controlled.
Steroid or allergy-blocking (cromolyn) nasal sprays are effective for nasal symptoms. Anti-histamines called H2 blockers such as claritin and zyrtec help with itchy eyes, sneezing and runny nose. Allergy de-sensitization injections AKA “allergy shots” are injections of minute amounts of what you’re allergic to. With constant use, these reduce the immune system’s reaction to these substances. I’d like to remind you that any pharmaceutical you take has the potential to damage your GI lining integrity and give you what is ailing a good percentage of the population – leaky gut. I also suspect that allergy immunotherapy causes GI lining damage, due to the recent findings that dust mites can cause leaky gut. This isn’t proven (the allergy shot hunch)-it’s just my informed hunch.
How to Treat Allergy Symptoms Naturally
A nasal rinse with a preservative-free sterile saline solution is an affordable and easy solution which is effective in reducing nasal congestion.
This rinse will flush out any allergens or mucus from the nose. I have found this to be a more effective method of nasal irrigation for patients than “neti pots.”
I actually have my patients purchase preservative free large squeeze bottles of contact lens saline for ease of use and effectiveness to squirt the saline up into the maxillary sinuses.
Note that the little saline bottles that squirt up your nose in a “puff” are ineffective.
Use natural anti-histamines (quercetin and nettle leaf) to decrease symptoms and boost the immune system. Use a natural herbal-based decongestant spray. If you want “local” decongestant action and have a history of infections use a natural anti-bacterial, decongestant spray. If you have had sinus infections and want to prevent further infections, the ACS silver nasal spray will be quite effective in killing bacterial nasal pathogens. I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals and only use antibiotics when needed. I’m always very mindful of the gut lining and you should be too.
Many studies have shown that antibiotics are grossly over-prescribed for sinus infections and that those infections would resolve on their own, resolve with simple saline flushing, or resolve with a colloidal silver spray. Now, that said, if you have fever and or chills; go with the antibiotics. If you have to take a “round” of antibiotics, please remember to re-balance your GI tract with prebiotics and probiotics.