Judging by the dense layer of pollen on my car, spring is in the air. At least, in California. But along with the blooming flowers, sunny days, and singing birds comes seasonal allergies. Runny noses, itchy eyes, and the never-ending sneezing. Yuck!
I know when I get seasonal allergies, I will do anything to make them go away. But I can't stand taking over-the-counter allergy medications. They knock me out or I am so looped out, I can't function. It is worse than the allergies in my opinion. Well, if you are like me, you want to deal with your allergies in a way that will not only alleviate your symptoms but also treat the cause and calm your immune system. And you want to do it naturally, working with your body and not against it. Addressing your allergies this way can take work and time, but is well worth the effort when spring rolls around and you are not bothered by allergies. But first, here is a quick tip to alleviate your symptoms now.
Sounds gross, I know. But it is just a shower for nose and sinuses. It works by washing away the allergens, the dust, dander, and pollen, that are irritating your nose. There are several different contraptions you can use. My favorite is the NeilMed Sinus Rinse. Neti Pots are also common.
How to Use NeilMed Sinus Rinse
- Add package of powder to the bottle.
- Fill the bottle to the line with sterilized water that is warm (not hot).
- Lean over the sink so that your forehead is slightly lower than your chin.
- Fit cap snugly to one nostril.
- Open your mouth and keep it open.
- Gently squeeze bottle to begin rinsing.
- Water should drain out your other nostril or through your mouth.
- Keep your head tilted forward to minimize mouth drainage.
- Repeat with the other nostril.
- Gently blow your nose to clear nostrils of residual water.
How to Use Neti Pot
- Dissolve 1/4 tsp of finely ground non-iodized salt into 8 ounces of warm, filtered water.
- Pour water into Neti Pot.
- Lean your head over the sink so that your forehead is slightly lower than your chin.
- Rotate your head 90 degrees so one nostril is stacked above the other.
- Fit spout of Neti Pot into top nostril to form a gentle seal.
- Open your mouth and keep it open.
- Gently pour water into your top nostril.
- Water should drain out your bottom nostril or your mouth.
- Keep forehead tilted lower than your chin to minimize mouth drainage.
- Repeat for the other nostril.
- Beware of spontaneous water drainage from your nose after you are done.
The Cause of Allergies
All allergies are just the immune system misbehaving and overreacting. The immune system reacts to a benign substance as if it were life-threatening. But why does it do this? We don't know the full answer to this. In many ways, the immune system is still a mystery. But here are some things that may contribute to your allergies:
- Genetics. You may have a genetic predisposition to allergies but this does not necessarily mean you are doomed. We can change the way your genes are expressed. This is called epigenetics.
- Poor digestion. A huge part of our immune system lives in our gut. When our digestion is poor and when we eat certain foods, this can have an impact on our immune system.
- Dysbiosis. This is a fancy term that means that your gut bacteria are wacky. Like I said before, a large part of our immune system is in our gut. It turns out that the bacteria in our gut have a lot to say to our immune system. But what they are saying depends on which bacteria are present. And not all of them are nice.
- Environmental toxins. A large exposure to chemical pollution in the air, your water, and your food may overwhelm your body and cause it to be overly sensitive to allergens.
A licensed naturopathic doctor will work with you on each of these factors to bring your body and immune system back into balance. Many people notice less severe allergies, a shorter duration of allergies, and some find they don't have allergies anymore.
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I'm Dr. Carly and my mission is to create a health revolution. I believe that another prescription is not the answer. I believe in using natural therapies that go beyond the symptoms. And I believe that doctors should spend way more than 7 minutes with a patient.