April 19th 2014 - Now that it is finally getting warm, allergy season will soon be upon us. There are ways to work on allergy relief other than the typical decongestants, steroids and antihistamines that are recommended by conventional doctors.
It is important to understand that seasonal allergies, although common, are not normal. If your body is in balance (well-nourished, not inflamed, and not overly burdened by toxins), then you should not be hyper-responsive to elements in the natural world. (That said, we do live in “a world out of balance,” where not everything found in the great outdoors is “natural” anymore.) Therefore while working to avoid allergens and treat allergy symptoms acutely, it is important to think of long-term strategies that will help you be less reactive and over time heal the tendency to have allergies.
It is easy to find information on decreasing your exposure allergens, so I won’t cover this topic in depth. Some of the measures include staying indoors when allergen counts are high, keeping windows closed, using air conditioners and air purifiers, and wearing a mask over your nose and mouth during times of exposure. Using an eye wash cup and a neti pot for nasal and sinus irrigation also functions to remove the offending particles, often pollens, from the sensitive mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, and sinuses.
Decreasing General Reactivity
Many of us eat foods such as dairy and wheat that cause low levels of inflammation in our bodies. Genetically modified foods (GMOs) such as soy, which are common ingredients in processed foods are a big cause of inflammation these days. When the body is already in a state of low grade inflammation, then exposure to environmental allergens is more likely to result in allergy symptoms. Therefore if you eat a hypoallergenic whole foods diet (meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts) and take anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric and boswellia, you will be less likely to experience seasonal allergies.
Each person is different and what works for one person may not help another, so some trial and error may be necessary to find what works for you. Here are some ideas of options to try:
Herbs/supplements/vitamins: Many people have found that optimizing their vitamin D level will help with allergies. It is good to have your serum level checked and work to achieve a level of about 60-80 through supplementation. Many herbal preparations can be very effective at reducing allergy symptoms. Butterbur can help prevent nasal passage swelling. Quercetin can act as a natural antihistamine. Grape seed extract, vitamin C, echinacea and pycnogenol are some of the substances that have been known to help allergies.
Local Honey: Some people have noticed that eating local honey daily can be helpful for allergies. This may work since local pollens, processed via the bees’ honey producing process, are represented in the honey.
Homeopathy: Several homeopathic pharmacies produce over-the-counter (OTC) combination remedies for allergy relief. For examples Similasan makes Allergy Eye Relief, and Hyland’s makes Seasonal Allergy Relief. These products are safe to try and do not have the side effects associated with conventional OTC medications.
If OTC homeopathy does not work, consider visiting a professional homeopath who can prescribe a constitutional homeopathic remedy that is selected especially for you.
Often with holistic allergy treatment, the benefits may not be realized until the allergy season after treatment is begun. Your persistence will prove worth it when you are enjoying the great outdoors in spring…. allergy-free.
Watch for Dr. Janet's next article in about two weeks! Contact her at the number below with questions and to make an appointment. Holistic M.D., Homeopath
From 1986 to 2011 Dr. Janet Levatin ran her own medical practice in the Boston, MA area, where she offered a variety of holistic treatment options. She now practices medicine at the Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center in Middleburg Heights. She is available to share her skills with the residents of northeast Ohio.
With 30 years of experience as a pediatrician and homeopathic physician for children and adults, Dr. Janet has expertise in diagnosing and treating diseases of infants and children. Her treatment plans include homeopathy, herbs, and nutritional support, in addition to conventional medicine, when needed. She also welcomes adult clients, and has much experience treating acute and chronic conditions of adults using complementary and other alternative therapies.
Contact Information: Janet Levatin, MD, Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center, 7380 Engle Road, Middleburg Heights, OH 44130. Phone: (440) 239-3438. www.tenpennyimc.com
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Janet Levatin, M.D., Holistic doctor and Homeopathic doctor (see contact information at end).