That *tickle,* *itch* and *burn* (aaaachooo!) in the back of your nose, eyes and throat are sure signs it’s allergy season.
In fact, any season can be allergy season – depending on what an individual is allergic to. Because spring is so prolific in her grassy and floral blooms, it tends to bring the most allergy patients to our doors.
The good news is that medical help may not be necessary. Proactive and regular attention to your sinus cavity (located in your ears, nose and throat) can work wonders. The keys are “proactive” and “regular;” once allergies have really set it, they are more stubborn to treat because they do a number on your immune system.
That’s a great segue into the first and more important thing you can do to help support your body’s fight against allergens: boost and support your immune system.
The simple acts of eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep can work wonders for keeping your immune system at its best. When your immune system is strong, it’s better able to handle the allergens and pathogens that come at it.
Your immune system works hard to keep up with allergen invasions, but sometimes it goes into inflammatory overdrive. This is why most of the prescription and over-the-counter allergy remedies involve anti-histamines and/or steroids, which halt the overactive inflammatory response (excessive histamines) causing irritating allergy symptoms.
By minimizing inflammation in your body as a whole, via an anti-inflammatory diet, you’ll also minimize excessive inflammation of your sinuses and respiratory tract. Many of the food recommended in an anti-inflammatory diet are known allergen-suppressors (garlic, leafy greens, food high in anti-oxidants, etc.).
Researchers find those who exercise moderately for at least 30-minutes experience allergy relief. They theorize that increased blood flow helps the body rid allergens via kidneys, skin and activated sinuses. Those with severe allergies should exercise indoors with filtered air for best results. However, swimming is also a wonderful way to get exercise, clear impacted or clogged sinuses and support the heart and lungs.
The well-researched F&W News article, Exercise Control of Your Allergies, is a great resource for how to get the most out of exercise during allergy season.
Yep, it’s true; taking a couple tablespoons of local honey has been a longtime folk remedy for allergies. Recent studies, however, prove its efficacy. The key is that the raw honey must be local – and the honey should be taken daily, year-round. This technique is like a natural vaccination of sorts, using micro-doses of potential allergens (pollens) that help your body develop an immunity.
Daily use of nasal-specific saline sprays can be used multiple times a day with great effect. They both cleanse and soothe irritated nasal passages, eliminating allergens. Neti pots and purified saline solutions are also helpful. However, Neti pots (available online and at most pharmacies) should only be used after checking in with your doctor and only when your sinuses are not completely stuffed up. If the fluid can’t make its way around the sinus cavity and into the other nostril, it backs up into the sinuses or ear canals and can possibly lead to an infection.
Are you or other family members prone to seasonal allergies? Try some of the remedies – stick with them and be patient. While they may not take effect as quickly as most pharmaceutical options do – they’re significantly cheaper, safer and less likely to cause long-term toxicity or negative side effects.
Feel free to contact the ENT specialists at Palouse Specialty Physicians if this allergy season is getting the best of you.
Published on April 9, 2019