Happy Spring! It’s the time of year that so many of us look forward to. We begin to appreciate the longer hours of daylight and the beautiful array of colors breaking free from their dormant state of winter. Spring is the known as the “quintessential time of creating, cleansing, activity and movement,” writes Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald. It’s a time of emerging and renewing; unless it’s serving as a reminder to renew your allergy medication.
With 19.9 million adults and 5.6 million children being diagnosed with hay fever (allergic rhinitis) in the past 12 months, it is easy to understand why Spring can be a time of stress and discomfort for many. Allergies to environmental triggers like pollen, spores, mold, and dust affect the respiratory system and bring on a tissue box full of annoying symptoms.
According to Dr. Lisa Lewis, “An allergy is an overaggressive immune response triggered by ingesting certain foods, touching certain substances, or inhaling an irritant such as pollen or animal dander.” You are already at an increased risk of experiencing seasonal allergies if you have:
- a family history of allergies or autoimmune conditions
- exposure to cigarette smoke as a child/adult
- frequent usage of antibiotics
- a sub-optimal vitamin D level
So, how should we go about combatting an overly aggressive immune system?
Modify Your Diet.
- Ensure you are drinking adequate amounts of water (i.e. half your body weight in ounces of water. Ex. If you weight 150lbs, you should drink at least 75 oz of water/day.)
- Consume a colorful, nutrient-dense (i.e. vitamins A, B’s, C, D, E) and Omega 3 rich diet
- Reduce inflammatory foods (i.e. sugar, artificial sweeteners, dairy, red meat, etc.)
- Eat slowly. Chew thoroughly.
Alter Your Lifestyle.
- Obtain restorative sleep every night (7-9 hours)
- Organize your living and work spaces to reduce stress and promote harmony
- Incorporate gentle exercise to get your lymphatic system moving
- Establish support from health-promoting practitioners ( i.e. Functional Nutritionist, Acupuncturist, Chiropractor, etc.) to address underlying issues like leaky gut, anxiety/depression or misalignment.
- Practice forgiveness
Change Your Environment.
- Avoid synthetic fragrances in perfumes, cleaners, air fresheners, candles
- Use non-toxic cleaners to avoid eye, lung and skin irritation
- Test your home and office for mold. Seek a professional mold remediator if it is found.
- Consider removing items that collect dust (i.e. carpets, drapes)
- Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum regularly to clean your home
- Use HEPA filters on your home’s HVAC system. Change at least every 3 months.
- Refrain from allowing your pets to sleep in your bedroom
Now that those April showers have passed and the Summer flowers are upon us, put these tips to good use. Ease your allergy symptoms so you have time to smell the roses.
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Allergies: Natural Solutions – AANP – American Association of Naturopathic Physicians: Natural Medicine. Real Solutions. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.naturopathic.org/article_content.asp?article=757
FastStats. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm
Fitzgerald, P. (2019). Spring and Chinese Medicine: Wisdom for Cleansing, Renewal, and Peace of Mind – Thrive Global. Retrieved from https://thriveglobal.com/stories/spring-and-chinese-medicine-wisdom-for-cleansing-renewal-and-peace-of-mind/
Frieri, M., & Valluri, A. (2011). Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for allergic disorders and immune mechanisms. Allergy And Asthma Proceedings, 32(6), 438-444. doi: 10.2500/aap.2011.32.3485
Fuhrman, J. (2019). Does diet influence seasonal allergies?. Retrieved from https://www.drfuhrman.com/get-started/eat-to-live-blog/131/does-diet-influence-seasonal-allergies
Hodges, R. (2019). 6 Tips for Fighting Seasonal Allergies Naturally – Kara Fitzgerald ND Naturopathic Doctor. Retrieved from https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2015/05/07/6-tips-for-naturally-dealing-with-seasonal-allergies/
Lewis, L. (2019). Natural and Alternative Remedies for Seasonal Allergies – AANP. Retrieved from https://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=117
Patterson, A. M., Yildiz, V. O., Klatt, M. D., & Malarkey, W. B. (2013). Perceived stress predicts allergy flares. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, 112(4), 317–321. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2013.07.013
Disclaimer: This information is intended for educational purposes only. Please consult with a qualified practitioner.