by Dr. Michael Kane ND
Yes, it is coming. Spring arrives this month! How exciting! Unless you have allergies.
Many people have a dampened appreciation for the appearance of spring because of seasonal allergies. The common symptoms of congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, and fatigue is annoying for some but downright debilitating for others. And the common drugs to deal with allergies come with side effects and interactions that, for some, make it a no-win decision.
The good news is there are two simple, non-medication-related things that you can do to help you enjoy the change of seasons with a spring in your step.
Give your nasal passages a spring shower!
One of the most beneficial things you can do to breath easier is a nasal wash that flushes out your nasal passages with warm salt water. There are a number of ways to do this. A favorite is the Neti Pot: a ceramic pot with a long spout that fits into one nostril. Fill the pot with salted warm water, bend over the sink and let the water run in one nostril and out the other to effectively get rid of those tiny particles of dust, pollen or other allergens that trigger allergies. While the process may sound uncomfortable, most people get used to it very easily and for many, its benefits are so great they come to enjoy the sense of being clean and fresh – like you do after a spring shower.
Okay, you don’t have control over when plants release their pollen, but you can reduce other allergens that might affect you like dust, dust mites, and molds.
Most air filtration systems are helpful but can be expensive. A simple cost-effective solution is making a fan filter. Here’s how.
Materials needed: You will need a rectangular box fan, some cardboard framed furnace filters and duct tape.
Tape the filters to the side of the fan that intakes the air. Put the fan in your bedroom and before you go out turn it on. While you are gone, the filter will collect dust, mites and friends. When you return, shut the fan off and enjoy the cleaner air. Remember to replace the filter when it gets dirty. Let us know how it works for you!
Allergy Supplements to consider:
“Aller C” is a combination of a bioflavonoid called Quercetin, an enzyme called Bromelain and Vitamin C. Together, they help prevent the release of histamines as well as prevent and break down congestion without the side effects associated with anti-histamine drugs.
Butterbur is used for a number of conditions, including migraines and seasonal allergies. In one study, people with allergies were given butterbur tablets. After a week of treatment, patients showed significant improvement of their allergy symptoms. Tests showed that the participants’ bodies contained smaller amounts of the substances leukotriene (LT) and histamines. LT is an inflammatory chemical that the body releases when in contact with an allergen. Once released, LT triggers an allergic reaction. Butterbur seems to act as an LT receptor inhibitor like the drug montelukast (Singulair) to block LT and prevent or relieve an allergic reaction. Butterbur is available is capsule form.
Stinging Nettles is a plant long associated with helping seasonal allergies. Stinging nettle leaf may be useful in reducing the symptoms of hay fever by acting as an anti-inflammatory. Some research has linked treatment with stinging nettle leaf to relief of symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Probiotics is a term often used interchangeably with microflora, except that, probiotics implies the microflora we can consume in supplements, foods, liquids. Consuming probiotics, especially those native to the human digestive tract, can help boost your inner ecosystem and your immunity. A comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of probiotics concluded: “Despite high variability among the studies, synthesis of available data provided significant evidence of beneficial clinical and immunologic effects of probiotics in the treatment of allergic symptoms.”
Supplement Pro5 by Klaire Labs is a good choice for a probiotic.
Nasal gels and sprays
Rounding out the arsenal we recommend Nasal gels and sprays.
I love the SinuOrega product this nasal spray combines the benefits of wild oils of oregano‚ bay leaf‚ sage and clove bud in sea salt base. It helps by keeping the nasal passages hydrated and moist preventing irritation and the essential oils help prevent sinus infections.
Neilmed Nasogel is a is a drug-free saline based water soluble nasal gel formulated with sodium hyaluronate to provide nasal moisture. NasoGEL provides moisture to hydrate and lubricate dry and irritated nasal passages caused by dry climate and indoor heat.
The Dispensary at the Center has all these components in stock for your convience.