While part of the United States is busy battling an unsightly amount of winter snow this week, here in the warmer climates in Florida, we are busy battling the “yellow snow” accumulating on our cars. No, I don’t mean the yellow snow that we were warned against eating as children; I’m referring to the overwhelming seasonal pollen that seems to coat our windshields each afternoon. If I can see it sitting on my car after a couple hours, I can only imagine how much pollen I am breathing in while outside!
Pollen, in particular tree pollen, can be quite problematic for the millions of Americans that suffer from seasonal allergies each year. In addition to tree pollen in the spring, we are also pelted with grass and ragweed pollen in the later months of the year. Do we ever catch a break here in these warmer climates? As the weather gets warmer, drier, and windier, symptoms can also worsen. Although some people never personally suffer from seasonal allergies, the sneezing, itchy eyes, and congestion are all-to-familiar to many of our friends and family.
Why can seasonal allergies be so problematic for over 20 million adults and 6 million children each year? Unfortunately, when the immune system overreacts to an otherwise harmless allergen, such as pollen, our immune systems create a variety of cellular responses that will then cause these icky symptoms. The concern with a hyperactive immune system is that our immune cells can’t identify the difference between foreign bodies and our own body’s tissues. Sure, outdoor pollen is a foreign substance, but your thyroid gland isn’t foreign! If our immune systems create antibodies to our own tissues, we will develop what is called an autoimmune response, which can predispose people to autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Lupus, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, just to name a few. Clearly, this is something we want to avoid at all costs. For someone with any type of chronic allergies who wants to take control of their health, I highly recommend reading The Allergy Solution by Leo Galland, MD. Click Here to learn more.
Instead of common allergy treatments such as over-the-counter decongestants, antihistamines, or things that just alleviate symptoms such as eye drops and nasal sprays, why not try a more holistic, natural approach to seasonal allergies? A 2017 Lancet study identified an increased risk in Alzheimer’s Disease in patients with long-term antihistamine use! That is reason enough for me!
The following natural remedies help manage seasonal allergies by balancing the immune response:
A high-quality multivitamin with A, D, E, and zinc
Probiotic with Lactobacillus acidophilus L-92
Fish oil with high-quality omega 3’s
Vitamin C in higher doses
Bromelain, quercetin, stinging nettle
Homeopathic remedies to provide immunotherapy for local allergies
Interested in accessing some of these well-researched remedies for natural allergy relief?
Check out my professional-grade product recommendations here!
What are some other things we can do at home?
Saline nasal irrigation to flush out allergens stuck in the nasal cavity
HEPA air filters to remove allergens inside the home before you breathe them in
Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean animal and plant proteins, and whole grains
Avoiding refined carbohydrates, sugar, or anything that will trigger inflammation in the body
As Dr. Galland addresses in his book, there are often underlying imbalances in the body which may be triggering someone’s overactive response to seasonal allergies. If you’ve tried all the remedies listed above and still are struggling to understand the “why” behind your symptoms, that’s where a functional medicine approach can shine. I work with my patients to identify those underlying reasons for allergies, which may be gut imbalances, systemic inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, toxic burden, or simply a poor diet. If you are ready to eliminate your body’s allergies once and for all, consider setting up a functional medicine appointment with me in the office, or virtually! Natural therapies and remedies can get to the root cause of allergies, and with support from the right doctor, you too can be enjoying that fresh spring air again.