Stay Healthy in Allergy Season
People of all ages may experience allergic reactions to various substances in the environment, which can compromise their health. Some individuals have allergies to foods. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that eight specific foods are responsible for more than 90 percent of the food allergies experienced by people. These foods include eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat. Children experience food allergies more frequently than adults do, but many kids eventually outgrow these allergies. The CDC estimates that four out of every 100 kids suffer with a food allergy. Nasal allergies are another common malady for many people. This type of allergy occurs due to a sensitivity to something in the environment, such as mold, dust mites, pollen, or animal dander. As many as 50 million Americans may suffer with nasal allergies, and this number may be increasing. Nasal allergies involve symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, a runny and itchy nose, and watery eyes. Some people experience nasal allergies during specific times of the year, and others have symptoms throughout the entire year.
Because an allergic reaction to foods can be life-threatening, people with food allergies must pay close attention to their diet to avoid foods containing allergens. An allergic reaction could be mild, but it could also involve wheezing, shortness of breath, swelling of the tongue, circulatory collapse, and anaphylaxis. Another potential issue is the possibility of cross-reactivity to other foods. For example, someone with an allergy to peanuts may also have an allergic reaction to other legumes. A physician will diagnose a food allergy and explore cross-reactivity to ensure that a patient does not consume a food that could cause an allergic reaction. People with nasal allergies may also experience relief from some symptoms with attention to their diet. Adding spices such as ginger and cayenne pepper to the diet may help reduce the body’s response to allergens. Garlic and onion may also reduce congestion. Drinking more fluids is also important, especially with a runny nose, due to the possibility of dehydration.
Nasal allergies may be exacerbated by the home environment. People with sensitivities to outdoor allergens such as pollen can reduce their discomfort by keeping doors and windows closed during allergy season. It’s also helpful to remove allergens that may lurk indoors, such as pet dander and dust mites. A vacuum cleaner equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air filter will trap these allergens and prevent them from circulating back into the air. Weekly washing of all bedding will help reduce allergens in the bedroom. Dust mites and pet dander can also accumulate in decorative fabrics such as upholstery and window coverings, so vacuum these surfaces regularly. Consider having items dry-cleaned several times each year to deep-clean them.
Conventional treatment of nasal allergies often involves medication to reduce the body’s response to the allergens. Some people prefer to explore natural remedies, which may help alleviate symptoms. A Neti Pot is a small ceramic pot used to irrigate the nasal and sinus passages. By rinsing these passages with a saline solution, it’s possible to thin mucous and wash away allergens. Acupuncture is another alternative treatment for nasal allergies, and many patients experience quick relief after this treatment. Sneezing, congestion, and nasal secretions may dissipate measurably after acupuncture, and patients can return for additional treatments as necessary.
Fitness can be challenging for people who suffer with nasal allergies. Anyone with sensitivities to the outdoor environment may experience increased symptoms when engaging in exercise outdoors. When this situation exists, people may find it easier to exercise indoors away from these allergens. Researchers are discovering potential advantages of exercise for allergy-sufferers. With physical activity, people may notice reduced congestion. The process of increasing blood flow throughout the body may also help push allergens out of the body. For safe and optimal exercise results when working out with allergies, people should always exercise at a comfortable intensity, especially when exercising with allergy symptoms present. Always strive to exercise in an environment that is free of allergens for best results.
- Food Allergy
- Food Allergy Facts and Statistics for the U.S. (PDF)
- Food Allergy Basics
- A Guide to Natural Ways to Alleviate Allergy and Sinusitis Symptoms
- It Might Be Your Allergies
- Seasonal Allergies 101
- Spring-Clean Allergens Away
- Seasonal Allergies: Nip Them in the Bud (PDF)
- Reducing Allergens in the Home: A Room-by-Room Guide (PDF)
- Indoor Air Quality (PDF)
- Limiting Exposure to Allergens in the Home
- Four Must-Do’s for Kids With Seasonal Allergies
- Effect of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial (PDF)
- Allergies: Natural Relief (PDF)
- Allergy Symptoms Treatable With Acupuncture
- OTC Meds, Neti Pots Can Relieve Most Seasonal Allergies
- A Naturopathic Approach to Seasonal Allergies
- Natural Treatments for Your Seasonal Allergies (PDF)
- Exercising With Allergies and Asthma (PDF)
- Can Exercising Every Day Keep Your Allergy Symptoms Away?
- Exercise Control of Your Allergies
- Vasomotor Rhinitis (PDF)
- Treating Allergic Rhinitis in the Athlete (PDF)
Other Health Information