Your Solution to Surviving Spring Allergies
It is that time of year again. Time to break out of our winter shells, dust ourselves off and go outside. It’s also a good time to switch up the supplements you take, favoring hay fever and allergy supplements to those for cold and flu.
The beautiful flowers all around have begun to bloom in bursts of pinks, blues, yellows and whites. The trees are springing to life, the birds are chirping, everyone wants to go outside to have a lovely time.
The first day of spring has arrived, and the thrill and rejuvenation that the sun’s light brings can be felt by all. You take a quick stroll around the block and WHAM, suddenly you are coughing and sneezing. Your throat is itchy, your skin feels sweaty, and your eyes water.
You’ve been hit! Now you have to deal with the juxtaposition of happy spring and awful allergies. What a disappointment! The happiness of spring quickly turns to dread because unfortunately, spring time means a heavy case of hay fever and seasonal allergies!
What Is Hay Fever?
Hay fever (otherwise known as allergic rhinitis) is primarily an allergy that affects the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose.
The symptoms of hay fever include:
- Itchy nose, throat or roof of the mouth
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Runny nose
- Swollen skin around eyes (Allergic Shiners)
- Watery, itchy eyes (Allergic Conjunctivitis)
Just because allergic rhinitis is referred to as hay fever doesn’t mean hay is involved at all. And you don’t have to have a fever.Seasonal allergic rhinitis and perennial allergic rhinitis are two forms which afflict millions every year.
Seasonal refers to allergies which occur in spring and have to do with what is growing, such as pollens from weeds and flowers that only bloom at that time of year. Perennial refers to those who experience these kinds of issues all year long though this is usually a result of environmental constants, such as dust mites or the dander on your pet, even mold or cockroaches can play a roll. This would also fall under the category of food allergies as most don’t realize they are allergic to a food and may keep eating it not exhibiting symptoms from that food for days.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Research suggests that roughly 8% of adults in the U.S. have hay fever and worldwide, allergic rhinitis affects up to 35% of the overall population. That is a lot of people!
Studies also show that as populations grow up to be more indoors than raised to play outside, our overall immune systems are not as strong as they used to be. We deal with an overall sterile environment with the advent of technology. And though we are progressing leaps and bounds, it does give one pause: What ARE seasonal allergies and what CAN I do about them?
What To Avoid If You Have Seasonal Allergies Or Hay Fever
Thankfully, even if you are allergic to certain things… you aren’t powerless. We are going to talk about supplements that can help fight hay fever and allergies in a moment. But first, let’s look at what you can do to avoid having intense reactions to common allergens.
This will help supplements do their jobs in keeping your body strong. Rather than inundating them with common allergens, consider avoiding them all together when possible.
Tree And Grass Pollen
If you live in particular areas of the Northwest you are going to find yourself completely inundated with tree and grass pollen. Across the country as well, things come into bloom at certain seasons.
In areas where you experience actual seasons, when the spring comes, everything comes to life and you can actually see the pollen on your cars and sidewalks. You may notice that you have no allergies one season, but they then flare up the next.
If you can see the pollen, imagine what you are breathing in!
If you spent your whole winter indoors to avoid the snow and rain, it can be quite a shock to the system to then suddenly inhale all of this extra stuff that is just floating around!
Allergies to tree and grass pollen can be particularly tricky as well, because for some of us it is not an instant reaction. When the springtime season comes around, you might be fine for several weeks or even a month before you start to feel it. And when you do, WHAM, it’s like you have been hit with a ton of bricks.
In fact, most people who go to the emergency room or urgent care with breathing problems feel like they have walking pneumonia, when in reality it just took their body a while to say “That is IT, enough is enough!”
Most often times, during the season when tree and grass pollen exposure is at the max, your doctor may not prescribe antibiotics or cold medicine at all because they know that what you really need, or what will help you the most is a good dose of saline solution to the sinuses. It can be very frustrating because we feel so sick when we go to the doctor. BUT, doctor knows best. Rinsing out your sinuses with the saline solution or a neti pot can bring pretty consistent relief all springtime long.
How does one avoid tree and grass pollen?
If you live in say, the Willamette Valley in Oregon where the pollen count is the highest in the United States, these types of tree and grass pollens become a part of your life. You might try avoiding big fields and such, but otherwise it is not so much about avoiding tree and grass pollen, (as that is somewhat of an impossibility being surrounded by such lush nature all of the time) it is more about coping and trying to lessen the symptoms overall until the season changes or your body becomes accustomed to the pollens which can take time.
Some prefer to wear face masks to make it easier on themselves, some have humidifiers at home to try to calm down all of the swelling in the mucous membranes.
The real goal is to just not be outside so much. But after having come from such a dark season, trying to tell the mass populace to not go outside as much to experience the beautiful sunlight is like asking bees not to taste all of the delicious flowers that are blooming! It is simply just not going to happen. Therefore, try to keep your outside contact minimal if you can so that you can diminish the effects of tree and grass pollen.
Dust And Pet Dander
We love our pets. We love our homes. But dust and pet dander in the home can be difficult to manage. Keeping on top of dusting in our busy lives is not an easy task, neither is maintaining a clean and lush coat on our pets. But dust clogs up pores, it gets into your nose and lungs and causes inflammation. If your bedroom specifically is dusty, just think about how much dust you are inhaling all night long! It is no wonder we feel unwell if our house is messy.
As much as it is hard to say ‘keep your house clean,’ it is a viable and important thing to do. If you don’t have the time, see if you have a friend you could pay to take care of it for you. Some friends might need the extra cash. But the idea is that anything you can do to eliminate the sources of inflammation, you should do it. With pet dander, this is particularly tricky because the dander is a part of the skin on your animal. It is also under their nails. So a pesky play fight, or a comforting snuggle could be what does you in!
An important thing to note about pet dander is that you can easily get tested with your doctor to see if you are susceptible and they can tell you what would be best for you and how to get that taken care of. Most often, just cleaning your pet somewhat regularly to get rid of old skin cells will be helpful. General rules: Keep your house and animal clean.
Spores And Mold
Spores and mold are two of the most insidious and dangerous allergens that exist. While dust and pet dander or hay fever and seasonal allergies might affect your breathing, it is mostly treatable.
Light exposure to spores and mold can cause terrible coughing and sneezing and irritation both of the throat and nose, but can also cause rashes and headaches. If you get a big enough dose of black mold into your lungs, it is very difficult to come back from as it poisons you from the inside. A de-humidifier in a humid room goes a long way. You also just want to make sure not to lean furniture too close to walls or you are going to want to plan to clean behind them with bleach on a regular basis.
Supplements For Treating Hay Fever and Seasonal Allergies
Spring can be the most beautiful time of year. There are many different supplements that can be applied to daily life in order to have a better time. Many of the treatments you will find with regards to supplemental aiding in treating hay fever and seasonal allergies is going to revolve around strengthening your immune system over time.
Unlike antihistamines which help make your quality of life better in the moment, taking supplements provide small doses of a particular kind of plant to make your ability to cope with the allergens around you much easier.
Bee Pollen is what a young bee eats. It is world renowned as one of nature’s most nourishing foods. Bee pollen actually has most of the nutrients that a human being needs in their lifetime as so much of the makeup of the protein in the bee pollen is in the form of free amino acids which can be processed right into the body. Bee Pollen can be broken down into supplements for human consumption.
How Can Bee Pollen Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
It seems somewhat counter intuitive to actually use bee pollen to help you with your allergies, but the practice of using it to strengthen your immune system is long lived. Native tribes all over the globe depend on the pollen in their area. Research shows that bee pollen which is extracted by the bee has part of the plant in it, which means that in small doses over time your immune system can become stronger so that it can fight against the pollen inducing plant life in your area. If you start this practice in winter by taking just one supplement a day it could make all the difference when the flowers start blooming in Spring.
Bioflavonoids is a general term used to group together the compounds found in many fruit food sources. We used to, as a practice, refer to these as vitamins generally because these represent the nutrients on a broken down level inside our food.
How Can Bioflavonoids Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
When it comes to how bioflavonoids treat hay fever and seasonal allergies, the answer can be sometimes ambiguous. There are so many sources out there providing information on what they are and what they do. This is because bioflavonoids range in a wide spectrum as to uses and benefits.
When it comes to how you should treat hay fever and seasonal allergies, the answer is often too simple for most people. The entire work of the bioflavonoids, in say, green tea, is to boost your immune system. This should be the primary goal when bringing these properties into your daily life.
If you like tea, you have probably heard of the health benefits of green tea in particular. This is because green tea is full of these important polyphenols, such as antioxidants. Drinking green tea, or eating citrus fruits, berries, parsley, onions, or even drinking red wine on occasion, always with moderation, can boost your immune system and help keep those allergies at bay!
Dong Quai is an herb found in the family of parsley and was found originally in China as well as Japan. The practice of using the Dong Quai herb is to harvest the root
How Can Dong Quai Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
The Dong Quai root is used as an anti-inflammatory. And though you might see it all over the place being used for women’s health concerns, you will find that the anti-inflammatory properties aid in calming down those swollen mucous membranes to calm down symptoms.
Eyebright is an edible and somewhat obscure plant that is a part of the Figwort family. You can take it as an allergy supplement as a pill or in a tea or tincture.
How Can Eyebright Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
You can use whole foliage, including the leaves, stems, and flowers for inflamed nasal passages and to calm down itchy eyes, as well as bronchial concerns associated with the common cold.
Flaxseed is commonly known for its fibrous texture and that it can be used as an appetite suppressant/diuretic. You can find flaxseed oil in the grocery store and cook with it. Additionally, it can be purchased as a hay fever and allergy supplement in pill form.
How Can Flaxseed Oil Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
Flaxseed oil has many different purposes in addition to the weight loss effect in that it can decrease inflammation and helps to detoxify the body. Since so often our allergies stem from blockages in the body, flaxseed works really well to flush everything out.
Ginkgo Biloba is a tree of Chinese origin which has beautiful leaves that look like fans and vibrant yellow flowers. Originally only grown in the Orient, it is now commonly grown across the globe.
How Can Ginkgo Biloba Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
In medicine it is often used for memory support and to aid in allowing blood to circulate in a more free flowing manner, but for allergies it is known to help toxins clear out of the body. In Ayurvedic medicine it is known to help restore balance, which so many of us need in our very busy and stressful lives.
Milk Thistle is from Europe and consists of a purple flower which is used for a vast array of natural medicine remedies. It is most commonly used as a liver supplement because it helps to detoxify the body.
How Can Milk Thistle Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
Not only does Milk Thistle help to cleanse the liver, which helps the overall health of the individual, but it operates as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Since so much of our allergy symptoms are related to those swollen mucus membranes, it is helpful to really hone in on the healing anti-inflammatory properties of this allergy supplement.
Red clover is related to the pea family. It has a dense flower top with leaves that have three sections. It is helpful when added to teas but is also used in honey. You will often see Red Clover honey, which will have local clover compounds.
How Can Red Clover Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
Red clover can treat hay fever and seasonal allergies because it helps the body overall clear up any problematic build ups. It is used as a cancer treatment, and for female issues, but in particular aids in issues with indigestion as a tonic to remove the waste from our body that makes us more susceptible to hay fever and seasonal allergies.
Keep in mind that this particular herb shouldn’t be used for liver problems or with contraceptive pills or blood thinners. As always, refer to your doctor before taking anything for hay fever and seasonal allergies.
Stinging nettle is a weed that has little fibrous spikes which tend to cause allergic reactions for anyone who touches them, similar to the rashes one might get when allergic to pet dander. It usually manifests in small bumps on the skin which calm down over time depending on the severity of the allergy. Check in with your doctor before contemplating using Stinging Nettle for hay fever and seasonal allergies.
How Can Stinging Nettle Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
Stinging Nettle can treat hay fever and seasonal allergies because it is very similar, in a sense, to bee pollen. Bee pollen is consumed in small doses over time to strengthen the body against allergies. The properties of stinging nettle are very similar. This herb will help to boost your immune system and rebuilds the adrenal glands after depending on caffeine for years and years. You can use this in tincture form, or even a tea.
Vitamin A can be found in green leafy vegetables and other green, orange and yellow vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, squash, some dairy products and fortified cereals. Additionally, beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body. You can often get required Vitamin A amounts through taking a multivitamin, but because of the healing properties that it contains your primary care provider may request you take additional doses of the supplement.
How Can Vitamin A Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
Vitamin A increases cell turnover and increases collagen leading to a fuller dermis and helps to remodel the skin’s surface, in this way it helps with sores under the nose from blowing too much or just repairing dry and cracked skin that can come from severe allergies.
Vitamin C is found in fresh fruits like oranges, lemons and kale. It boosts your immunity, which can also be beneficial to allergies too. You will often find Vitamin C as a main ingredient in teas, tinctures and other supplements for allergies.
How Can Vitamin C Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
Since Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, it is important to take in vitamin C daily to boost the immune system and to prevent you from getting ill after allergies have weakened you. Research shows that having some orange juice every day strengthens your mucous membranes so they aren’t so susceptible to swelling.
Vitamin E can be found in corn oil, soybean oil and most abundantly in sunflower and safflower oils. It is suggested to use Vitamin E as a topical supplement to combat skin reactions to allergies as well as internally in pill or oil form.
How Can Vitamin E Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
Vitamin E is trusted vitamin for overall respiratory and anti inflammatory health. Additionally, it can help to soothe dry cracked skin around the nose. The coating protects the sensitive mucous membrane and can hasten the healing process once allergies are alleviated.
Yarrow is a powerful herb that has many uses. Once it was thought to be an herb of demons, called the Evil one and Devil’s Nettle. Today it is known to promote healing and to reduce swelling.
How Can Yarrow Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
Yarrow assists hay fever and seasonal allergies by reducing congestion and the secretions that form as a result of allergies agitating mucus membranes. It is a fever reducer and a blood clotter.
Zinc is found in abundance in animal foods, red meat, poultry and liver. It is an essential mineral that can often become depleted. Zinc deficiency can exacerbate allergy and hay fever symptoms.
How Can Zinc Treat Hay Fever And Seasonal Allergies?
Zinc boosts the immune system which helps prevent symptoms of hay fever and seasonal allergies to create normal immunal function and is known to shorten the life of the common cold.
Other Ways To Treat Your Hay Fever and Seasonal Allergies
Avoid Allergy Triggers
It is hard to avoid allergy triggers if you are very sensitive or if you are in the throes of an attack. Be gentle with yourself, get lots of rest, and try to avoid large outdoor areas with high exposure to grass and tree pollen. If you are having strong allergic reactions to your pet, try not to let them climb all over your face. Just minimize the potential allergy triggers until your body has had a chance to calm down after using anti-inflammatory methods.
Exercise is something you hear about all of the time. The benefits of a quick jog, or a long hike are huge. When it comes to hay fever and seasonal allergies you are more affected the weaker you are. Therefore strengthening your lungs and heart by getting cardio in is always going to be helpful. When you are physically strong, your body is capable of taking on a lot more.
It is easy to think that you can’t eat healthy. It is either too expensive, or too much work, but facts are facts: You are what you eat. If you spend a lot of time eating junk, you will not be able to combat the hay fever and seasonal allergies you are going to run into in any given season. But if you fill your body with beautiful fruits and vegetables, healthy portions and supplements, hay fever and seasonal allergies won’t stand a chance!
Don’t Let Allergies Keep You Under the Weather
Hay fever and seasonal allergies are nothing to sniff at. Remember that preventative treatment/maintenance is really the best way to enjoy the seasons as they come and go. If you set yourself up with a list of supplements to talk to your doctor about, they will give you the right direction to go so that you do all that you want to do no matter what time of year it is to treat your body with care and respect while giving it the supplements that it needs to fight off hay fever and allergy symptoms.