It’s that time of year again…allergy season.
Yesterday I was trying to sit out on my deck and enjoy the beautiful day, but the pollen was everywhere. I could feel it in my throat and it made my eyes burn. I felt like I had a coating of it all over me, not to mention how much accumulated on my devices in a very short time.
My symptoms don’t usually go much farther than a scratchy throat and a dry cough at night. I attribute the mildness to starting to take stinging nettle early in the season. Nettle seems to work better if you start it before the allergy season begins, usually around 4-6 weeks before. Also, in order for nettles to work for your allergies, it has to have the stinging component intact. This means you need to take it in the form of a fresh extract or freeze-dried capsules. Drinking nettle tea is great for a lot of things, but not allergies.
If you didn’t start your nettles early enough, take note for next year. Mark your calendar now. Yes, stop a second and put it in your phone or you’ll forget as soon as you close this page.
Okay, so what else can you do if your symptoms have started?
Here are some of my most used allergy remedies. As always, if you take other medications or have health issues or concerns, please ask your health care provider before making any changes to your healthcare regimen.
Eliminate or Limit Dairy:
Dairy can be very mucus forming for a lot of people. I find that many of my patients have less allergy symptoms when they quit or decrease their dairy intake before and during allergy season. Foods high in dairy include cow milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, and half-n-half.
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and immune booster. During allergy season, you can greatly increase your dose. Most adults do fine with around 5,000mg daily in divided doses. You always know you took too much C if you get loose stools.
Quercetin is found natural in foods such as onions, broccoli, apples, berries, and grapes. It has been studied for its effectiveness to block histamine (what your body releases when exposed to things you’re allergic to) and stop the inflammation that happens in the body with allergies. You can increase foods high in quercetin and/or supplement between 500-1000mg/day for adults.
Bromelain is a plant enzyme found in pineapple. It’s helpful to take with quercetin as it seems to help with absorption. Bromelain is known to be anti-inflammatory, so can help with swelling in the sinus passages and throat. It’s often found in allergy supplements with quercetin. On its own, the adult dose is 100-400mg daily.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
NAC is the precursor to glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants in the body. It seems to thin mucus, so it makes it easier to blow your nose and is an expectorant to assist you in coughing out any mucus in the lungs. The typical adult dose of NAC is around 400mg daily.
Because I’m an integrative (combine modern, conventional medicine with natural medicine) practitioner, I always present my clients with all possible choices. Sometimes over-the-counter drugs, like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are very helpful. If you choose to take any of these drugs, be aware that they can reduce your essential fatty acids, so be sure to eat fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and other foods high in the omegas. Also watch out for antihistamines that end with -D. These usually contain pseudoephedrine, which can raise blood pressure, cause issues with some medications, and give you a “racing ” heart feeling.
Also, be careful with taking too much Benadryl. This drug crosses the blood-brain barrier, so over time could affect your brain and mental state and should be used with extreme caution in the elderly.
If you’re allergies are very severe every year, there may be other underlying health issues that need addressing. I’d be more than happy to help you explore this in an appointment at my clinic. You can access my schedule here.
Take great care and I hope this allergy season passes with ease for you!
Please share this post with your friends and family who might need some help with their allergies right now.