Lately, I’ve seen lots of adults and children in the clinic suffering from seasonal allergies. Cough, congestion, itchy eyes, irritated skin- trying all the over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines and nasal steroids. Often I get asked, ” Is there anything natural that can help?”.
Allergies are symptoms of an oversensitive immune system, fighting against agents it see as foreign.
- First minimize your exposure. You can eliminate pollen, dust and pet dander by closing windows and doors especially between 5 and 10 am, removing heavy bedding, drapes and carpets.
- Register on Pollen.com to get a regular update on your local pollen count.
- Thoroughly dust and vacuum the house weekly. Avoid using chemical cleaners, use simple vinegar or pine oil.
- Encase your mattress and pillow in an allergy-proof casing.
- Install a HEPA filter in your room and an electrostatic air filter on your air conditioner.
- Keep the humidity in the house under 50% to prevent mold and dust mites.
- Add houseplants that remove indoor air pollutants such as philodendrons and spider plants.
- Kill dust mites at least twice a year by spraying carpets, drapes and upholstery. Wash bedding in cold water weekly. Add eucalyptus oil to one ounce of detergent to kill more dust mites. Keep mattresses enclosed with a mattress cover.
- Bathing and shampooing nightly can remove all pollen on the skin.
- Widely used but unproven herbal remedies include angelica, skullcap, coleus root, eyebright, goldenrod tea, goldenseal, licorice root, nettle leaves, plantain, green clay, and calendula.
- Dietary supplements like Vitamin C (2gm) has been shown to help allergies and asthma. Essential Fatty Acids (1500mg Fish Oil) has been well studied for allergies and inflammation. Other supplements such as Vitamin A, B6, E, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc and capsaican have been recommended as allergy remedies but not supported by studies.
- Acupuncture prior to allergy season can help to prevent allergy symptoms.
- Desensitization with oral, sublingual, transdermal or intramuscular delivery of pollens can gently and slowy acclimate your immune system to allergens.
Seek out an Integrative Practitioner in your area to guide you to an allergy program to include appropriate testing, over-the-counter and prescription treatments linked with nutrition, lifestyle, and natural remedies. Gesundheit!!