Warm weather months are usually universally welcomed after a long, cold winter. But for the 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, spring and summer are often more miserable than they need to be.
“Allergy Season” is an unfortunate but catchy term used to describe the commonly experienced symptoms produced by trees, pollen, and grasses as the weather warms up. While allergies tend to show up just in time for Spring, using the term “season” to describe this annual phenomenon is unfortunate because it makes allergies an expected experience and influences people to stop asking questions like “why” and “can I solve this issue?”
(BTW, the short answers to these questions are “overactive immune system” and “yes”.)
We all know at least one person who doesn’t suffer from allergies. As annoyingly blessed as these people are, they provide us with invaluable knowledge: it is possible for some humans to live unaffected by allergens.
Well, here’s what we know: when a foreign substance enters a human body, the body will often react quickly by sneezing or coughing to remove the substance. This is normal and healthy, because if the substance was dangerous or toxic, you would want it removed from your body as quickly as possible. This reflex will likely last seconds or minutes.
An allergy is when an inherently harmless substance enters the body and the body responds with prolonged sneezing, coughing, or other anaphylactic reaction. We call these substances allergens, but they are not considered allergens to all people, meaning they don’t affect all people negatively like a poison or a toxin would. For some people, grass is just grass. For others, it’s a miserable, itchy rash. This is important to distinguish because it means it’s not the allergen that causes the symptoms, it’s the person’s own body. It’s very easy to point the fingers at the trigger of an allergic reaction, but the real issue lies within the person’s immune system.
When a well-functioning immune system encounters an allergen, nothing happens. When a hypersensitive immune system encounters an allergen, histamine is released in the body, creating all those familiar symptoms. Children often suffer from allergies because their bodies are too stressed to develop a healthy, functioning immune system, but this can change as the children grow and is why some people had bad allergies as kids but “grow out” of them as adults.
To improve your allergies, you must improve your immune system. This won’t be achieved through store-bought allergy “solutions” consisting of antihistamine pills, nasal sprays, eye drops, and decongestants. While medications are important in a life-saving emergency, it is not the most practical solution for mild to moderate seasonal allergies, as they only manage the symptoms and don’t do anything to fix the root cause.
The first step in improving your immune system is to take a look at what could be over-stressing it. What allergens are you sensitive to? How long have you had allergies? What was happening in your life when they first developed? How have they changed over time? When we can figure out what stress is causing overwhelm in the immune and nervous systems, we can make the necessary corrections, whether they be chiropractic adjustments, resolving emotional stress, adding homeopathy, correcting nutrition, or eliminating something from your environment to give the body time to heal.
There are a few home remedies you can try, if you want to avoid medications:
Eating local honey from the farmer’s market to introduce pollen essence into your body in smaller doses
Using air purifiers to remove dust, pollen, and pet dander from the air of your home
Hanging fresh eucalyptus in your shower to open your airways
Naturally boost your immune system and calm the histamine response with vitamin C, quercetin, and bromelain from a well-trusted source. You can order online here.
Ultimately, each person gets to choose how they want to experience health. If you are living with seasonal allergies and missing out on fun outdoor activities, know it doesn’t have to be that way.
The cause of your immune imbalance may be different from that of your friends or family members, so I encourage you to get individualized care and discover the underlying cause for you.