Updated: Jun 8, 2018
The Dreaded Seasonal Sneeze
Medical advances have brought us to a time where we can perform entire heart and lung transplants, create spinal implants with a 3D printer, cure hepatitis – but there really is no sure proof cure for allergies. I know – not what you were hoping to read.
Seasonal Allergies - What comes to mind? Pollen, dust, grass, animal dander, molds… you name it and there is likely someone out there that’s allergic to it.
* equals vocabulary further defined under "Blog Terms"
Allergens* can be classified based on how they “enter” the body?
1. Ingested (things we eat and drink)
2. Inhaled (thing we breathe in)
3. Injected (think bee stings and drugs)
4. Absorbed (things that come in contact with our skin)
For this blog post the focus is primarily on seasonal inhaled allergens.
Combating Allergy Symptoms
First let's talk about Over The Counter (OTC) Medications
(Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra...)
Combats histamine* (which causes an inflammatory immune response) released during an allergic reaction by blocking its effects. Antihistamines do not stop an allergic reaction but work to protect tissues from histamine.
General common side effects:
-Nausea and vomiting
-Restlessness or moodiness (in some children)
-Trouble peeing or not being able to pee
(Drixerol, Sudafed, Phenylephrine ...)
Act to shrink swollen blood vessels and tissues to relieve the congestion caused by the dilation/enlargement of blood vessels in the nasal passages. They will do nothing though to stop itching or sneezing.
General common side effects: (Decongestants are stimulants)
-Nasal decongestant sprays may cause rebound nasal congestion (if discontinued abruptly after along preiod of using them)
-High blood pressure
Things to consider when choosing an antihistamine and/or decongestant:
- How long does it take to “kick in” (onset of action)
- How long will the drug’s effects last (duration of action)
Many medicines combine an antihistamine and decongestant
Note: if you take multiple medications to treat your allergy symptoms, make sure that the active ingredients* (fexofenadine, loratadine, brompheniramine...) are not the same to prevent taking too much of any particular drug. To help prevent this, always check with your doctor or pharmacist.
If OTC medications aren't cutting it, it might be time to see an Allergist to consider more aggressive treatment options...
Immunotherapy is done under the guidance of trained professionals in the form of allergy shots and/or oral tablets. These treatments are considered disease modifying- meaning that they may significantly decrease the severity of your symptoms but do not claim to cure your allergies. They work to reduce your sensitivity to your allergy triggers and in turn reduce your allergic response. Unfortunately results with these treatments are impossible to guarantee, as it works better in some cases than in others.
Natural Relief Remedies
Alkalizing our body can help boost immune function and ward off the severity of allergies. An easy way to alkalize your body is to drink lemon water.
Acts as an immune-boosting antioxidant and lowers histamine* levels in the bloodstream in turn improving allergy symptoms.
Bee pollen is known to ward off allergies because it contains enzymes that support overall immune function.
Showering before bed & changing bed linens more frequently
How often do you change your sheets? – baaaaa don’t answer that! Many microscopic allergens stick to our skin and hair, so the less we take to bed with us the better. And on that note, don't hang laundry outside — pollen's can stick!
Help to clear the sinuses and remove congestion by physically rinsing out or irrigating the sinus cavities with a salt water solution.
Using a Humidifier - yay or nay?
Humidifying the air can help to loosen secretions and make them easier for us to clear out. BUT if you have indoor allergies, dust and mold from the humidifier may cause more harm than good.
I won't claim to be an expert in recommending which oils work best. I just know I am a fan of them. If anyone reading this wants to send us an email about recommendations I'd love to learn more!
Home HEPA filters
Filters can trap dust mites, mold spores, pollen, and pet dander in the air to eliminate them from circulating inside your home
Seven points are commonly used to alleviate seasonal allergies. It’s ideal for treatments to occur before allergy symptoms kick in if possible.
Get rid of houseplants
I forget to water mine anyways so this one was easy for me.
Do you have allergy tips not listed above? Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org We'd love to hear things that have worked for you!
Allergen –Allergens cause cells throughout your body (mast cells) to release a substance called histamine.
Histamine – When released will binds to cell receptors which dilates or opens blood vessels. When this happens there is an increase in secretion production in order to help your body fight off the allergens. These secretions will then pool and come out of your nose and eyes- hence the sneezing reflex is stimulated. Histamine release can also cause intense itching sensations throughout the body.
Antihistamine – This class of medications work by blocking the chemical release of histamine throughout the body.
Active ingredients - Drugs have different chemically "active" ingredients that are processed differently throughout the body to cause therapeutic effects.
Decongestants: Act to relieve congestion by reducing inflammation. They are taken orally and also made as nasal sprays and eye drops. This class of medications stimulate receptors to vasoconstrict (narrow) blood vessels which then helps decrease swelling.
- International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, Vol. 176, No. 2, 2018