Posts tagged allergies
Allergies

Allergy season is back in the Pacific NW after a long, cold, wet, windy winter.  Beyond Claritin, Zyrtec and Benadryl, the best way to combat the itching, sneezing, runny nose days and nights is to abide by the LAWS of Allergy Hygiene.  Decrease your exposure, decrease your symptoms!

Allergy hygiene:

  • Keep your windows closed in your home and car to avoid letting in pollen, especially when the local pollen count is high. Set your air conditioners to re-circulate in your home and vehicle, to avoid drawing in outside pollen-rich air.
  • The pollen counts are the highest between 5am and 10am, so limiting your outside exposure during those times can be extremely helpful for diminishing your allergies.
  • Limit exposure on mornings that are especially warm and dry; these will usually be the high pollen count days. Days that are dry and windy also have high pollen counts. The best time for outdoor activities is immediately following a heavy rainfall.
  • Avoid line drying your clothes and bedding outdoors when your local pollen count is high.  Use an indoor rack instead.
  • Wash your face and hands after you’ve been outside to remove pollen. Also, change and wash clothes if they’ve been exposed to pollen.
  • Bathe and shampoo hair daily before going to bed to remove pollen from hair and skin in order to keep it off your bedding. Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
  • Minimize contact with items that have come in contact with pollen, such as pets and people that have spent a large amount of time outdoors.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen, and in severe allergy cases, wear a facemask when daily pollen counts are extremely high.

If you are in the Portland area and think you may have allergies, you can get allergy testing with one of the following clinics:

http://www.aadapc.com/

http://bakeraad.com/

http://www.allergyclinic.net/barzin-khalili-md

Spring Cleaning

Here in the Pacific NW, the cherry trees, daffodils, tulips, daphnes, rhododendrons, magnolias, and many other beautiful flowering trees and plants are blooming.  While this makes the area absolutely gorgeous, it also sends people into my office wondering how to stop the sneezing and itchy eyes. images

Fortunately, there some things you can do to make this time of year more enjoyable.

  • Get an air filter for your home so you are not exposed to pollens all night long while you sleep.
  • Take your shoes off before coming into the house---don't track the pollen in!  Ask others to do the same.
  • Wear sunglasses or other protective eye gear while you're out to minimize the amount of exposure--as you know, once you start itching your eyes, it's hard to stop.  This is because rubbing them recruits more histamine to the site, causing even more itching!
  • If you have carpets, get them cleaned at least every spring.  Or even better, replace them with hardwood or tiled floors, which are easier to keep clean.
  • Consider doing a "Spring Cleanse" for your body*.  By making sure your liver, kidneys, lungs, GI tract, and skin are all in good working order, you can decrease how reactive your body is to elements it is normally allergic to.

*any type cleansing or fasting should be supervised by a health care practitioner.  If you have not seen a doctor in the past year, please consult one before cleansing or fasting.

Cross-reactions

It's allergy season again, and for many people, this means fighting with sneezing, runny noses, congestion, and headaches until the pollen dissipates once again.  Did you know that what you eat can affect how reactive you are to pollen?

Oral allergy syndrome affects about 60% of adults who have seasonal allergies.  This means that when certain foods that cross-react with the inhaled pollens are eaten, a more severe reaction occurs.  Take a look at this chart showing the most common pollen-food cross-reactions:

Pollen Potential Cross-reactive Foods
Ragweed Bananas, melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew) zucchini, cucumber, dandelions, chamomile tea
Birch Apples, pears, peaches, apricots, cherries, plums, nectarines, prunes, kiwi, carrots, celery, potatoes, peppers, fennel, parsley, coriander, parsnips, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts
Grass Peaches, celery, melons, tomatoes, oranges
Mugwort Celery, apple, kiwi, peanut, fennel, carrots, parsley, coriander, sunflower, peppers
Alder Celery, pears, apples, almonds, cherries, hazelnuts, peaches, parsley
Latex Bananas, avocado, kiwi, chestnut, papaya

I challenge you to give this a try.   Try eliminating your potential cross-reactors this allergy season, and experience less severe symptoms!

The Probiotics Way

Probiotics have gotten a lot of press in the past year.  Traditional cultures have long known the benefits of eating foods containing probiotics.  Most of these foods are fermented at least partially. A short list of probiotic food choices includes miso soup, some soft cheeses, yogurt products like kefir, sauerkraut and many pickles. 80% of our immune system is in our GI tract, and an imbalance of bacteria in the GI system causes a host of health issues. This article from Mercola.com goes into a bit more detail about probiotics and their role in healthy living and Naturopathic medicine.  It's important to seek these little guys out in your daily diet or as part of your supplementation as food processing has changed so much in the last several decades.  We simply don't get dosed routinely, and as a result allergies, digestive diseases, food intolerances, and auto-immune conditions are on the rise.