Do you feel you are taking your allergy medicine all year long? With the rise in allergy medicines it is hard to avoid some prescription to steroidal medicines and antihistamines when you complain about seasonal allergies. Natural allergy relief is being looked at for providing safer alternatives to all those drugs. The search for natural allergy relief options usually kicks into high gear when allergy sufferers realize that the side effects and long term negative impacts of using their allergy medicine may not be worth it.
Last year I had a bad spell of what appeared to be a case of seasonal allergies. I am pretty used to this by now so I implemented my usual routine of my prescription nasal spray and antihistamines. I also have a daily routine of nasal cleansing as part of this too. After a couple of weeks I still didn’t have any relief and I was so congested I was having hearing problems which led to what I now know is tinnitus.
I was so alarmed I stopped my allergy relief routine completely and began treating myself with over the counter cold and flu medicine. I ended up at my primary care doctor’s office who looked at my nasal congestion in horror and disgust at my not having “managed my discomfort” with all of the medications at my disposal. She in turn told me to blitz my nasal allergy symptoms with not only my prescription nasal spray but Benadryl as well. I did tell her that my nasal spray had warnings for drowsiness but that did not seem to concern her. There was never any mention of natural allergy relief options…
Coincidentally enough I was returning to see her the following week for my annual physical. With a slew of blood tests that are the norm she found that a level of something in my liver was out of line. In my mind I laughed. I had just gone through a dizzying week of non-stop antihistamines , decongestants and steroidal nose spray so my body obviously did not like that. I had to be tested again a week later and of course the levels were back to normal because I was no longer blitzing my nasal allergy symptoms.
This story illustrates not just the overreliance on strong medicines by traditional doctors but the damage their use can cause in your body. The results were seen in a week. Decongestants can cause high blood pressure and antihistamines especially the levels that usually work for me cause too much drowsiness. You need to understand that I am more of a go to person for traditional medicine so natural allergy relief for me really has become a last option.
On the natural allergy relief front for antihistamines there were surprisingly a few options to look at. Nettle, butterbur and quercetin are natural antihistamines. They come in pill form. Nasal cleansing which I already do also helps to manage the particles in your nose that may be causing an allergic reaction like pollen. These use saline solutions which are not supposed to produce side effects. On the immune system side natural allergy relief products can include fish oil capsules and zinc supplements that give your immune system a boost so you are less susceptible to your allergies.
Natural allergy relief alternatives will continue to play a major role in the treatment of allergies. As the government gets more involved in the clear regulation of the natural remedies arena more people will find that alternative allergy treatments can be safe. Concrete studies in the area of these alternatives will also bring them more into the mainstream.
In the past we have written about how allergies can affect your sleep. The problem is you may be “Sleeping with the Enemy” to borrow the title from an old Julia Roberts movie. An anti allergy mattress cover can alleviate nasal allergy symptoms that you experience at night. Managing your allergies involves more than just allergy medicines. Many times it involves examining your daily habits for clues and then making the effort to change them. Dust mite allergies affect many people who sleep on uncovered mattresses and an anti allergy mattress cover is a relatively easy thing to buy to decrease your exposure.
I don’t know of many people who attempt to really clean their mattress though vacuuming it with an allergy friendly vacuum cleaner may be helpful if you do it regularly. Beds are used daily so the mattresses can get pretty dirty. Think about wearing the same clothes every day, you definitely wouldn’t want to do that. Changing and or cleaning the bedding in hot water regularly especially for those that suspect they are allergic to their beds is a must. An anti allergy mattress cover will add to the level of cleanliness that will help manage your dust.
An anti allergy mattress cover basically covers and encloses your mattress so even if you are not able to clean your mattress you are shielded from exposure to not only the dust but the hair follicles, dead skin and sweat that may be embedded in the mattress. Some best practices for using an anti allergy mattress is to clean the mattress as we discussed above before enclosing it in the cover. You can also clean the covers as well.
Hypoallergenic bedding has been around for a while so finding them should not be a problem. Keep in mind sometimes those that experience allergy symptoms at night like sneezing and congestion may be allergic to something else in their bed. An example of that is an allergy to down comforters but there are allergy free comforter available as alternatives too. A blitz approach would definitely include covers for both pillows and your mattress and making sure that you are using alternatives to down pillows and down comforters.
An anti allergy mattress cover not only helps with allergies but asthma sufferers also have a better nights sleep. The new disturbing trend of bed bugs has also made mattress covers more main stream as some of the newer anti allergy covers are also applying “bed bug shields” to make it harder for your mattress to be infested with bed bugs and dust mites.
Allergies seem to be everywhere nowadays? From respiratory allergies to food allergies it seems everyone is somehow affected. Do you think you suffer from allergies? In order to start to figure that out you need to understand what allergies are in the first place.
Allergies are the reactions to certain things that you either get exposed to or ingest like in the case of food. These “things” are called allergens. Since so many of these allergens have been identified allergies are usually broken down into categories based on either the allergen or the allergy symptoms involved. The one that seems more prevalent nowadays are seasonal allergies or what I would call nasal allergies since the biggest symptom affects your nose and your breathing. Sneezing and congestion are one of the cornerstones of seasonal allergies. The main allergen in this case is pollen.
The next most well-known allergy are those classified as food allergies. These allergic reactions can be life threatening so they are often covered by the media. Peanut allergies are one of the main ones covered because it affects so many children. The staple of lunch, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, has taken on a new meaning. Affecting both children with the peanut allergy and without since schools and other children’s programs have instituted peanut butter bans and allergy free lunch tables. Other food allergies like those to milk and seafood are others that can affect both adults and children.
Allergy symptoms can vary by person and by the type of allergy involved. Seasonal allergies usually involve the the nose and are usually treated with antihistamines. Interestingly enough there has been a new breed of allergy medicines for seasonal and nasal allergy symptoms that try to address the swelling of the nasal passages not just the blocking of the histamines that are treated by antihistamines. With all forms of allergies you can run into different levels of severity based on the allergic reactions involved. Simplistically they can be classified as mild, moderate and severe. Mild symptoms can include watery eyes, itchy skin, a runny nose, coughing, and hives. A severe reaction would be anaphylactic, where the allergy sufferer can suffocate because of the swelling in the throat. This is typically more associated with food allergies.
Sadly allergy sufferers can not be cured though their symptoms can be managed with the use of allergy medicines like antihistamines, steroidal medicines and immunotherapy. Identifying your allergy triggers with an allergist is a major step in managing your allergies since you learn how to avoid the causes. In the case of food allergies there are a variety of approaches involving food challenges so that your allergic reactions can be reduced. Allergy shots are also an approach that can be investigated.
Are those the only allergies? Sadly no. Pets are also a common cause of nasal allergies. Pet allergies mainly involve a person’s reaction to cats and dogs. Moving the dog or cat out of your environment seems like a simple solution but because their dander remains it may take longer than you think to not only be allergy free but also to confirm whether it was your pet in the first place that was giving you allergies. Other allergens to note are insect allergies like being allergic to a bee sting. Another is a dust allergy where you react to the dust mites. Latex and mold allergies are also of note but not as prevalent as some of the others.
If you or someone in your life thinks they are suffering from allergies don’t dismiss it as a media driven “fad”. Our world has changed and many believe those changes have contributed to the rise in allergy sufferers. Don’t be a victim and suffer through them without the help of your doctor and an allergist. In some cases it could be a matter of life or death.
Food allergies have gotten a lot of attention in the last 10 to 15 years. The rise in those suffering from food allergies has caused the media to focus more attention on the various kinds of food allergies but it seems most of the coverage is going to the children. Of course this isn’t a bad thing. Who wants a child to die from an anaphylactic reaction to peanut butter. We do need to consider though that many adults also still suffer from some form of food allergy or food intolerance.
My older sister still suffers from her egg allergy and she is in her mid-40s. She has been allergic to eggs since she was a child. Her reactions can range from a rash to itching in her throat. I happened to be present when she actually got exposed to eggs at a Chinese food restaurant. I innocently asked her to try my steak and tomatoes dish and somehow the sauce either had eggs or had somehow been cooked somewhere where another dish that included eggs was cooked. It was a little scary as she started complaining about her itchy throat. Would it escalate to an anaphylactic reaction? Thankfully it didn’t but I did learn my lesson about offering her my food.
Food allergies are among the most dangerous types of allergies because of the extreme allergic reactions that they can cause. From vomiting, to swollen faces and throats the person not only is suffering but can also be in a life threatening situation. It is the result of the immune system not reacting properly to certain foods, or certain ingredients in foods. The most common food allergies are nuts, milk, and eggs. Some people just feel ill when they consume something they are allergic to. Others experience swelling in the face, and swelling in the body, closing air paths. Hives and rashes are also very common.
The danger in having a food allergy lies not only in the food itself but in how prevalent some ingredients can be. Peanut allergies are challenging because peanut oil can be an ingredient in other foods. The same can be said for those her suffer from gluten allergies since gluten can be found in many foods including bread. Adults can also have allergies to things like beer yeast and the tanins in wine(a headache trigger as well).
The advantage of having adult food allergies is that by now most suffers have learned to manage their symptoms or to avoid the foods and ingredients that cause them. Some adults though may have been silent sufferers for many years without identifying that some of their health problems were actually the result of adult food allergies.
The key is to keep a food journal if you suspect you are experiencing some sort of allergic reaction to a food. You are probably better off consulting with your doctor to start. There are differences between food allergies and other intolerances like lactose intolerance which is sometimes confused with a milk allergy. Though there are no current cures for food allergies allergists can help devise a plan to either avoid the foods and ingredients involved or even implement food challenge plans to minimize your reaction to the food if you can’t totally avoid them.
For those who are tired of the side effects of traditional allergy treatments treating allergy with acupuncture is more than a possibility it is a reality for many folks. In related studies acupuncture looks promising as alternative allergy treatment. Most of us are trained to seek traditional medical treatments for allergy with most of them involving medications that of course come with side effects. Acupuncture has no known side effects so for those sick of dealing with drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness and nausea this alternative allergy treatment is definitely worth a try.
So for those not familiar with acupuncture what is it? Acupuncture attempts to treat and even cure diseases, ailments and pain with the use of needles inserted into specific pressure points in the body. It is based on an ancient Chinese approach that attempts to not only treat the symptoms of a “disease” like allergies but also strives to get the body to cure itself. Nowadays some modern approaches to acupuncture involve the use of lasers to trigger the body’s functions instead of with just the needles. Neither of which includes the use of medicines though some practitioners also advocate the use of other herbal remedies in conjunction with the acupuncture. So in essence treating allergy with acupuncture is a natural treatment.
Though seasonal allergy symptoms are being relieved by acupuncture other allergy sufferers like those with food allergies are also treating allergy with acupuncture. Acupuncture offers relief from these allergies and information suggests that those that benefit most are those with allergies that affect the large intestines, the stomach, and the spleen. A total understanding of how the acupuncture works should not be a show stopper because you can ask questions of the acupuncturist who you may be considering. Acupuncture can be performed through many different ways that include French Energetic, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), hand, and Worsley 5 Element and there are others. TCM is used in treating conditions that cause the patient to have a deficiency known as the Wei Qi (Chi). This deficiency is thought to make people susceptible to colds and respiratory infections that only acupuncture can reduce the impacts.
It is important to note that treating allergy with acupuncture can include advice from the practitioner to help overall health. This is done to treat the complete person which should help improve the body’s overall immune system and therefore decrease allergy symptoms. As stated earlier acupuncture is getting more modern with the use of lasers starting to phase out the more invasive use of needles. Be sure to ask which method will be used. Practitioners are also certified so make sure you understand what their training and qualifications are before you commit to treatment.
Allergy symptoms can be tormenting and many of us on medications may be on them for life. Treating allergy with acupuncture will continue to increase in popularity as more and more of us look for natural alternative treatments to alleviate our symptoms.
Many types of allergies are easy to manage because the key to that is basically avoiding the allergen. If you have a peanut allergy your plan is to avoid peanuts. If you react to latex avoid latex. Dust is not that easy to avoid and a dust mites allergy can make for a lot of regular discomfort.
Dust mites feed off of the dead organic material that is shed by humans like dead skin cells. These can be found in the particles that accumulate to form dust. A dust mites allergy is actually caused by an allergy to the feces of the dust mite not the dust mite itself. A dust mite falls into the arachnid category like spiders versus an insect since it has eight legs. They are so small they really are not seen. They can reproduce at a great rate so in order to manage a dust mites allergy you need a regular cleaning routine.
Since organic matter like dead skin cells and sweat can be found on our beds this is usually a spot where many dust mites and their feces can be found. Hypoallergenic sheets, mattress liners and pillow cases can be used. They basically hold the dust mite and their deposits on the mattresses and pillows so you don’t breath them in. Allergy symptoms that you experience at night like congestion and sneezing could very well be a dust mites allergy caused by bedding that is full of the waste from the dust mites.
A dust mites allergy can be further managed by air cleaner and purifiers. Using special filters in your cooling and heating systems will also help. Dusting often is advised with a face mask. Please note though that if your duster is not a good one you basically are just moving the dust from the object you are dusting to the floor and the air. Following up with vacuuming with an allergy friendly vacuum cleaner is a must. Dust mites like mattresses, couches and carpets so a good vacuum is a good weapon to have in your allergy fighting arsenal. One with a good set of attachments to reach areas like blinds and corners is a plus.
Though a dust mites allergy is hard to avoid managing it is doable if you are willing to put in the work. Many times if will depend on how bad your allergy symptoms are. Since dust mites also affect asthma the stakes can be higher. I know that since I have kids with asthma I take dust very seriously.