Fall is here and many of us are probably noticing that we are starting to sniffle and sneeze a little more often. We have pollen to thank for that. Ragweed pollination is in full swing during the fall months. When pollen gets into the noses of certain people, it triggers the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other allergy symptoms.
Air pollution can make allergy symptoms worse. One of the most common pollutants is ozone, which is created in the atmosphere by a combination of sunlight, nitrogen oxide, and hydrocarbons from burning fuel. Clouds of ozone are created around some cities as the sunlight becomes stronger.
Inside, molds love damp areas, including the basement and bathrooms. Their spores get into the air and can cause problems for allergy sufferers.
Dust mites, tiny insects, thrive in warm, humid temperatures and nest in beds, fabric, and carpets. Their residue can get into the air, triggering sneezes, wheezes, itchy skin and runny noses.
In a healthy person, when the immune system is stressed by being exposed to these environmental triggers, chemicals are released that produce inflammation. These chemicals are made by immune cells that migrate to the site where the body is compromised. By the end of the inflammatory process another group of immune cells begins to produce chemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties. These anti-inflammatory chemicals help in calming the area of inflammation. As a result, the symptoms of inflammation begin to resolve. The body, in the ideal situation, is genetically programmed to heal itself.
These symptoms become a chronic occurrence when your immune system is not functioning at 100%. Here are some tips to keep you healthy throughout the springtime months.
Clean up the diet by removing simple sugars. These sugars include glucose, sucrose, fructose and lactose and processed white flours. These sugars are in cereals, juices, cookies, cake, candy, soda, soft drinks, shakes, snack bars, milk, cheese, ice cream, bread, pasta, crackers and fast foods.
Sugar, like salt, is dehydrating to the body. Dehydration increases histamine levels. Histamine is another pro-inflammatory chemical that can worsen symptoms. Water helps reduce histamine levels. Approximately, seventy percent of our body is made up of water. Make sure you drink water as your main beverage and stay well hydrated.
Remove unhealthy fats. These include partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, vegetable shortening and cooking oils such as corn, vegetable, safflower and sunflower oils. Use olive oil, organic butter, grape seed oil, coconut oil and cold pressed oils for cooking. You can also supplement your diet with good quality fish oil.
Eliminate the dyes, preservatives, food colorings, artificial sweeteners and additives found in most foods. Even pay attention to the color of your toothpaste and deodorant.
Of course, we all have those urges to eat ice cream, chips, candy, etc. That’s why I recommend the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time stick with a diet that is filled with whole foods (i.e. vegetables, legumes, meat, chicken, fish, fruit) and the other 20% of the time satisfy your craving!
Since chiropractic deals directly with allowing the nervous system to function at its highest ability, chiropractic care for an individual with allergies can be extremely beneficial. It is a safe, effective, and natural form of care.
It’s most important to understand that chiropractic is not a treatment for allergies. Its purpose is to reduce stress on the body. Stress interferes with the proper functioning of the nervous system, can weaken the immune system, lower resistance and reduce the body’s ability to heal effectively.
The chiropractic adjustment frees the nervous system from spinal stress allowing the immune system to function properly. This allows you to respond to internal and external environmental stresses more efficiently.
The adjustment is very gently and customized to each patients’ needs. At Sandstone Chiropractic, we offer of variety of adjustment techniques to best fit the patient.
We are all being overexposed to chemicals from the products we use in our household and daily lives. As the exposure becomes greater, allergic responses are also increasing.
Trading out your all-purpose cleaner for vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and water is one way to eliminate the exposure.
Avoid petroleum-based products. This is very common in the lotion, shampoo, conditioner and body wash that we use.
Rather than using insect repellent that you buy in the store, use eucalyptus oil as a deterrent for those pesky bugs.
Switch your laundry detergent to chemical free. Several manufacturers create detergents that are free of phosphates and chlorine and are super concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
If your or anyone in your family starts sniffling, sneezing, itching or comes home with a bite, here are a few natural remedies to eliminate the symptoms.
Vitamin E oil applied to a bee sting can relieve pain and swelling.
A slice of onion rubbed on the site will relieve the itch and swelling of an insect bite. A paste of baking soda and water or mud and water will also calm the area.
Peppermint oil acts as a decongestant, and substances in peppermint contain anti-inflammatory and mild antibacterial constituents.
Flushing the nose with saline solution (salt water) can help soothe upper respiratory allergies by removing irritants that become lodged in the nose and cause inflammation.
Dust mites love a humid environment, which allows them to reproduce like crazy. Invest in a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier can also help prevent mold, another allergen, from growing. When cooking or showering, take advantage of the exhaust fan, another way to help keep humidity to a minimum.
If you find that you keep having the same allergic response or the response intensifies even after eliminating all inflammatory factors, further allergy testing may be necessary to identify the source.
Sandstone Chiropractic provides comprehensive allergy testing for all ages. Please contact our office for more information regarding these tests.