Health Tip: Combating Summer Allergies

Contributed By Helen Chin Lui 

Now that it is allergy season once again. Here are some helpful tips to keep your sinuses clear:

When looking to control allergy symptoms there are many steps to limit your exposure to pollen. We have included some tips to help alleviate your allergy symptoms by minimizing exposure to pollen inside and outside of your home, a hand reflexology tip to encourage sinus drainage, interesting information on how allergies can be controlled through food and also nutritional supplements to help build up the immunity system. 

When your immune system overreacts to a foreign stimulant it is called an allergic reaction. An immune reaction to a foreign invader, such as a fever to kill a virus, is an indication of a healthy immune system. When you have a strong reaction to flower pollen your immune system may overreact. Close to one fourth of the population have allergies to things like pollen, mold and other stimulants, especially during spring and fall.

Symptoms vary from itchy eyes and throat, sneezing, runny nose, sinus congestion, asthma, post-nasal drip, headaches and diarrhea. Some of these symptoms are known as allergic rhinitis (hay fever). In the case of allergies many take antihistamines, which is a decongestant or some other drug to get rid of allergy symptoms, but you may want to take a healthier route  by going for the root of the problem, not just relieving the symptoms.

Interesting allergy risk factors

Children who are fed solid foods too early or receive antibiotic therapy within the first two years of life are more likely to develop respiratory and food allergies.

Exposure to cigarette smoke and other environmental pollutants is another strong indicator of increased allergy risk.

Low intake of antioxidants (found in various foods, particularly certain fruits and vegetables) may also increase allergy risk.
Low gastric acid secretion and intestinal overgrowth of yeast may contribute to allergy onset as well.

 Tips to help keep your sinuses healthy

*Wear a mask while doing yard work or gardening
 *Drink plenty of hydrating fluids such as water 
 *If your pets have been out all day, they may carry pollens, change air conditioner filters
*Wash your hair at the end of the day to not transfer pollen to your pillow
*Wear sunglasses to help reduce pollen coming into contact with your eyes;vacation where there is less pollen such as the beach
*Exercise at the beginning or at the end of the day when the pollen count is lower.
Reflexology tip
To get the sinuses to move, there are reflexes on both hands that encourage sinus drainage. These reflexes are located at the base of each finger and thumb. With your thumb and first finger, hold each side of the finger at the base and gently squeeze for 5 seconds. If there is tenderness, instead of holding for 5, hold for 8, or until the tenderness subsides. Repeat this step for every finger and thumb.

Food triggers that can aggrevate allergy symptoms 

In addition to these steps, you may want to look at your diet as a means for controlling your allergy symptoms. A study of 35 patients conducted in the Journal of Asthma found a positive correlation between allergy relief and vegetarian or vegan diets. In a clinical observation, 92% of patients who followed a vegan diet for one year reported reduction in respiratory symptoms.  
Foods that have been closely linked to respiratory allergies include:     
  • Dairy products
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar
  • Gluten
  • Food additives including artificial dyes and colorants
  • Food preservatives - sulfites and benzoates
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