Sunday, April 24, 2016

Allergies Anyone?

Image result for allergies sneezing

My Approach to Coping with Allergies

I may be a Counselor but I've been involved in Complementary Health for over 20 years with my own health and research. I had extreme allergies and other severe health issues for over six years, during which time I became my own health advocate because not as much was known at the time. I also worked at the EHC-Dallas for two years, a world renowned clinic for Environmental Illness and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities....I say that because I want to take a moment and talk to you about allergies.

So many people suffer from allergies during the various seasons here in Texas. I see it every year in my counseling office...people come in complaining of having the flu, bronchitis, colds, etc. spring season (trees, grasses, weeds), fall season (ragweed), and winter season (mountain cedar).

First, allergies don't have to just look like runny noses and sneezing! Symptoms can range from the obvious ones I mentioned above to digestive issues, neurological symptoms, flu-like symptoms, even fatigue and depression, among others...

So what can you do about all this? Well there are lot of things you can do.
  • Increasing certain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories like vitamin C, quercetin and bromelain. You may want to add other supplements if you aren’t already taking them, such as B-complex (to help your body deal with stress), magnesium (nature’s muscle relaxer and calming mineral which is also involved in over 300 enzyme functions), flax seed oil (besides providing you with essential fatty acids and omega-3’s, it also is rich in vit A which is important for the mucous membranes which line your lungs, intestines, etc. You can’t cook with it, but you can add it to foods such as salads, yogurt, baked potatoes.  HINT. Keep it in your fridge to keep it fresh longer.)
  • Homeopathic remedies for pollen.
  • One of the most beneficial tools I have found in dealing with allergies when they are severe is eliminating all grains. All grains includes not just gluten grains like wheat, barley, rye, spelt and kamut, but also rice and corn and other so-called grasses like buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa. All of these foods can cause cross reactions with the pollens that come out and increase your symptoms. For some dairy is also an issue, but each person is very different, so I’ll leave it up to you to find works for you. So what does that leave? It leaves a lot of things...fruits and vegetables, meat, beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash and potatoes. (Two older, but still pertinent books I’d recommend are, An Alternative Approach to Allergies, by Theron Randolph, and If this is Tuesday it must be Chicken, by Natalie Golos.
  • Environmental changes in your house can also make a difference, but try just starting in your bedroom.  Remove carpeting and installing tile or hardwood.  Get a good HEPA filter.  Get a good barrier cover that covers your mattress that is washable. This will prevent dust mites and pollen, etc. from absorbing into your mattress which you are then re-exposed to every time you sleep. Place your pillow in the dryer on high for 5 minutes once a week.  Take a quick shower in the evening to rinse off any pollen and other allergens before going to bed.
  • Other environmental changes for your whole house can include using safer non-toxic cleaning products, some of which you can make yourself, or by using cheap/safe products like baking soda, vinegar, etc. Look into increasing the efficiency of the filter in your home HVAC system.  Sometimes this can be done relatively inexpensively.
  • And on a final note, I’d like to say a few words about stress.  We all experience it, so learn to take time for yourself, whether it’s an hour with your favorite book, a bath, a walk around the lake, a cup of chamomile tea. There are a lot of very good tools that you can learn and resources/people that can help you with this process.  Here are just a few; books/videos on stress and coping strategies, mindfulness, Yoga, Massage and other bodywork therapies, Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Counseling to just name a few.

Disclaimer: this article is not meant to be a replacement for seeking medical advice.

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