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Seasonal Allergies: A Breeze or A Nightmare.

As Atlanta’s spring season evolves, bringing vibrant colors and transformations to the cityscape, many residents, including myself, also face the unwelcome arrival of seasonal allergies.

Understanding your seasonal allergies is the first step towards effective management if you're among those sniffling and sneezing during spring or fall.

By identifying your triggers, implementing practical strategies to reduce exposure, and exploring suitable remedies, you can confidently empower yourself to embrace changing seasons. This blog post explores the causes of seasonal allergies and offers practical relief tips.
Seasonal allergies, or hay fever or allergic rhinitis, occur when the immune system reacts to airborne allergens. Common triggers include pollen from trees, grasses, weeds, mold spores, and indoor allergens (Dust mites and Pet dander). These allergens can vary seasonally, hence the term seasonal allergies. This is 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States.
Recognizing allergen symptoms early on allows for timely intervention and relief. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. The common ones are sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and itchy or watery eyes. Some atypical symptoms need allergy testing, which can provide valuable insights. Skin tests or blood tests conducted by an allergist can help identify the substances to which you are allergic, guiding you towards more targeted management strategies.

Conventional Treatment for managing Seasonal Allergies are:

  • Keep windows closed during peak pollen seasons.
  • Air purifiers are used to filter out airborne allergens.
  • Wash bedding and curtains regularly in hot water to eliminate dust mites.
  • Antihistamines: Over-the-counter medications like cetirizine or loratadine can alleviate symptoms by blocking histamine.
  • Decongestants: Medications such as pseudoephedrine can reduce nasal congestion.
  • Nasal Sprays: OTC nasal sprays, like fluticasone or oxymetazoline, can relieve congestion and inflammation.
  • Saline Nasal Rinses: Gently flush your nasal passages with a saline solution to reduce irritants.

Integrative Medicine Protocol for Seasonal Allergies

Including nourishing nutrition that reduces inflammation in the body will help mitigate the immune response associated with the release of histamine. An anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the immunological and gastrointestinal responses related to histamine. Following this nutrition plan would include eliminating ultra-processed foods, added sugar and artificial ingredients, inflammatory fats, and alcohol. There is an emphasis on vegetables, low-glycemic index fruits, complex carbohydrates, high-quality sourced protein, and omega-3-rich fats. Evidence has suggested that a Mediterranean-style diet can be beneficial for allergies. 
The best Supplements For Managing Seasonal Allergies are for those who cannot manage their symptoms through diet alone and may find relief through supplementation. 
Quercitin: Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory reach-plant medicines are great for managing seasonal allergies. Quercetin has proven to be an adequate product due to its ability to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are part of the histamine release cascade. A dose of 50mg twice a day has shown to be effective in reducing pollen allergy symptoms. 
Ginger: This is a natural anti-inflammatory. An interesting study showed ginger extract was as effective as loratadine in those with allergic rhinitis. Both interventions result in reduced nasal symptoms and an improvement in the participants’ quality of life. One distinguishing feature was that ginger did not cause adverse side effects, such as fatigue, constipation, and dizziness, that loratadine caused. The dose used in this study was 500 mg daily of ginger extract.
Vitamin C: Plays a significant role as an antioxidant and immune-modulating agent in the body. Making sure your vitamin C is optimal can support these biochemical pathways. One study found that a dose of 2000 mg/day, with exercise, helped decrease symptoms of sneezing, nasal congestion, nasal itching, and blood flow to the area. 
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC): Is a form of the amino acid cysteine. It is a precursor to the “master antioxidant” glutathione. Its primary mechanism of action is thinning mucus that forms in mucus membranes of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. Regarding seasonal allergy responses, this can help decrease congestion and mucous build-up. One small-scale study showed that a prophylactic application of topical NAC reduced nasal reaction to the late-phase response to ragweed.
  • Local Honey: Consuming local honey may help build tolerance to pollen.
  • Herbal Teas: Chamomile and peppermint teas can have soothing effects.
While self-management strategies can be effective for many, it is crucial to recognize when professional intervention is necessary. If your symptoms persist, worsen, or significantly impact your daily life, consult with an allergist or healthcare provider for personalized guidance.

Labs to Test for Root Cause of Seasonal Allergies

Root cause analysis through functional laboratory testing can provide valuable information. Taking this data and combining it with clinical presentation allows for a better understanding of your overall health and the impact that it has on developing seasonal allergies. Here is a list of tests for those with hay fever symptoms. 
  • Allergen,
  • Histamine,
  • Microbiome,
  • Micronutrient Testing

So, as you enjoy the beautiful spring weather, be prepared for the pollen count. As we know, failing to prepare is preparing to fall, but I am glad we always stay ready. Happy Spring!

Cheers to Living At Your Finest Well-being: Whole, Vibrant, and Healthy.

#SeasonalAllergy #ReliefTips #HappySpring #DrBabs #layfwellness #livingatyourfinest #DPC #holisticphysician