I don’t know about you guys, but things are tough on the allergy front here in Baltimore right now. It seems like everyone I know has itchy eyes, sneezing, sore throat, and brain fog. Focus seems impossible, and my contacts consistently try to jump out of my eyes by 2pm every day.
So what’s the deal? Seasonal allergies happen when the mucus membranes of the nasal lining are inflamed by pollen in the air. Our bodies view the pollen as an invader, and responds accordingly, same as when we have a cold. Typically this isn’t a huge issue, but pollen levels seem to be on the rise every spring. Some research indicates that climate change has caused the rise in pollen levels year to year, and the numbers are only going up.
Not great news, I know. But there are ways to help ease the suffering through the spring.
Vitamin C Getting some extra vitamin C in your diet can actually help with allergy symptoms. Vitamin C helps stop the formation of histamine, which is the cause of all those gross feelings, where as an anti-histamine (like Benadryl) work by interfering with histamine after it’s produced. Eat some extra citrus fruits, or try an Emergen-C packet during tough pollen days.
Quercetin Quercetin is actually a bioflavonoid (the natural pigments found in fruits and veggies) found in onions oddly enough, but it’s a really effective histamine inhibitor. Best absorbed when taken with some Vitamin C.
Take Care of your Gut Gut health has a huge effect on all systems in the body, so when it’s not working right, things get a little crazy. When the digestive system isn’t at it’s best, a condition called “Leaky Gut” can occur, where the lining of the intestine become porous, allowing bacteria, undigested food and toxins into the blood stream. The body sees this as a threat, which kicks up inflammation in the body. More inflammation = more allergy symptoms.
So what can you do? Take a good quality probiotic supplement, and eat lots of fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir. If you suspect you have a food allergy, try an elimination diet for two weeks to see how your body feels.
Acupuncture I’m no acupuncturist, but I work with several lovely practitioners and I’ve experienced first hand how acupuncture can help with allergy symptoms. Can’t afford private practice? Check out www.pocacoop.com to find your nearest community acupuncture clinic (or if you are in Baltimore, check out Mend Community Acupuncture, where I work and get treated!). In community acupuncture, you’re treated in a group setting, so you’re able to get way discounted care.
Neti Pot / Saline Rinse Nasal irrigation is about as fun as it sounds, but this stuff works. Get yourself a cute little neti pot, fill it with a saline solution (usually included with the pot) and try not to drown yourself in your bathroom sink. It takes a few tries to get the angle right, but once you do your sinuses will be feeling sweet relief. If you 100% can’t get the neti pot thing going, try a saline rinse like Simply Saline. My grandmother swears by it, and uses it on a daily basis to keep the ick at bay during the winter season.
Above all, if you’re feeling crappy from the pollen in the air, take it easy on yourself and get some extra rest.
What are your go-to allergy remedies? Let me know in the comments below!