It happens every year – after the winter thaw, the sniffling, stuffy nose and sneezing starts. For some, it happens later in the year. During the summer, some suffer from ragweed and other pollens. In the fall, kids going back to school have to deal with allergies brought into common spaces by fellow classmates. Studies have shows that allergies cost up to 7 million dollars in lost productivity country-wide, which indicates an immense amount of lost of time and ability to perform every day tasks for those who suffer. There are many over the counter drugs for allergies that can temporarily help ease the symptoms, however we can sometimes become immune to these drugs and fall into the vicious trap of having to continuously medicate ourselves with various pills and chemical-based prescriptions. Unbeknownst to some, there are holistic and naturopathic methods to help manage and even cure seasonal allergies, enabling those who suffer to eliminate the chemical-based treatments they normally put into their bodies and in their place use natural, safe and healthy substances.
The first real question when looking at a naturopathic approach to treating seasonal allergies is to understand what they really are. Once we understand this, we can see that looking only at the symptoms and curing those which are apparent doesn’t actually solve the underlying problem. Seasonal allergies are caused by pollens and other allergens that a person’s body reacts to as they may be more sensitive to them, or not often exposed. To defend itself, the body releases a chemical called histamine which causes common symptoms including sneezing, stuffy nose, irritated eyes, skin rashes and more. There are many factors that can affect the severity of the allergy symptoms suffered, including weather, time of year and location.
Recent studies show that adverse reactions to food has climbed to 25% in young children – which is substantially more than it ever used to be. This is caused by several factors, including early weaning of babies with introduction to foods, genetically modified produce and less diversity in foods that are eaten. These reactions can be very dangerous, and even life threatening if not properly managed and monitored. Many of the remedies for these cases include some type of chemical prescription drug, which only combats the symptoms and not the underlying problem.
Naturopathy is based on the premise that the body can heal itself – so naturally, when we see cases of seasonal allergies, we don’t rely on prescription drugs, and have found a more holistic and organic way to treat them. There are 3 main ways to manage seasonal allergies using a naturopathic approach:
- Desensitization Treatment
For those who suffer severe allergies, a naturopath can administer desensitization treatments to help the body become immune to different allergens. These treatments can vary in length and severity (skin pricks, external only, etc), but all produce the end result of an allergy-free patient. In speaking to your naturopath, you will learn what allergies you have with initial testing (even some you may not have known about), and be prescribed the correct treatment based on the severity and tolerance to the allergens.
2. Change of Diet
A healthy diet is an extremely important part of a healthy immune systems, so what you put into your body on a daily basis can greatly affect how much a person suffers from allergies. Recent studies show that red meat contains arachidonic acid, which encourage your immune system to react to allergens and cause inflammation. Although we need a small amount of arachidonic acid for our immune system to function properly, our bodies are capable of producing this naturally, and does not need to eat red meat in order to satisfy this. By eliminating or limiting the amount of red meat in your diet, you can greatly reduce your allergy symptoms.
On the other hand, Omega-3 fatty acids can help to protect you from allergic reactions, as well as foods that are rich in Vitamin E. Both of these key components are essential to a generally healthy diet, whether you suffer allergies or not. An assessment of your diet can easily be done by your naturopath to help you figure out where you have deficiencies or excess nutrients to easily and simply better your daily living, and help manage allergic reactions that may be experienced.
With a lack of natural, organic foods, and an abundance of GMO’s, it’s very likely that you’re not getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals that your body naturally needs to keep itself healthy. Diets that are low in Omega-6 fatty acids and high in vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids and natural anti-inflammatories can help to reduce the allergy symptoms suffered. Some examples of supplements that can greatly reduce seasonal allergy discomfort include vitamin C, B5, Zinc Picolinate and Cod Liver Oil. However, it’s always best to speak with your naturopath to assess your current supplement intake and diet, and prescribe a supplement mixture right for your needs.
Naturopathic remedies to seasonal allergies produce a more natural, safer and healthier approach to treating symptoms that so many of us suffer from. With various methods of treatment and always working to address the actual problem rather than just the symptoms, your naturopath can help you live a happier, sniffle-free life, no matter what the season.
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