Spring allergies are striking a little early this year. The East coast has been unseasonably warm and the trees are in bud, blossoms are in full bloom, along with daffodils and tulips—Mother Nature is in a hurry.
With all of this abundant growth activity, come the dreaded allergies—if you are a sufferer, you are already experiencing some typical allergy symptom such as:.
• Sniffling and sneezing
• Itchy eyes, ears or throat
• Clear mucus
• Dry, scratchy throat
But, what might begin as simple itching and sneezing, can potentially turn into something much worse. As your nasal passages and sinuses become more swollen and congested, sinus infections can develop and as the infected mucus draining from your sinuses drips into your stomach, it can make any gastroesophageal problems like reflux or GERD much worse. If the mucus drips into your lungs, you could have major irritation in your airways and lungs.
Asthma sufferers are at particular risk, as a major flare up could lead to bronchitis, as well as potential ear problems if the mucus drips over your Eustacian tube. This tube connects your middle ear to the outside of your head and if it becomes blocked you will not be able to release the pressure in your ear. You know that awful pain you get when flying with congestion!
Sleep apnea is another complication that arises from allergies or sinus problems. Left untreated, sleep apnea can result in in a heart attack or stroke while sleeping.
Not to throw you into a panic, as most of us generally suffer quality of life issues from seasonal allergies that can be helped with a variety of natural remedies. Others, however, do need to see a physician if symptoms persist.
Some general tips for easing the effects of spring allergies include:
1. Boost your immune system. By keeping your immune system in good shape, even if you can’t avoid getting sick, you will be able to deal with the symptoms and recover faster than if you have a weak or compromised immune system. Natural immune boosters include:
• A good probiotic with a therapeutic dose of CFU’s – try Vidazorb ® chewable probiotics. They taste great, do not require refrigeration and each chew delivers 10 billion CFU’s.
• Reishi mushrooms are another great immune booster, Mushroom Wisdom is a good brand to try.
• Eat a diet rich in immune boosting fruits and vegetables including dark leafy green, watercress, berries and acai.
• Sleep, give the body a chance to restore itself. If you are having trouble sleeping try a natural sleep aid like Relaxzen, Homeostasis Labs Sleep Relief or Rescue Sleep. These will help you relax and drift into a natural sleep without waking up groggy the next day.
2. Clean up your indoor air. Indoor air can be up to ten times more polluted than outdoor air and this can be a trigger for allergies and asthma. If you cover smells with conventional air fresheners it can have the effect of masking the pollutants and may even act as an irritant. Certain houseplants can help freshen the air, removing up to 90% of the toxins from the room. NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America have a list of common plants they tested to determine the best natural filters. The list includes Mums, gerbera daises and the peace lily.
Some specific remedies to relieve symptoms include:
• Amrita Headache Relief – an aromatherapy roll on that smells great and works fast
• Homeostasis Labs Headache Relief – a homeopathic remedy that I swear by. Works faster than any OTC headache reliever I have ever used
• Homeostasis Labs Allergy Relief – really keeps all the nasty symptoms under control (they also have Cough and Cold Relief formulas for adults and children)
• Zinc Lozenges help to lessen cold symptoms, as does Zicam
• Neti-pot or nasal wash like Nasopure to flush out the nasal passages and reduce allergens
• Water – keep well hydrated
Avoid foods and beverages that can exacerbate symptoms:
• Dairy – increases mucous and inflammation
• Wheat – get tested for wheat allergies. If you are allergic, eating wheat will only make you feel worse
• Alcohol – wait until you feel better
• Cut back on coffee, switch to green tea for the duration. If you can’t survive without the caffeine try GreenCoffex a natural green coffee extract.
If your symptoms are persisting, see your physician, you may need prescription medication. Just remember any antibiotic regimen needs to be followed with probiotics to repopulate the good flora.
A little prevention is worth a lot of cure, so stay healthy and allergy-free this Spring.