Take on Mother Nature: Ways to battle springtime allergies
With the official first day of spring having been March 20, Northern Nevada is officially in springtime mode, bringing all things sunshine and flowers related. Unfortunately, that means seasonal allergies. Here are some steps you can take to save your sinuses this season.
According to The Center for Health and Internal Medicine, seasonal allergies are most commonly due to pollen and microscopic particles in the air from blossoming plants. These easily irritate our senses, causing symptoms as minor as itchy eyes to as serious as trouble breathing. Allergies can lead to threatening side effects if not taken care of properly.
“If you don’t treat chronic allergies, it can lead to chronic sinus infections and ear infections. Especially if they have asthma as well, it can lead to uncontrolled asthma. You really want to pay attention to your allergy triggers and take care of symptoms when they occur,” said Shelly Nelson, nurse practitioner at Northern Nevada Allergy Association.
One of the oldest holistic tricks in the book to treat seasonal allergies is simply a tablespoon of local honey consumed every day. This prevents allergic reactions to regional allergens because bees eat pollen during pollination, which is then put into the honey they produce. By then eating the honey, you gradually immunize yourself to the allergens in your region. That’s why it’s so important to find local honey, versus honey from out of the area you find on the shelves of your local grocery store.
“When bees collect nectar, it dehydrates into honey. Some of the pollen they collect is in that honey in minute amounts and it helps build up immunity,” said Debbie Gilmore, co-owner of Mason Valley Beekeepers. “Another thought is honey is really good to build someone’s immune system, helping them to be more healthy overall, to then fight off allergies. The most beneficial way to get honey into you system is just a teaspoon to tablespoon of plain raw honey every day, that way you get the maximum benefits.”
If you don’t like your honey raw, try mixing it into your morning coffee or tea, in lieu of your usual sweetener.
Another tip to beat allergens, at least in the comfort of your own home or workspace, is to get an air purifier. Simply shutting doors and windows isn’t enough to escape allergen spores that infiltrate the air around us. Air purifiers sterilize the air by running the air through filters, which can catch pollutants like dust, smoke, chemicals, asbestos, pollen, and pet dander. Just be sure to also keep your home clean by vacuuming and dusting, because pollutants like pollen are heavy and will fall to the floor if not caught by the air purifier first.
If a teaspoon of honey isn’t the right medicine, and you can’t stay beside an air purifier at all times of the day, holistic herbs and medicines might be the way to go. According to the Center for Health and Internal Medicine, studies have proven the herbs spirulina, eyebright, goldenseal, and butterbur all effectively diminish the symptoms of allergies. In fact, according to LearningHerbs, many studies have found butterbur treats allergies better than most over the counter allergy medicine like Zyrtec or Allegra. It can be used symptomatically for occasional symptoms and daily in chronic allergies. Just be sure to seek a PA-free butterbur such as Petadolex.
Of course, if these steps aren’t enough for your allergies, contact your doctor about treatment.