Allergies can be a pain in more than one way
With Spring just around the corner now is the time to talk about about seasonal allergies. Hayfever and allergic rhinitis are all terms for a group of symptoms where the immune system has become hypersensitive to pollens, grasses, dust, moulds, mites or animal dander.
Symptoms of hayfever and allergic rhinitis include runny and/or stuffy nose; red, watery, itchy eyes; sneezing; itchy throat, nose, eyes and face; sinus pain and headache; post nasal drip; generalised aches and pains, and fatigue.
Starting around August and running through to late summer around 20% of Australians are affected by seasonal allergies, which impact on day to day life for the duration of what is often called the “hayfever season”. Seasonal allergies can make some people wish Spring never happened.
Why People Get Allergies
So why does your body react this way? If you think of your immune system as an army, then allergies happen when your immune system is ‘trigger happy’ i.e it fires off an immune response when it detects an otherwise harmless substances and thinks these substances are a threat. So when Spring arrives and there is an increase in pollens, grasses, dust, moulds, mites or animal dander (called allergens) your immune system releases large amounts of the chemicals whose role is it to force the allergen out of your body. One of these chemicals is histamine how it does this is reflected in signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies.
What You Can Do to Manage and Prevent Allergies
Conventional medicine approaches seasonal allergies and hayfever by using antihistamines – medications designed to reduce histamine and allergy symptoms.
Naturopathy approaches seasonal allergies and hayfever by using herbs and supplements that work towards both symptomatic relief while also retraining the body’s immune system to not react to seasonal allergens. A Naturopathic Treatment Program will improve your ability to tolerate allergens, reduce your reactive symptoms, and repair your gut, .
What Does the Gut Have to do with Allergies?
Hippocrates said over 2000 years ago that all disease start in the gut. Science is now proving that he was right.
The majority of your body’s immune cells are found in your gut. Inflammation in your gut, damage to the lining of your gut (leaky gut), gut dysbiosis (the wrong mix of good and bad bacteria), all contribute to how your immune system responds to allergens.
Reducing Your Body’s Reaction to Allergens
Symptomatic relief for hayfever and seasonal allergies can be provided by nutrients such as Quercetin, Bromelains and Vitamin C; and herbs such as Eyebright, Baical Skullcap and Albizzia.
These herbs and supplements work together to retrain your immune system so it doeesn’t react to allergens, minimise respiratory congestion, and reduce mucus production.
Fix Your Gut
You need to do 2 things to help fix your gut so your body can better cope with allergens.
Firstly, you need to eat food that will support your gut and encourage the right sort of bacteria.
Eat a variety of plant based foods every day. For a healthy gut you need to eat 6-9 cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
You need to consume around 60-80g of fibre daily to feed your microbiome, and help with keeping your digestive system on the move. You can also add a fibre supplements to help with the health of your gut and your gut bacteria. Choose a fibre supplement that provide several different fibres.
Next, improve the integrity of your gut barrier. Your gut is a barrier between you and the outside world. Keeping the barrier strong is essential to overall health and wellbeing. A strong barrier sets the scene for good tolerance and immunity. A weak barrier leads to inflammation, leaky gut, and gut disease.
Simple ways to soothe and repair your gut are Aloe Vera juice (20-50ml daily) and slippery elm powder (mix a heaped teaspoon in water and drink once a day)
Rinsing your nasal passages with a neti pot can assist. Saline nasal sprays have a similar effect of clearing out allergens form nasal passages.
Keep house dust to a minimum – vacuum your house regularly, avoid highly scented household and personal products (soaps, shampoos, deodorants, air fresheners, perfumes etc).
Choosing the correct treatment regime is essential to preventing and reducing the impact of allergic rhinitis and seasonal allergies. The correct treatment regime will reduce chemical mediators associated with the allergic response, as well as providing relief of symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis. A qualified naturopath can tailor a program to suit you.
When you are ready to take the next step to preventing and managing seasonal allergies, here’s 2 things you can do.
1- Start your journey to better health and vitality by completing the Vitality Scorecard here
2- Ready to make an investment in your ongoing health, book a Reset Your Health chat here