Simple solutions for allergy sufferers

With allergies being the fifth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States, many people are suffering.

by Dr. Paul Stallone — 

How would you like to belong to a group of more than 50 million people and growing? What if being a part of this group meant that your days were ruined, your job was interrupted and you were sick to the point of having to stay in bed all day? If you are one of the millions of people affected by allergies in the United States, then this would be your life and now is the time of year you literally dread — for good reason.

With allergies being the fifth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States, many people are suffering. Unless you desensitize your system, you are merely covering up the symptoms with medication, and year after year, your allergies will only become worse. The good news is many different options exist to help rid yourself of allergens and reclaim your life.

Desensitizing your body allows your immune system to tolerate allergens. By slowly introducing dust, mold and pollen, your body learns to ignore these allergy-causing agents and, in turn, will stop overreacting to them. There are different techniques for desensitizing the body; some call for injections, others for oral drops. This method also aids in the relief of asthma, a condition that can be triggered or made worse by allergies. The process of desensitizing the body also works for eczema, hives, chronic cough, recurrent bronchitis, nasal polyps, mental effects and hyperactivity.

The orthomolecular approach is a natural allergy treatment program that centers on using nutritional supplements to strengthen the body. By treating your allergies naturally with vitamins, minerals and herbs, you boost and strengthen your immune system while providing adrenal support. With the orthomolecular approach, not only are you combating your allergy symptoms now, but you are also helping your body fight illness in the future.

Before you start buying every herb in the store, do some research and/or talk to your physician. Some nutrients and herbs strengthen the adrenals so that your body can better deflect attacks by allergens. Other nutrients and herbs work as natural antihistamines and natural decongestants to keep your breathing passages clear.

Vitamin C with bioflavonoids is an excellent antioxidant that works as a natural antihistamine while providing a boost for your immune system and adrenals.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) boosts adrenal function and also defends against stress.

CoQ10 is an all-around great supplement that enhances immunity while working as an antihistamine. It also helps you handle stress.

Vitamin A reduces inflammation and boosts your immune system. If your allergies include coughing and runny nose, it is a good bet that you have some inflammation; vitamin A will provide excellent support.

Licorice root is great for allergies and colds, and may also increase the level of interferon produced by your body, a natural chemical that fights viruses. Licorice root has shown to be an almost-miracle cure because it encourages the adrenal glands to generate hormones that battle illness and allergies, and also reduces inflammation.

Capsicum is an herb that is high in vitamin C and quercetin, a natural antihistamine. Studies have shown that it may help your respiratory system fight infections, and it has been proven to amplify energy and aid with allergies and respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma and common colds.

Stinging nettle is often used as an allergy treatment and contains carotene, vitamin K and quercetin. When purchasing this botanical, make sure to choose extracts of stinging nettle leaf, not extract of the root, which is used to treat prostate problems.

Bromelain is helpful in decreasing nasal swelling, making it easier to breathe.

Astragalus has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and may be used to protect and support the immune system. Astragalus is also great for preventing colds and upper respiratory infections.

Evening primrose oil is used largely to relieve the itchiness related to certain skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.

The supplements listed above are great for symptoms that have already made your life miserable, but what about preventing the symptoms altogether? Implementing the household tips in the box to the left will make a significant difference.

Many allergy treatments are available for use at home. Nasal irrigation is a simple way to clean your nasal passages and is a highly effective method for removing pollution from your nasal cavities. A Neti Pot is a device you fill with a simple saline solution that can provide enormous relief when it comes to allergies. Nasal irrigation is not the same as using nasal sprays, which deliver medication only to your nasal passages. There have been numerous cases of people who have performed nasal irrigation three times a day for extended periods of time and have seen their allergies disappear; this is not a guarantee and may not work in every case, but it does show what some people can accomplish through irrigation.

Acupuncture works on the theory that your body contains energy centers at specific, strategic points. These energy centers are linked to particular parts of the body. Research has shown that acupuncture can assist the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells. It also has been shown that alpha, beta and gamma globulins increase after acupuncture therapy, all of which assist in fighting infection and producing immune antibodies. Acupuncture can help PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, stress and an array of other illnesses. If you are open to trying new healing modalities, find a reputable local practitioner and get started.

Household tips to help allergies

  • Maintain home temperature at 70 degrees F.
  • Buy zippered dust-proof/allergen-proof covers for pillows and mattresses.
  • Remove carpeting. If this is not an option, use low-pile instead of high-pile carpeting.
  • Vacuum weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has a (HEPA) filter. Shampoo carpets frequently with organic
  • earth-friendly products.
  • Wash your bedding weekly in hot water (at least 130 degrees F).
  • Keep indoor humidity below 50 percent.
  • Avoid upholstered furniture and blinds.
  • Add (HEPA) filters to your furnace or room units.
  • Keep all pets with fur or feathers out of the bedroom, if not the whole house. Bathing pets at least twice a week may reduce the amount of their dander.
  • Avoid potted plants. If not possible, spread aquarium
  • gravel over the dirt to help contain mold.
  • Avoid wood-burning fireplaces or stoves. Most natural gas fireplaces will not cause a problem.

No matter the severity of your allergies, give the above information a chance; you will be surprised to find how easily the body can heal itself. And remember, what you put into your body eventually becomes your body. Take extra care of it, and it will take care of you.

 

Paul Stallone, N.M.D., founded the Arizona Integrative Medical Center in Scottsdale, Ariz. He combines natural, alternative and conventional treatments to best fit and benefit each individual patient’s needs. 480-214-3922 or www.drstallone.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 2, Apr/May 2010.

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