I was allergic to the great outdoors growing up. I’d spend twice a year camped out on my grandmother’s couch with pneumonia or bronchitis for anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.
Not a fun way to spend your Spring and Fall, plus not to mention catching up on all that school work.
But I don’t suffer the same way anymore. I haven’t had pneumonia since middle school, and while my allergies do flare up, I’m able to manage them far better.
Here I share a few simple ways to help decrease your allergies and hopefully, get you breathing better!
Ways to Decrease Your Allergies
You can have mild to severe reactions to allergens, which are those substances that come into contact with the skin, nose, eyes, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract. Common allergens are:
- Animal dander
- Bee stings or stings from other insects
- Foods, especially nuts, fish, and shellfish
- Insect bites
Mild reactions to these allergens can be sneezing, itching, watery eyes, rashes and even hives. The more severe reactions can include:
- Difficulty with Breathing – Abnormal, Irregular Breathing, Chest Discomfort, Tightness, & Wheezing
- Abdominal pain, Nausea, Vomiting, & Diarrhea
- Dizziness, light headedness
- Redness in the face, flushing, swelling
In the past, and as many doctors recommend, I relied of over-the-counter or prescription medications to help me breathe. I did the rounds with allergy shots during middle school and high school. They did a lovely test by drilling little holes in my back and then put purified drops of the allergens in them to see how I responded. My back was one itchy, welted mess. Then, over a course of several years, I would have to go into the doctors office and get my shots, which were a purified form of the allergens that are causing problems – things like pet dander, dust, pollen. In my case, the great outdoors. You had to wait at least a half hour to make sure you didn’t have an allergic response to the shot. Even so, after 3 years, the doctors will still tell you that you may no longer to seem to be allergic to those allergens. The more I began to learn about health, the more I wanted to find other ways to keep me from relying on those medicines (and the shots) to keep my breathing clear.
I could avoid those things and places I knew would trigger an allergic response, but that meant never leaving my house.
Instead, we’ve had the air ducts cleaned (don’t watch them do it when you have it done to your house, you won’t believe what’s in those air vents). We’ve taken out most of the carpets and replaced them with tile or hardwood. The toxins and emissions in the carpets can be surprising triggers for many. We are religious about changing out the air filters and have several clean air machines around the house. I even have one of those salt lamps (I haven’t studied how much it really helps, but it does make for a nice ambiance.)
Cleaning supplies can have hidden toxins and cause an allergic response.
When our son was born, his little body didn’t like the laundry detergent. It took me a while to figure out why he kept breaking out in hives. I did a lot of research and learned that a simple mixture of baking soda, Borax, and distilled white vinegar did a great job of cleaning clothes and less to no reaction from his skin. And, instead of relying heavily on hand santizer, we simply focus on water and soap. As for household cleaning agents? I found a great company from one of those home parties we all go to, Norwex cloths. They’re microfiber – get them wet and clean! I recently restocked my stash after 7 years. I have the mop too and have to stay you can really feel the difference when you walk across the floor barefoot after having used it.
The bulk of our immune system is in our gut. If that’s out of whack, your whole system can be compromised.
Food allergies can change over time. And some of our cleaning activities can effect the good bacteria in our systems as well as the bad. Probiotics are microorganisms believed to help improve certain aspects of people’s health. Our digestive tracts house over 500 types of bacteria. With a body made up of an average of 10 trillion cells, we also house between 100-400 trillion bacteria. We really are made up mostly of bugs. One of my business partners laughs at me because I always recommend taking a good probiotic to any new client (and usually anyone who’s ever asked me a health question). Our systems are so unbalanced because of the foods we eat and the toxins in our environment. If you’re feeling bloated, tired, lethargic…it may be time to do a dietary detox and get your GI Tract back in balance. And who knows? Maybe it will help with some of those allergies. Foods rich in anti-oxidants can help too. Things like green tea, berries, pineapple, seeds. I like starting my day with a warm cup of water and half a fresh squeezed lemon. It helps to balance the pH in my stomach.
Supplements! No matter how clean you’re eating, you’re still not getting the same nutrients we were getting in the past.
I feel that I had the best results when I started to add in grape seed extract and Vitamin D to my daily regimen. Grapes have been a part of traditional treatments in Europe for thousands of years. And no, we’re not talking about drinking wine, although many people do say a glass of red wine a day is beneficial. Grape seed extract is derived from the ground-up seeds of red wine grapes. Grape seed extract is being studied in the United State to see how it can potentially help with cardiovascular conditions, poor circulation, high cholesterol, reducing swelling caused by injury, and eye disease related to diabetes. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. I’ve been using for over 9 years now and rarely have to take an OTC medicine to combat the pollen when it ramps up.
And last but not least, saline rinse.
I tried my hand at learning to use a Neti pot and finally gave up. I just couldn’t get the angle right or something. Instead I found a saline rinse system. The saline helps remove pollen from your nasal passages and also clears and thins the mucus. I found that nasal sprays could get addicting to use and cause more harm to the lining in the nasal passage. The saline rinse feels like a safer and healthier alternative. And, safe for the kids to use too.
I hope the above helps you in someway if you’re suffering from allergies this season.
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