Are you one of those unfortunate individuals who deal with seasonal allergies? During this time of COVID-19 and quarantine, you may be getting glaring looks from strangers if you’re walking through a grocery store sneezing. Keep reading for a few things you can do to help decrease your susceptibility to allergies/hay fever. *
Symptoms of Hay Fever/Allergies (I am not discussing food allergies here)
- runny nose
- itchy, watery eyes and nose
- spring – tree pollen, specifically birch or pine
- summer/early fall – grass and weeds, especially ragweed
- all year – if you are suffering from allergies all year, this may be due to a sensitivity to a particular food, which is activating your inflammatory and immune response, making you more susceptible to external irritants
What Can You Do?
Like every other chronic, inflammatory condition, reducing your body’s response to external irritants requires a multi-faceted approach:
- Figure out what you’re allergic to by getting tested. The other option is to keep an allergy journal to track the daily pollen count in your area. This is available in many weather apps.
- Keep windows closed at home and in vehicles. Use air conditioning and add air purifiers if you can.
- Vacuum frequently using HEPA filters to decrease potential allergens. Replace carpet with wood floors if indoor allergens become a problem (cat dander and dog dander can contribute, especially in children)
- If your child has allergies which can lead to chronic ear infections and susceptibility to other illnesses, remove stuffed animals from their sleeping area, wash bedding frequently and keep an air filter in their room.
- If you spent time outside, make sure to remove your clothing and shower before you get in bed to remove any pollen (children as well)
- A neti pot can be very helpful. It cleans out the nasal passages and soothes the irritation and inflammation. Twice a day is ideal.
Eliminate sugar and processed foods, and focus on eating a diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables to maximize your health. Try an elimination diet to see if dairy or gluten could be contributing to your allergies. Foods high in quercetin can help modulate the inflammatory response and may reduce histamine. It’s very difficult to get the doses you need to make a difference, so consider adding a supplement.
- red onion
- sweet potato
- red apples
- green tea
- pineapple (high in bromelain – inhibits histamine response)
Supplements & Herbs
- Take a high quality multivitamin
- Make sure you’re in the healthy range for vitamin D levels
- EMIQ (enzymatically modified form of quercetin, which is much more absorbable)
- Consume high quality fats, consider adding an EPA/DHA supplement.
- Nettles has been effectively used to decrease the severity of allergies. I usually recommend an individual start taking it 30-60 days BEFORE the allergy season, but you can start anytime. 2-4 mL of tincture three times a day
* This is not medical advice; it is for educational purposes only. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new program, especially if you are on medication or pregnant.