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Seasonal allergies can occur at any time of year, but they are especially common during spring, early summer and fall. They can be a real nuisance when you want to take advantage of outdoor sports and workouts because you face the risk of suffering through a runny nose, watery eyes and a cough on your run, bike or hike. The good news is you can relieve allergies naturally.
Causes Of Pollen Allergies
For all allergies, the immune system reacts to specific allergy trigger molecules . Your immune system produces antibodies that detect the allergen and cause inflammatory reactions and the release of a chemical called histamine. Histamine causes hay fever symptoms, such as itchy and watery nose and eyes, and sneezing.
In Victoria, inland areas tend to have higher pollen counts and northerly winds can bring pollens from inland regions to the coastal areas, including Melbourne. In contrast, the east coast of Australia often has less pollen, because winds tend to blow in from the sea and the Great Dividing Range protects the coast from inland winds. In South Australia and Western Australia, levels of pollen in the air vary, depending on wind direction.
Natural Remedies For Seasonal Allergies And Advanced Health
Advanced Healths integrative approach to medicine incorporates the practical, mechanical knowledge of more conventional western medicine, but also explores the more natural, supportive knowledges from eastern sources.
At Advanced Health, we generally hold that the least invasive path to wellness is preferable, and were very much in favor of treating seasonal allergies naturally.
Has this summer got your eyes watering, and your nose running? Why not book a consultation with our integrative functional medicine physician, Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. She will treat the source of any condition, including seasonal allergies. Contact Advanced Health today, and get yourself on the path to ease, symptom relief, and lasting wellness.
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How Seasonal Allergies Affect Children
Children are just as prone to seasonal allergies as adults are. Allergies can occur due to seasonal pollen, dust, pets, and/or mold. While these kinds of allergies are uncommon in babies under one year old, they are quite common in toddlers and older children. Seasonal allergies can develop in children as early as one or two years old, and commonly develop between the ages of three and five. If you yourself or another parent has seasonal allergies, your children will be more prone to developing allergies as well.
Many different environmental factors contribute to seasonal allergies. Indoor factors such as dust, dander, and mold can cause allergies at any time of year, however, outdoor culprits such as pollen typically cause allergies in the spring, summer, or fall. Allergy symptoms are the immune systems response to these pollen or mold particles. They will likely return every year around the same time if your child is allergic to certain types of pollen. Of course, when and if your child experiences allergies and to what is completely dependent on where you live and the specific plants and weather conditions in the area.
How Do You Treat Allergies
Most allergy sufferers can find relief from over-the-counter allergy medications.
Nasal sprays or intranasal steroid sprays, such as Flonase or Nasacort, are a good first line option because side effects are minimal, consisting mostly of nasal dryness or bleeding for some people. Its important to note that nasal sprays need to be in your system for a while before taking effect. Expect them to be in your system for up to a week before they really start to kick in.
Over-the-counter antihistamines, such as Zyrtec, Allegra or Claritin, can be a good option if nasal sprays arent effective or if you dont tolerate nasal sprays well. In most cases sprays and antihistamines can be combined when symptoms are especially bad.
If youre still struggling with symptoms after trying out some over the counter medications, it might be time to see an allergy specialist.
At your first appointment youll talk about your medical history and your symptoms and most patients will undergo skin testing. Skin testing involves pricking the skin with a trace amount of different allergens and measuring the skins reaction after about 20 minutes. Your appointment could last a few hours, but youll receive definitive information about what you are allergic to, as well as a personalized treatment plan.
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Treating Severe Allergic Reactions
Some people with severe allergies may experience life-threatening reactions, known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.
If you’re at risk of this, you’ll be given special injectors containing a medicine called adrenaline to use in an emergency.
If you develop symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as difficulty breathing, you should inject yourself in the outer thigh before seeking emergency medical help.
Consult An Eye Doctor
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What Immunotherapy Treatments Are Available
Immunotherapy is a treatment option for some allergy patients. There are two common types of immunotherapy. They are allergy shots and sublingual immunotherapy .
Allergy shots involve giving injections of allergens in an increasing dose over time. The person becomes progressively less sensitive to that allergen. Allergy shots can work well for some people with allergies to pollen, pets, dust, bees or other stinging insects, as well as asthma. Allergy shots do not usually work well for allergies to food, medicines, feathers, or for hives or eczema.
SLIT is another way to treat certain allergies without injections. Allergists give patients small doses of an allergen under the tongue. This exposure improves tolerance to the substance and reduces symptoms. SLIT is fairly safe and effective for the treatment of nasal allergies and asthma. SLIT tablets are currently available for dust mites, grass and ragweed. Talk to your allergist if you want to learn more about SLIT. While allergy shots are fairly safe, there is a chance for a severe, life threatening allergic reaction to the injections, so they must always be given in an allergists office under observation from a medical professional.
Medical Review March 2018.
If you think you are having a severe allergic reaction , use your self-injectable epinephrine and call 911.
Do not delay. Do not take antihistamines in place of epinephrine. Epinephrine is the most effective treatment for anaphylaxis.
Herbal Medicines And Allergies
Asteraceae is a family of flowering plants, including many common species, and some are used in herbal medicines. Pollen from plants in this family is a common cause of hay fever, asthma and dermatitis.
Plants from the Asteraceae family include:
- plants grown for their flowers chrysanthemums, dahlias, sunflowers, marigolds, safflower and daisies
- edible foliage plants lettuce, safflower, chicory and artichoke
- weeds ragweed, mugwort, sagebrush, wormwood, feverfew
- plants used in some herbal medicines echinacea, dandelion, chamomile, feverfew, milk thistle and wormwood.
Pollen from plants in the Asteraceae family can also cause an allergic skin reaction on contact. The pollen can be found in herbal medicines, shampoos, cosmetics and massage oils, and includes pollen from plants such as the:
Sensitisation to pollen of plants from the Asteraceae family has also been linked with allergic reactions to other substances that are similar. This is known as cross-reactivity and has caused allergic reactions to:
- plant-derived herbal medicines echinacea, royal jelly, bee pollen extracts and chamomile
- foods celery, honey, sunflower seeds, carrot, lettuce, watermelon and nuts.
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Unproven Methods To Test For Allergies
A number of methods claim to test for allergies, but they have not been medically or scientifically proven. They can be costly and could lead to dangerous avoidance of certain foods. The organisation representing allergists recommends that you do not use certain methods to have potential allergies tested. These methods include:
- cytotoxic food testing
- Vega testing.
Tips For Surviving A Horrible Allergy Season
Experts say this spring’s allergy season may be one of the worst ones yet. Here’s how to deal with it.
This year, April really was the cruelest month for people with allergies and the rest of spring is looking pretty mean too.
Blame a perfect storm of weather conditions for the season’s awful allergies, including a snowy, rainy winter in some parts of the country that led to an abundance of tree and grass pollen a sudden shift from wintry to warm weather that encouraged the pollen’s release and windy conditions that sent particles airborne, where they enter our noses, throats, and eyes and trigger symptoms that range from congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes to headaches, diarrhea, and even depression.
Indeed, pollen and mold spore counts hit all-time highs in certain parts of the country, making people prone to seasonal allergies even more miserable than usual, and even setting off allergies in people who usually don’t get them. “It’s been a difficult and intense spring for people with allergies,” says Mitchell R. Lester, MD, president of the New England Society of Allergy.
The five worst cities for allergies this spring are Knoxville, Tenn Louisville, Ky Charlotte, N.C. Jackson, Miss., and Chattanooga, Tenn., according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, which uses an algorithm that includes airborne pollen and mold counts, and the number of allergy medications taken and allergy specialists available in each city.
Seasonal Allergies on the Rise
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A Guide To Treating Toddler Seasonal Allergies
By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD
Lauren specializes in plant-based living and vegan and vegetarian diets for all ages. She specializes in writing about parenting and a wide variety of health, environmental, and nutrition topics.
When your child has the sniffles, coughs, or watery eyes it is a tell tale sign that they arent feeling well. A sick little one is the last thing any parent wants, and figuring out whats wrong is the first order of business. Milk allergies in babies are common, butthese symptoms in particular could be signs of seasonal allergies. Toddler seasonal allergies are quite common and can plague children year after year. Its important to determine the cause of their symptoms and a method of treatment early on to alleviate your toddlers discomfort.
To help, weve put together this guide to treating toddler seasonal allergies so you can ensure your little one feels their best no matter the season.
Diagnosis Of Pollen Allergies
If you have allergic symptoms that seem to appear at certain times of the year, you should visit your doctor, who will ask some questions about your allergic reactions. You can also discuss your record of your symptoms. To diagnose your allergy, your doctor may refer you to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.
Clinical immunology/allergy specialists can test for allergies using a number of methods depending on the type of potential allergy. To test for an allergy to pollens, the allergist may use a skin prick test or a blood test for allergies. Information about evidence based allergy testing is available on the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website.
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How To Cope With Fall Allergies
The best way to try to prevent allergy issues is to try to stay away from the things youre allergic to. The mainstay of therapy is avoidance, Dr. Aronica says.
But that can be difficult when youre allergic to pollen, which blows in the crisp autumn breeze and settles on everything in its path. He explains how to fight fall allergies.
The Best Natural Remedy For Allergies
The best natural remedy for allergies is, when possible, avoidance. Both doctors and natural healers will suggest that you limit or avoid allergens, which are what causes your allergic reaction.
You should avoid exposure to your allergens. For example, if youve had an allergic reaction to a sulfa drug, let your doctor know about your allergy. Theyll most likely prescribe an alternate antibiotic if youll ever need one.
That being said, some allergens are hard to avoid. In that case, after discussing your symptoms with your doctor, you might consider a home remedy for allergies to deal with the results of exposure to an allergen.
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Nip Allergies In The Gut
The root cause of most allergies is an unbalanced digestive system, says integrative health expert Taz Bhatia, M.D.
When your microbiome is weak, or when you have inflammation in the gut, you will be more susceptible to allergies, she adds. Simple dietary changes such as eating less sugar and more healthy fats can help stabilize the microbiome.
Bhatia advises taking the ayurvedic herb triphala to help treat constipation and probiotics to keep your gut in balance. Stinging nettle extract is also known to inhibit allergy-related inflammation by blocking histamine receptors.
How To Naturally Relieve Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
Once seasonal allergies hit, its tough to get rid of them.
Over the counter medicine can help treat annoying or painful symptoms, but they dont get rid of the allergies themselves. Your best bet is to adopt lifestyle habits that can help holistically manage and alleviate allergy symptoms. Here are some tips to help naturally relieve seasonal allergy symptoms:
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When Allergies Become Chronic
With repeated exposure the inflammatory response becomes chronic. A 2008 journal article on the development of allergic inflammation explains this systemic allergic response as:
Persistent inflammation induced by prolonged or repetitive exposure to specific allergens, typically characterized not only by the presence of large numbers of innate and adaptive immune cells at the affected site but also by substantial changes in the extracellular matrix and alterations in the number, phenotype and function of structural cells in the affected tissues.
In other words, the misery allergy sufferers feel is very real and more than a case of the sniffles!
Allergy testing may be helpful to determine triggers but typical treatment usually involves routinely taking an antihistimine or corticosteriod which can have undesirable side effects. There are two main ways to help stop allergies naturally:
Reduce Your Reaction To Allergens
Still not finding sufficient relief from seasonal allergy symptoms, and/or have year-round allergies that are very bothersome? You might find immunotherapy useful.
This prescription treatment involves exposing you to ever-larger amounts of allergens, gradually increasing your tolerance.
Traditional immunotherapy is delivered via regular shotsoften for three to five yearsand can help with seasonal and year-round allergens. Over 80 percent of the time, people experience relief, Hong says. The shots carry a small risk of a severe allergic reaction, so youll need to have them in a doctors office.
If your seasonal allergies are to grasses and/or youre allergic to dust mites, you might look into a newer prescription option: sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT. Here, you typically place a dissolvable tablet containing purified extracts of allergens under your tongue.
Currently, four treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration are available: Odactra, for house dust mite allergies, Oralair, for five different grass pollens, Grastek, for Timothy grass allergies, and Ragwitek, for ragweed allergies.
This is a really good option for people who are allergic to these types of pollen but arent seeing improvement on nasal and antihistamine sprays, or develop other complications from these allergies, such as sinus infections or asthma, Hong says.
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Can Allergies Make You Sick
Severe allergies or allergies left unmanaged for long periods of time can cause additional complications. People with chronic allergies tend to get colds more often. In addition, inflamed sinuses can harbor bacteria, leading to sinus or ear infections.
Its also not uncommon for allergy sufferers to also have asthma, resulting in more frequent asthma attacks.
What Causes Fall Allergies
Fall allergies go under the category of allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever, which happens when your bodys immune system reacts to an inhaled pollen in the air. It can cause:
- Post-nasal drip .
Allergic rhinitis encompasses seasonal allergies those that arrive with the onset of a particular season as well as allergies you have all year round, known as perennial allergies.
Perennial allergens are year-round and include people who are sensitive to animal danders , as well as dust mites, cockroaches and molds, which are also considered to be year-round allergens, Dr. Aronica explains. Seasonal allergens include the spring and fall pollens and spring allergens also include trees and grasses.
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