Q: Tis the season to be sneezing. Is there ANYTHING I can do about my pollen allergies?
A: In general, the best way to escape the miserable effects of ‘hay fever’ and other reactions to airborne allergens is to avoid them. “Great… that’s a big help,” you’re probably thinking to yourself. It is very difficult to avoid things that fly through your front door, through the car window, even into the bedroom. But all is not lost, and I’m not talking about resorting to antihistamines. If you work outside, such as construction work, you may want to consider wearing a light paper nose and mouth mask to filter out the bigger particles. Also, it may be well worth your money to invest in a home air filtration system. Many folks with dust allergies have discovered Rainbow vacuum cleaners which work with a water filtration system and not a bag for collecting the house dust. Try to wash your hands frequently. If you’re allergic to airborne pollens and/or dust you may also be sensitive to cat and dog dander. Don’t pet the animal then rub your face. Anytime you touch a surface that is likely to be sprinkled with whatever ails you, wash your hands as soon as possible afterwards.The fact of having allergies may signal a weakened immune system. You can never go wrong enhancing your immunity by minimizing toxic input (refined sugar, refined flour, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, exposure to solvents, exposure to burning hydrocarbons, etc). Also, get the basics every day: fresh air, pure water, adequate rest, adequate exercise, and dark green vegetables.
Depending on your individual situation, if you suffer from allergies you may benefit from seasonal supplementation with extra Vitamin C (up to 10 grams daily), Vitamin B5 (up to 800 mg daily) and Zinc picolinate (up to 150 mg daily). Potent anti-inflammatory substances derived from food sources include bromelain from pineapple, papain from papaya and quercitin from the spice Turmeric. Turmeric (also known as curcumin) is a major ingredient in curry and used throughout Far Eastern cuisine not only for flavor, but for its medicinal properties. The agents of inflammation in your body (cytokines, leukotrienes, etc.) are derived largely from something called arachadonic acid which is generously supplied by red meat. While a small amount of arachadonic acid is crucial for life, it can be synthesized internally so it is best to eliminate red meat from your diet entirely if you are prone to hay fever or other allergies. There is a class of fats, called the Omega-3 oils, which are extremely beneficial in decreasing inflammation in the body. These oils are found in the pressed evening primrose flowers, in cold-pressed flax seeds, and in fish. Eat fish generously during hay fever season, and take one tablespoon of Flax oil or Evening Primrose oil daily all year around.
Some folks have been greatly helped by taking “desensitization” drops which are a very dilute mixture of whatever substances they are allergic to, taken under the tongue in dropper form during allergy season. This can be thought of as a kind of “vaccination” and is usually available through a natural health-care provider. Rainbow in downtown Juneau and Ron’s Apothecary in Mendenhall Mall may carry some homeopathic anti-allergy remedies. Anti-histamines tend to make you drowsy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (such as aspirin, ibuprofen) MUST be avoided to combat allergic reactions because they will ultimately damage the mucous membranes of the gut and lungs, thus setting you up for chronic hypersensitivity to all sorts of things to which you are regularly exposed.