Allergies have you down again?

Stuffy nose, sore throat, watery and itchy eyes…annnnd a week from hell. Just when we thought this year was going to be “the year” with no allergies, they’re worse than ever.

Well, you’re not fighting this battle alone. More than one in six Canadians suffer from hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis. A survey commissioned by Johnson & Johnson found that Ontario suffered the highest rates of seasonal allergies while Atlantic Canada was at the bottom of the list.

An allergy is a powerful immune response to an allergen (eg. animal dander, tree pollen, ragweed, dust, etc.) which causes the body to react to the perceived threat entirely out of proportion by triggering a production of allergen-specific antibodies. When produced, these antibodies migrate to mast cells which line the nose, eyes and lungs and release chemicals called histamines which then irritate the lining. With this oh so lovely response, brings dreaded symptoms of a running nose and streaming eyes of hay fever. Joy.

Medication, Shmedication. Before popping a little pill to subside symptoms… try treating the symptoms, you guessed it, naturally. 

1. Heal your filthy gut: although probiotics are beneficial for anyone and everyone, research has proven them to be especially beneficial for those who suffer from allergies. A study performed by the Department of Immunology concluded that the use of the probiotic strand, lactobacillus, aided in the management of allergies and reduced the incidence of atopic eczema.

2. Get pricked: stroll over to your natural practitioners office to get pricked and confirm what you are actually allergic or sensitive to. Toughen up, princess.

3. Wash out your nose: yes… your nose. Neti Pots are derived from the traditional Ayruvedic practice and is known to naturally remove excess mucous, pollen, dust and other environmental irritants from the sinus passages while soothing dry nasal passages.

4. Sweeten yourself up with honey: raw, local honey is not only delicious, but it can reduce or eliminate allergies all together! Visit your local farmers market and find a local, RAW honey which comes from the plant your allergies are coming from. Easy peasy.

5. Clean up the diet: of course being a nutritionist, I’m going to tell you to smarten up and eat like a grown up BUT, believe me when I say that eliminating certain foods will actually make a difference! There are many common foods which create inflammation or sensitivities in the body, which in turn, compromises the immune system and makes you more susceptible to allergies.

6. Listen to Mother Nature: she has out-done herself again and provided you with a natural herb to combat allergies. Although butterbur is still in the preliminary phase of testing, Dr. Hardy, head of integrative medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, advises that the herb has generated impressive results so far. In fact, a group of Swiss Scientists have stated that using a small amount of the herb is just as effective as taking ANY other conventional antihistamine drugs, without the “I’m going to fall asleep behind the wheel” side effects. 

7. Don’t be a Debbie Downer: according to a study carried out by the Ohio State University-Columbus, stress may cause more severe and longer lasting allergy attacks. Try calming the nerves with some deep breathing and throw in some vitamin C which will not only support your adrenal glands, which controls the stress hormone cortisol, but it will also reduces the histamine response which causes allergy flare-ups.

8. Hell-O H2O: support your body’s natural cleansing system by drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day. PS. juice doesn’t count..

Fortunately, this is just an abstract from the long list of natural suggestions for seasonal allergies. Start with the basics and if you still can’t seem to kick the symptoms to the curb, talk to your alternative practitioner for a personalized plan.

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