Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Forward to Seasonal Allergies

Allergies can be year round or seasonal. In the Midwest, the first major allergy reaction season begins when trees begin to release pollen. Trees with little or no visible flower actually release the highest amount of pollen because they rely on wind rather than insects for pollination. Another source of potential allergens is in the form of fungal spores. Spores are high all times of the year when there is no snow cover. Other allergens include grasses or crops in more rural areas.

Why do some people react to common allergens and others don’t? It has to do with genetics and immune system tolerance. Having certain types of immune cells in the body can help shift the response. The body’s immune system can be supported in a variety of ways! The gastrointestinal tract makes up a whopping 60-80% of the mechanisms responsible for immune response and therefore supporting gut function is of particular importance when combating allergies.

Easy steps to take to reduce exposure include using a dehumidifier to reduce humidity and reduce indoor allergens such as dust mites or mold spores. Also reducing the number of dust collecting items in the home like carpets, curtains, cloth furniture can be beneficial. Removing shoes in the home is another way to keep outdoor allergens away.

There are many natural alternatives to the common over the counter meds that most folks turn to for relief. Options can include dietary modification, supplementation, plant medicines or even homeopathy. One particular supplement that I have used with success is Quercetin. Dosing depends on the person but it generally well tolerated. Combine this nutritional supplement with dietary change and gut support and most of my allergic patients can finally get relief for the spring and fall. With naturopathic medicine, there is no “one size fits all” approach for allergies! So put a little more spring in your step this allergy season and find a natural alternative and lasting solution to allergies.