Achoo!! Allergy Season is Back
Achoo!! Allergy Season is Back
Spring is such a beautiful time when the buds come out and we start to see greenery and flowers but in order for this process to be self-sustaining, all kinds of pollens, seeds and buds must blow around in the air and land somewhere else to propagate their species. Unfortunately slightly more than twenty per cent of our population is allergic to these pollens that fly through the air during the beginning of spring. By mid summer most of the pollination has taken place and allergy-suffers get a bit of a reprieve. But by late August and into September the process starts again and it is usually worse in the fall. All these pollens flying though the air eventually come to a halt after the first frost which may not occur until October or November so it is a long season for those people who suffer from what is generally known as hay fever.
So what exactly happens when these grasses, pollens and seeds that are flying around in the air meet up with a person who is allergic to them? The answer is an organic compound in our bodies called histamine that triggers an exaggerated immune system response. The usual symptoms are sneezing, runny nose, red and swollen eyes, even swollen eyelids and overall a terrible feeling of discomfort.
More than fifty years ago pharmaceutical companies discovered compounds that could stop the release of histamine and thus stop the allergic reaction. These molecules fit exactly like keys into the receptor sites that released histamine and blocked their release. They were known as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and chlor-tripolon (chlorpheniramine). They worked really well but caused a great deal of drowsiness. They also had to be taken 3 or 4 times a day because they only lasted for about 4 hours. Today they are used primarily as over-the-counter sleep medications because of this side-effect. When you get a mosquito bite or a bee sting these antihistamines actually work faster and better than the new ones but they must be used immediately. Once the trigger has gone off to release the histamine, for example a poison ivy rash, only immediate ingestion of the antihistamine can stop it quickly. However, 24 hours later it is too late and it will take a week for the rash to go away.
Today the newer antihistamines in the pharmacy such as Reactin and Claritin can be taken just once a day but for many people they are not 100 per cent effective and they do have side-effects such as dry mouth and dry eyes.
Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine in tablets, capsules may relieve some symptoms but can be very dangerous and even cause heart attacks if you have high blood pressure. Many allergy relief eye drops also contain decongestants and they too can cause a heart attack by increasing your blood pressure and none of these decongestants should ever be taken by people with glaucoma.
Natural Remedies for Allergies
Since allergies are actually a heightened immune system response it is important for allergy sufferers to stay away from any products that boost your immune system. Many health food products carry this claim and this can actually make the allergy sufferer worse.
My favourite product is a homeopathic preparation known as Pollens 19 Canada. This product contains 19 different species of Canadian pollens, grasses and ragweeds. You are probably wondering why I would recommend the actual products that you are allergic to. The answer is because these pollens are diluted down to miniscule amounts as though they were a form of vaccination against allergies. In this case, rather than further stimulate your immune system, these pollens trigger your body to produce antibodies against all of these grasses and attack and destroy them when you come in contact. They come in the form of sublingual pellets and in order to be effective you must dissolve 5 of these pellets under your tongue every morning during the allergy season. For most people this prevents you from having an allergic reaction during allergy season. It is always preferable to take something that prevents an attack than to wait until the attack has begun. Once your body starts releasing histamine in full force almost nothing will stop it.
Some people do not have as severe a reaction as others and may have a stuffy or runny nose or sinus problems that occur during this time of year. In this case it is not really an allergy but an irritation caused by all the fine particles in the air that your breathe in. For this you can use oregano oil drops once or twice a day and a sinus product called Sinna, a nasal spray that keeps your sinus cavities moist and clear of debris.
Seasonal allergy symptoms also respond to Quercitin capsules, stinging nettle, high potency fish oil and some homeopathic products made by Boiron.
You may have heard of people who eat strawberries and then all of a sudden develop an allergy to them causing their skin to break out in a rash and swelling of the face. The same thing applies to people who suffer from seasonal allergies. You may go through half your life and never have a problem and then suddenly one season it starts and it will not go away. Other people have been affected in reverse whereby they have always suffered allergic reactions in the spring and fall and then as they age the symptoms keep on diminishing until they almost do not exist. So far there is no explanation for this phenomenon and you only hope that if you did suffer from seasonal allergies then this is the year they do not affect you.
Most of the physical ailments that affect us as human beings can be minimized by eating a healthy diet and exercising but seasonal allergies are in a class all by themselves. No matter how healthy you are and no matter the greatness of your physical condition you can still be brought down to your knees by these tiny little pollens that float through the air.