How to Identify and Relieve Seasonal Allergies

Dr Ian Wahl Relieve Seasonal Allergies

Ian Wahl, DAc, LAc

The colors of spring are upon us. After a harsh winter, spring brings us a beautiful scene with its warm and colorful sensations. However, with spring come allergies. People face seasonal discomfort all around the world when their local plants begin pollinating. Almost 60 million Americans get sick from seasonal allergies every year, with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion.  In addition, these allergies will trigger over 6 million children in America to suffer from asthma attacks.  

To avoid these seasonal allergies, we need to take a look at what they are and how they can be dealt with. Most spring allergies are caused by pollen that is dispersed in the air through pollination. Apart from that, mold and fungus spores similarly play a part. In this article, you can learn how to identify and treat spring allergies.

Symptoms to Be Aware Of

The most common symptoms of allergies include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes and dark circles
  • Runny or stuffy nose due to swollen sinuses and sneezing
  • Sore or itchy throat and cough
  • Post-nasal drip

Did you know that the term “hay fever” was first used over 200 years ago to describe the allergic reactions people experienced when they smelled hay during the summer?  Perhaps we suburbanites don’t cut hay in our back yards, but we do mow our lawns beginning in the spring.  And hay fever symptoms haven’t changed in the last two centuries.  In addition to the above symptoms may be:

  • Sinus headache
  • Facial pain
  • Earache
  • Anosmia, which is losing the sense of smell (not due to Covid-19)

What Causes These Symptoms?

As highlighted earlier, the spring season is rife with pollination from spores released by plants and certain mold and fungi.  When you breathe, these pollen and fungus spores enter your body through your nose and trigger the release of histamine in the blood and mucus membranes.

With histamine’s release, the linings of the nose and eyes become swollen and red. This is to minimize the entrance of additional allergens into the body.  Sneezing occurs when histamine attempts to get rid of irritating allergens through the nasal passages. Unfortunately, histamine also causes watery eyes, itching, and sometimes rashes and hives. In other words, our symptoms are the result of our body trying to protect us and deal with invading allergens.

Since pollination is based on the reproductive cycle of trees, plants, grasses and flowers, if you’re location is surrounded by them you are most likely to face spring allergies. Furthermore, changes in the weather, including barometric pressure, is also considered a seasonal allergy trigger that can cause headaches and body aches as well as sinus problems.

Pollens are the most airborne when it’s warm and dry.  That’s why a warm windy day can instantly make your allergies worse. On the other hand, rainy and damp days will have a lower pollen count than dry weather, yet the mold/fungus count will be high. 

After identifying your allergies, it’s time to stop them from making you ill.

Prevention Measures to Write Down

There are several methods through which you can fight against seasonal allergies, including:

  • Use HEPA or high-efficiency air purifiers in your home. This will allow you to detect and trap pollens and allergens that have entered your home. 
  • Vacuum carpets twice a week during the spring and summer using a HEPA vacuum cleaner to collect the pollen that enters your home with you.
  • If your allergies are severe, remove your clothes and shoes the moment you enter your home. It will minimize the risk of bringing pollen in that have latched on to your clothes.  
  • If you own pets, make sure that they are cleaned as soon as you bring them back inside. Use a damp towel to wipe them down before they come into your home to make sure no pollen is attached.
  • Change your bedding and invest time in cleaning and dusting every day. This will help remove pollens that have managed to latch themselves on your curtains, carpets, upholstery, tables, bookshelves, etc.
  • Make sure your windows are closed in the morning, and especially when the wind is blowing outside.  
  • Change or clean you air conditioner filters more often during the spring and summer.  If you use fans, clean the dust that collects on them before using.  Pollen spores love to settle on dust.
  • Declutter your home.  Clutter gives more surface area for dust and pollen to settle on.

How to Manage Your Symptoms

Over-the-Counter Medications and Their Side Effects: While there are dozens of different pills and sprays readily available, they were never meant to be used long-term. They only provide a very temporary relief, do not work for everyone, and like all medications have side effects. The most common side effect of nasal sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants is a condition called medicamentosis or chemical rhinitis.  Those are fancy words for the rebound effect that can accompany nasal and sinus drugs.  When you overuse any sinus medication including the common OTC medications mentioned above, they can cause persistent nasal and sinus symptoms when you try to stop taking them.  In other words, your body can react as if it were addicted to those drugs.  If you experience this, contact a holistic allergist for safer, effective, and longer-lasting relief.

OTC Eye Drops: It’s not only your nose or throat that are affected with allergies, but your eyes get red and itchy too. Saline solution eye drops work well to wash out the pollen and other irritants that have blown onto your eyes.

Home Remedies: You can use a nasal saline rinse, such as a neti pot, to clear your blocked nasal pathway. Steam inhalation is another remedy that has a similar effect. Plants and herbs such as butterbur, spirulina, etc. can be taken orally or mixed with food to help relieve some symptoms. Nettle leaf and vitamin C intake have also been shown useful in reducing histamine production.  Vitamin A, selenium, zinc, and vitamin E all help protect your mucus membranes from the damaging effects of air pollution and pollen.  And Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory supplement used extensively around the world to fight allergies.

Foods that Can Help Relieve Allergies:  For more information on foods that can help alleviate allergy symptoms read Foods That Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergies and Boost Your Immune System .  

See a Holistic Allergist: Find one who offers a non-invasive approach to testing and treating the many causes of symptoms and health conditions associated with allergies and sensitivities. There are therapies, such as Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT), which use no shots, no pills, and no avoidance.  AAT allergy tests and treatments are painless, safe, effective, and gentle enough for infants and seniors.

Overall, seasonal allergies make you miserable but are not usually harmful unless precautionary measures are not taken in time. If your situation worsens, resulting in asthma attacks, constant headaches, or chronic coughing, you should immediately seek help from a holistic allergist.

If you suffer from allergies, and you have been unsuccessful with allergy treatments, Dr. Ian Wahl and St. Louis Allergy Relief Center specialize in holistic, natural allergy treatments. They provide a detailed treatment plan after completing comprehensive testing to determine the seasonal, food, chemical, or environmental stressors that may be triggering allergies or allergy-like symptoms. Visit their website https://stlouisallergyrelief.com/ to learn more or call 314-384-9304 and speak with Beverly.