Spring is on its way (less than a month away)! With it come warmer weather, beautiful flowers and, unfortunately, seasonal allergies. Constant sneezing, itchy nose and red, watery eyes, these allergies can be a pain! So, what can you do? These days, there are countless over the counter and prescription medications available: antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroids. However, with the numerous cautions, interactions and side effects of some of these products, some allergy sufferers may need an alternative. A naturopathic doctor (ND) can help you find the best option to address and manage your seasonal allergies.
To begin, you may be curious to find out what exactly you are allergic to. Ask your ND about tests that are available to determine your allergies and sensitivities. These tests will check for an extensive list of allergens and may include inhalant as well as food allergens, as requested.
An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to a substance that should not cause it to react; that is, an overactive immune system results in unnecessary immune responses. Many herbal and nutritional supplements work by balancing the immune system and blunting this inappropriate response. By taking these supplements regularly during allergy season, you can prevent these responses and the symptoms that come with them. Many of these supplements can also be administered to help manage symptoms if and when they occur. In addition, by using a different method of action than antihistamines and decongestants, you bypass the side effects of drowsiness and dryness that are typical of these medications.
Probiotics (good bacteria) have been found to help in balancing the immune system and managing inappropriate immune responses such as might occur in seasonal allergies. Specially formulated probiotics may be used in your treatment protocol as a way to provide long-term management for seasonal allergies as well as providing various other benefits to digestive health, etc.
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that uses very low concentrations of substances to address health concerns. Homeopathic formulas can be very effective at providing relief from seasonal allergies and are particularly well-suited for children thanks to their gentle mode of action and safety. Homeopathics are also ideal for people on other medications as there is no risk of drug interactions.
Speak to a ND about how to get a head start in dealing with seasonal allergies before they start.