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Are you managing your allergies or are they managing you?

Are you managing your allergies or are they managing you? | Mr Vitamins
Allergies, including hayfever, are not something you have to put up with, and yet many people do! It is that time of year when the mixture of pollen from our beautiful and diverse flowers and the spring winds to carry them, cause havoc for many people. Hayfever, also known as allergic rhinitis is an IgE-mediated immune reaction in response to airborne allergens. It effects between 10-15% of people and usually initially occurs before the age of 30. Symptoms are similar to viral rhinitis but appear with seasonal triggers.

What are common allergy symptoms?

Many people suffer allergies in silence, some suffer more severely than others. Symptoms include:
  • Sneezing and nasal obstruction
  • Sinus congestion  - pain across the frontal area and across the cheekbones and aching teeth
  • Itchy eyes
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Persistent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma
  • Ear infections
  • Rashes and hives
  • Eczema
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sleep disturbances

What are some of the common causes of allergies?

Allergies are caused by an imbalance in the immune system. Major risk factors contribute to the severity and incidence of an allergy attack and these include:
  • Family disposition – there is a 50% chance of developing allergies if one parent has allergies, and a 75% chance if both parents have allergies.
  • Being repeatedly exposed to allergens whether they be inhaled, touched or eaten.
  • Length and severity of exposure.
  • Smoking or exposure to second hand smoke.

Common irritations for all allergens include:

  • Pollens and grasses
  • Dust mites
  • Chemicals in personal products
  • Chemicals in cleaning products
  • Reactions to foods
  • Reactions for food additives
  • Pesticides
  • Mould spores

What can you do to help manage your seasonal allergy symptoms?

  • If possible identify allergens/irritants and try to eliminate or reduce exposure to them
  • Replace pillow each year at the beginning of the allergy season to reduce exposure to dust mites
  • Cover mattress with a allergy cover
  • Minimise dust collecting furnishings in the house such as carpet and curtains (many people have eliminated their seasonal pollen allergies just by removing the carpet in their house).
  • Use an air purifier.
  • Eat a healthy wholefood diet with at least 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables.
  • Drink 1.5 to 2 litres of filtered water every day.
  • Avoid foods that may produce in inflammatory response.
  • Avoid foods with a high content of mould.
  • Avoid processed and refined foods.
  • Avoid foods that contain preservatives, additives and/or pesticides.
  • Get plenty of sleep and rest.
  • Get plenty of fresh air and exercise, unless know outdoor allergens are very active.
  • After being outside, wash hair and cloths to remove pollens.
  • Apply hot packs over the affected area (taking care of both temperature and length of application).
  • Speak to your health professional to get advice on supporting your immune system and reducing your allergic response through diet and lifestyle, nutritional supplementation and herb medicine.
This article concentrates on seasonal allergies but don't forget that food allergies are also extremely common and can also be managed….

Article by Naturopath Janne Ramsay