Spring has sprung with force this year as drought conditions in many states have been lifted after heavy rains. While much of the country has burst into beautiful color, for some people, the sight and arrival of spring is tempered by the miserable symptoms of seasonal allergies - sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes and runny nose.
More than 50 million people in the U.S. experience allergies according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
Of course there is no single “allergy season." Many people experience a worsening of allergies like hay fever (allergic rhinitis) , although “springtime” allergies may start as early as February and last until mid-summer. Meanwhile, people who are allergic to ragweed experience symptoms later, as ragweed blooms from August to November but those who are allergic to dust mites, pet hair or mold may have symptoms throughout the year.
What Are Allergies?
An allergy is when your immune system reacts to usually harmless substances, like pollen, cat hair or peanuts. When you are exposed to an allergy trigger or allergen, your immune system produces proteins called immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies signal the release of histamine, which in turn causes your allergy symptoms.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce or control your allergy symptoms.
Reduce Exposure to Allergens
- If you are allergic to pollen, you might try to stay inside on dry and windy days. The best time to step outdoors is just after a rain, which helps to clear pollen from the air, but, beware the following day when there will be a renewed blitz. Avoid outdoor activity where possible on days when the pollen counts are high, especially in the morning says, the Mayo Clinic
- Keep indoor air clean. Tiny granules of pollen and other allergens have ways of sneaking indoors, to keep them out run the air conditioning (which use a filter) in your house and car.
- Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
- Use a high-efficiency particulate air HEPA filter in your bedroom if possible.
- Clean floors with a vacuum cleaner that has a small-particle or HEPA filter.
- Delegate gardening like weed-pulling and lawn-mowing to allergy-immune relatives, since these chores stir up allergens.
- Wear a mask! If you need to spend time in your garden or mowing your lawn, the chances of your allergies acting up will only increase. Wearing a surgical mask while in the yard can significantly decrease contact with allergen particles.
- Since you track pollen on clothes and shoes whenever you return indoors, remove clothes worn outside and for extra defensive measures, shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair or at least wipe yourself off with a damp cloth paying particular attention to your face (eyebrows, glasses / sunglasses - wipe up, not down! and rinse or replace cloth - hair and hands)
- Glasses or sunglasses offer some protection but as shown above they are also the perfect place for pollen to lodge so be sure to clean them as you can transfer pollen from them to your skin when you adjust them or take them on or off.
- Use saline to clear out your nose. If you've already begun feeling the effects of your allergies, try a saline rinse - either with a nasal irrigation device like a Neti pot or with a nasal spray - to cleanse your nasal membranes. Make sure to use proper safety procedures to avoid an infection. While this may not completely solve your issues, it may reduce some of the symptoms.
- We all love our pets, but IF they have to sleep on your bed or furniture, wipe them down with a damp cloth before they do as pollen (and mold spores) clings to pet fur. You may need to consider banning your dogs and cats from your bed and sofa during peak allergy season.
- Don't hang laundry outside, as pollen sticks to sheets and towels.
- When pollen counts are unusually high, start taking your allergy medications before the sneezing-and-coughing begin.
Finding the Right Allergy Treatment for You
Many treatments are available to reduce symptoms of allergies including OTC or prescription medications such as pills, nasal sprays, eye drops and allergy shots, depending on the severity of your symptoms and willingness to deal with side effects:
- Antihistamines which block histamine
Side effects can include dizziness, drowsiness (sleepiness), dry mouth, blurred vision, urinary retention, increased or decreased blood pressure, headache, abnormal heart rate, nausea, trouble breathing, tiredness (fatigue), and weakness.
- Decongestants which constrict irritated blood vessels for relief of stuffiness and congestion.
According to WebMD side effects can include fever, rash, persistent headache, hallucinations, seizure, or even death.
- Leukotriene Modifiers block or limit the production of leukotrienes which are involved in asthma and allergy symptoms.
Healthline and the FDA say although rare, the side effects (montelukast) include: agitation, aggression, anxiety, dream abnormalities, insomnia, hallucinations, depression, irritability, restlessness, suicidal thinking and behavior, and tremors.
- Corticosteroids reduce inflammation related to allergies.
Oral corticosteroid medications may cause side effects such as increased blood pressure, fluid retention, weight gain, mood swings and glaucoma, according to Mayo Clinic
- Immunotherapy uses titration to train your system not to react to allergens.
- Natural health option: AllerFree™ is safe, natural option. It is a combination of key enzymes and herbs that promote healthy digestion while supporting healthy respiratory function. Rather than suppressing the bodies’ reaction, it works to flush the allergens and chemicals through the digestive system. The protease enzymes digest foreign proteins before the immune system can react to them.
Allergies and Children
While there are many people who prefer to suffer in silence rather than deal with the ‘drugged up’ feeling of being medicated, there are also those who cannot take allergy medications because of other conditions and those of low body weight, including children when dosage becomes an issue.
In a new poll from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan, parents admit that when it comes to giving allergy medicine to kids, they had trouble figuring out the right dose. They also admit they use adult versions of the drugs instead of child versions.
55 percent of parents polled said they had given their child allergy meds in the past year and 1 in 5 parents (21 percent) reported that it was hard to calculate the right dose of allergy medications for their child.
While 15 percent of parents gave their child an adult form of the allergy medicine, one-third gave their child the dose recommended for adults, while two-thirds used a partial adult dose.
Although adult allergy medicines may contain the same ingredients as children’s formulas, the labels on the adult versions don't always include instructions on how much of the medicine to give children, according to Mott.
Dr. Gary Freed, a pediatrician at Mott’s, said "parents should be very careful to give their child the correct dose. Doses greater than recommended for children can result in more severe side effects”.
Vitamins and Minerals Which May Provide Support for Seasonal Allergies:
Magnesium may ease breathing. This mineral helps relieve constricted airways in the lungs. One study found that lab animals severely deficient in magnesium had higher blood levels of histamine, when exposed to allergens than animals getting enough magnesium.
Vitamin C may reduce histamine. Studies show that high levels of vitamin C may reduce the levels of histamine released and may speed up their breakdown. Other studies say that vitamin C deficiency can send blood levels of histamine soaring.
Bioflavonoids may help reduce release of histamines too. The chemical structure of bioflavonoids is similar to the drug used in Asthma inhalers. Some nutrients and foods can reduce a histamine response and others can increase, it so it is wise to know which is which.
In conclusion, dealing with any type of allergy, in particular, the deluge that is seasonal allergies, must be a combination of mitigation and, choosing a therapeutic response which balances your need with any downside. Serious allergic reactions need a higher level of treatment. Even the most basic level of response should be continuously monitored for negative side effects to avoid overdose, particularly in those who have low bodyweight (children or small adults), or sensitivities (immune health, high blood pressure or other health issues).
Other uses for digestive enzymes: Pure Essence Labs was the first company to use enzymes to keep yeast overgrowth in check read: Candida Albicans and Candex™
More on AllerFree™
AllerFree™ is designed to give your body the tools to naturally support healthy respiration.
AllerFree™ is a combination of key enzymes and herbs that promote healthy digestion while supporting healthy respiratory function. When taken between meals, the protease enzymes digest foreign proteins before the immune system can react to them. For added support burdock root and stinging nettle leaf have been added both are known to help support a healthy respiratory system. In addition, quercetin which helps to sustain a balanced immune response, has also been added.
Written by: Laine Dakin-Salomonson
Side effects to antihistamine shots http://www.medicinenet.com/antihistamines-injection/article.htm
Side effects of decongestants http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-2277-9012/decongestant-oral/antihistamines-decongestants---oral/details#side-effects
Side effects to leukotrienes http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/leukotriene#2
Side effects of oral corticosteroids https://www.reference.com/health/side-effects-corticosteroids-24288119d5b35f39
Poll From C.S Mott Children’s Hospital, Michigan: http://www.mottchildren.org/news/archive/201704/parents-struggle-choosing-allergy-medicine-their-children