Top Seasonal Allergy Tips

Young woman blowing nose

The immune system is one of our most precious resources for good health. Seasonal allergy symptoms are an indication of an overactive immune response against harmless pollens and are a useful sign that our immune system requires some support.  Here are some simple strategies to reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms and improve your immune system health. 

  1. Reduce your exposure:
    1. Monitor the pollen forecast on the Weather Network and plan your day accordingly.
    2. Visit Lake Ontario and enjoy the breeze. Your symptoms should clear up in about 10 minutes.
    3. Reduce your nighttime exposure by having a shower before bed to remove pollen from your hair. Keep windows closed and your room air filter on.
  2. Manage symptoms with diet:
    1. Nettle tea (Urtica dioica) is a natural anti-histamine that is incredibly effective for some people, including children. Drink this tea (hot or cold), twice daily.
    2. Onions, apples, and dark coloured berries are great sources of a natural anti-histamine called quercetin. Add these to your daily diet.
    3. Asian medicines counsel people to avoid “damp” foods that contribute to congestion, such as dairy, sugar, orange juice, greasy foods, and ripe bananas. Western medicine documents the immune-suppressing nature of some of these foods.
    4. Add organic lemon and lime zest to your marinades, dressings, and teas. These are astringent and may help combat mucous.
  3. Use saline sinus rinses once or twice daily throughout the season to keep mucous membranes clear of pollen. Neil Med brand makes squeeze bottles and neti pots with premeasured saline solution packets.
  4. Reduce your stress! Stress, whether physical, environmental, or emotional, can deplete your levels of the hormone cortisol, which is needed to suppress an overactive immune system. Read more about stress and allergies, here. 
  5. Vitamin C is necessary for balanced immune function and stress hormone production. A deficiency of vitamin C can contribute to allergy symptoms. Some people find that using buffered (alkaline) vitamin C with flavonoids, to bowel tolerance, for 3 weeks, effectively eliminates allergy symptoms for the season.
  6. Treat your gut. The digestive tract harbours approximately 70 to 90% of your immune system activity. The good bacteria here produce chemicals that reduce immune system hyperactivity. Resolving chronic digestive concerns, such as acid reflux, bloating, and lactose intolerance, is often correlated to resolution of allergy symptoms.
  7. For children, request to have their vitamin D levels tested. Low vitamin D blood levels are associated with a variety of seasonal, environmental, and food allergies.
  8. Try acupuncture. This holistic, integrative approach works towards balancing your immune system and other contributory causes to your symptoms, such as digestive and hormone imbalance.
  9. You may be surprised to learn that Osteopathy can have a positive impact on allergy symptoms. For example, Osteopathy addresses how the lungs expand, the diaphragm contracts, and sinuses drain, with gentle hands-on techniques designed to improve the body’s structure, for restoration of normal function.
  10. If you still require more symptom relief, opt for botanical or homeopathic allergy supports rather than over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. The natural alternatives often confer additional health benefits without the side-effects. However, these products are not safe for everyone and can interact with other medications. Speak to a knowledgeable health practitioner about products that are safe and effective for you.