Updated: May 28
Some of us react to environmental allergens practically year ‘round. Some of us only react during certain seasons … if only I were in that category! One thing is for sure – in many parts of the country and around the globe, allergy season is in full bloom. In fact, this year the allergen counts are higher than ever, and I decided to take more definitive action against mine.
Some known allergy symptoms which should be familiar to you are congestion, post-nasal drip, mucus, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, etc. These can even impact your ability to focus and make decisions. You might also experience mood swings, be irritable, not sleep well, etc. You likely know the drill!
There are common sense strategies you can do to minimize your allergic responses. You can reduce your exposure to known allergy triggers by staying inside when it’s windy and dry outside. After a good rain, the allergens have been washed away so you may feel more comfortable going outside. Put on the A/C. You can also let others mow the yard if you’re sensitive to grass, etc. If you have an outdoor clothesline to help dry clothes and get that wonderful fresh aroma, well … you may want to avoid doing that as the allergens can embed in your clothes.
There are many over-the-counter remedies available to treat symptoms, such as oral antihistamines and decongestants, nasal sprays, and combination medications. You can rinse your sinus passages. Your physician may also prescribe some medications that are more effective than the over-the-counter varieties. These may be okay but do not actually build health and resilience.
I am very holistically oriented. Holistic approaches simply work better for me and the side effects are very mild to non-existent. So, there are some natural ways to approach allergy responses. An interesting fact is that almost a third of people who suffer from ragweed are also allergic to certain foods like cucumbers, melons, zucchini, and more. If you test positive for ragweed, you may want to research a fuller list of foods to avoid. If you have an immune system that is compromised in some way, such as those with COPD and other conditions involving the respiratory system, may want to make sure to manage your allergy symptoms so as not to trigger a very serious health condition.
The way to approach allergies in a more holistic manner is to work with your diet, supplements, use essential oils, practice mindfulness, etc. It might also be helpful to know your genetic predisposition to allergies. Managing your stress load is a good way to start managing your allergy symptoms. Allergies are actually your own body attacking itself – yes, it’s autoimmunity. It might be helpful to avoid alcohol and caffeine, dairy, chocolate, peanuts, sugar, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, etc., as these can trigger excessive reactions during allergy seasons. Knowing your individual food sensitivities would be helpful. You can try it to see if it helps.
Some foods that might have a healing effect, especially during times of stress like allergy seasons, are local, raw honey, pineapple, apple cider vinegar, fresh (preferably organic) veggies, grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, free-range poultry, bone broth, etc. You can also beef up your immune system by eating probiotic foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, raw cheese, kombucha, etc. Fermented foods will help strengthen your immune system.
In general, eating in a healthy manner, practicing good mindfulness activities, managing stress, getting some exercise, taking some appropriate supplements, will all add to your overall health and should impact your allergy responses in a positive way. In some cases (like mine!), even with the best of lifestyle practices, you may want to explore other ways to help your body deal with the allergens.
Many of us are pet lovers … I know I am. I used to be a dog person, but when my daughters started dragging stray cats home, I also became a cat lady. How can you help it? They’re so furry and cute (well…also obnoxious at times, but we won’t talk about that now)!
So many of us are taking care of ourselves – our health – in a more holistic and healthy way. Why don’t we do that for our pets, too? Don’t they deserve the same level of care we give ourselves?
This was heavily on my conscience, so I started making changes for my pets. They now eat a high quality, non-wheat dry food product (I am not naming names here!), and they eat some fish and turkey and chicken that I also enjoy. It is devoid of chemicals, added hormones, preservatives, etc.
The environment for me had become an issue, so I began to clean my house with “green” products. This means it’s not only healthier for me, but for my three kitties, too. (This applies equally to dogs and other pets.) Except that which is required by law, I no longer vaccinate my pets. There are wonderful homeopathic remedies for pets, as well as vitamins and other supplements, like omega 3 fatty acids. Our pets can benefit also by acupuncture, chiropractic, herbs, and more … just like I do for myself.
Do our pets need tender loving care? You bet they do! Pets help us reduce our stress, anxiety, depressions, they’re good for our hearts, and more. Why not return the favor?
In addition to healthier eating, our pets want to be touched, too. Most of the time they respond well to petting, cuddling, and getting exercise with their humans. Pets can also benefit from music and meditation – just pay attention to what they like!
For more holistic related health information, please visit Health and Wellness Online.
And don’t forget to have a happy, holistically healthy day – both you and your pets!
Dr. Donna Poppendieck
Health and Wellness Online, LLC