Preparing for spring allergies

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Preparing for spring allergies

Preparing for spring allergies

While many of us who have been facing the dark and cold days of winter are looking forward to the spring thaw, for allergy sufferers the change in season comes with a thorny side.

About 25 percent of the population suffers from allergies, especially during the spring and fall when tree, grass and flower pollens, mold and other particles are all carried in the air. It's important to note that all allergies, whether they occur only in the spring or year-round, are a reflection of an impaired immune system.

While an immune reaction to a foreign invader, such as a fever to kill a virus, is a sign of a healthy immune system, when you have a strong reaction to a whiff of grass or flower pollen your immune system is overreacting. Symptoms range from itchy eyes and throat, sneezing, runny nose, sinus congestion, asthma, post-nasal drip, headaches, foggy thinking, fatigue and even diarrhea. Many of these symptoms make up what is known as allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.

You may be tempted to take an over-the-counter antihistamine, decongestant or other drug to get rid of allergy symptoms, but there are other more healthy options that will address not only the symptoms but also the underlying cause.

Strengthen the Immune System

Strengthening the immune system is an important step. Ideally, you should work on having a healthy immune system well before spring comes around so you'll be ready for allergy season.

So how do you build up your immune system? Eliminating sugars and grains from your diet are two important physical principles to strengthen your immune system.

Additionally, obtaining enough sleep and exercise and having an important tool to address the emotional traumas in your life will be particularly helpful.

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

The essential fatty acids found in fish oil and cod liver oil can reduce both allergic and inflammatory response. Cod liver oil may be particularly beneficial because it also contains vitamin A, which enhances the immune system and soothes irritated mucous membranes.

Cod liver oil also contains vitamin D, however, so if you do choose to take cod liver oil during the spring,it ishighly recommended that you get your vitamin D levels tested. Although most Americans' vitamin D levels are far less than optimal, it is possible to overdose on vitamin D, especially during the spring and summer when you'll likely be getting vitamin D from the sun. Again, cod liver oil can be very beneficial, but if you take it in the spring or summer, have your vitamin D levels tested.

Consider Food and Chemical Sensitivities

If you tend to have allergies year-round with increased symptoms around springtime you may be suffering from a food or chemical sensitivity. If you think a food allergy may be partly to blame, avoiding sugar, fruit juices, most grains and pasteurized dairy products is nearly always helpful. Replacing commercial milk with raw milk from grass-fed cows is also usually well tolerated and highly health promoting.

Chemical sensitivities can result if your body is sensitive to any number of toxins such as pesticides, synthetic paint or building materials, cosmetics, plastics and many more. Interestingly, while the chemicals are most obviously responsible for the physical reactions, the chemicals alone are usually not the primary cause. Instead, the primary cause of chemical sensitivity is often emotional trauma.

Air Purifiers

A simple option to reduce your exposure to potential allergens is to purchase an air purifier for your home or work environment. There are many different types of air filters on the market, so you will want to choose one that is suitable to your needs (think about the type of allergens you want to remove, as well as the amount of space you need to clean).