Sneezy, Stuffy and Itchy...the 3 Allergy Dwarfs
Sometimes it feels like we just can’t catch a break! First it was flu season, then it was (and is) the coronavirus, and now it’s allergy season. It seems like anytime you cough or sneeze, everyone around you glares with fear. It’s exhausting to have to keep explaining your allergies to others during this scary time. An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Pollen is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies. Often it’s tree pollen in the spring, grasses in the summer, and weeds in the fall. Symptoms typically include a runny nose, congestion, nasal itching, sneezing, and watery eyes.
Although any abnormal bodily feeling may be scary, we know that Coronavirus does not have the same symptoms as allergies. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 consist of a deep chronic cough, body aches, fever, loss of smell and taste, and shortness of breath. These symptoms usually occur 5 days after exposure. You can take a deep breath now, your sneezing is not from the Coronavirus!
Let’s get back to talking about allergies. The root cause of allergy symptoms comes from the immune system. When pollen starts floating in the air, our bodies release histamines to help our bodies get rid of triggers that bother us. Essentially, your body sees pollen as a trigger and activates your body’s defense system. These histamines try to rid the body of triggers as fast as possible, causing us to sneeze, tear up, and itch as a response. That is why antihistamines are taken to block the symptoms. For those of you who are worried about taking a benedryl for um-tenth day in a row,we can use all natural remedies to treat seasonal allergies as well. The following supplements work to reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and treat the true cause of allergies:
Vitamin C: probably the most commonly known, this is an antioxidant that stabilizes most cells in the body and reduces histamine. They are often available is citrus flavored chewables, making it easier to consume. My recommended dose is 2 grams everyday for the healthy adult.
Quercetin: This is bioflavonoid (otherwise known as a plant compound) found in red wine, grapefruit, onions, apples, and black tea. This has been used for thousands of years as an all natural form of medicine.
Bromelain: Most commonly found in pineapples, this may reduce edema (aka swelling) and inflammation of the mucous membranes. My recommended dose is 400 milligrams 3 times everyday.
Stinging Nettle: This is a plant that is traditionally used to treat painful muscles and joints. Many people also use it to treat early urinary tract infections. My recommended dose is 300 milligrams everyday.
Probiotics: These are healthy bacteria used to support the immune system. Normally we find probiotics in things like greek yogurt and fermented foods. I recommend 10 billion cfu daily of broad spectrum.
Butterbur: This a swamp plant that was found to be as effective as Zyrtec. For dosage I recommend 75 mg once or twice daily
Spirulina: This is a form of blue-green algae. It can be taken as a powder or in capsule form. I recommend 1tsp per day mixed with about 4 ounces of water.
Astragalus: This is an herb used in Chinese medicine that boosts the immune system, treats chronic asthma, and has anti-fatigue effects. For dosage I recommend 2 80-mg capsules of astragalus extract for 6 weeks.
Essential Oils: Essential oils have grown in popularity in recent years due to their multi-use ability. These can be used in a diffuser in your house or diluted 5-10 parts water to 1 part oil and rubbed on the skin. Personally, I prefer diffusing it.
Peppermint: can unclog sinuses and relieve scratchy throats
Eucalyptus: expectorant and has anti-inflammatory effects
Lemon: supports lymphatic drainage, boosts immune function, and is anti-bacterial
Local Honey- This contains the pollen specific from your local area in small doses and can help you build up immunity. I recommend dosage of 1 tsp daily.
N-Acetyl Cysteine: This is a potent antioxidant that is used to break up mucus. I recommend dosage of 600 -1200 mg daily.
Saltwater rinse or spray: Saltwater helps clear pollen and irritants from the nose. There are commercial products that are saltwater nasal spray or you can just use a Neti-pot. This you can use as needed for nasal congestion.
Products that contain these supplements: This may be the best method as these are pharmaceutical grade supplements that contain multiple ingredients. I recommend any of the top 3 products.
Aller C: Vital Nutrients
SeasonAll: Douglas Lab
Diamine oxidase: breaks down excess histamine in your body
Although it may have felt like the last few weeks have been dragging on forever, spring is definitely here. Seasonal allergies are common for many people, but don’t let that prevent you from getting outside and enjoying this nice weather! Hopefully you now have some extra tools to get you through the season. Here’s to a Happy, Healthier you!