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Self-Care for Allergies

Posted May 02 2008 5:01pm

Here are some suggestions for taking care of yourself during allergy season!

  1. Reduce exposure to allergens: This is an important first step, because it is difficult to calm the body's immune response when it is being constantly irritated. If you don't know what you're allergic to, visit an allergist and find out (this is especially useful for year-round allergy sufferers, who may find it hard to isolate the cause of symptoms). If seasonal pollen is the problem, you can protect yourself by closing windows and using air conditioning, which filters out many allergens. Pollen counts are highest in the morning and on windy days, so plan your outdoor time accordingly. As your allergies improve with treatment, you?ll be able to get out more to enjoy the spring!
  2. Eat apples, and other foods containing quercitin. Quercitin is a naturally-occuring flavanoid that works as an antihistamine and reduces inflammation. It is found in many foods including apples (with the skin on), berries, red grapes, red onions, capers, and black tea.
  3. Cut back on sugar and dairy products. Both of these foods tend to weaken the Spleen and encourage production of phlegm. Sugar also has a direct effect on the immune system: research shows that eating one teaspoon of sugar supresses the immune system by 56 percent, and two teaspoons supress it by 84 percent. It's a temporary effect, but if you eat sugar regularly, it's hard to get ahead of allergy symptoms.
  4. Try local, raw honey. A teaspoon a day can help desensitize your system to local pollens. (This is the exception to the sugar rule!)
  5. Try Chinese herbs. Replacing your over-the-counter medications with a Chinese herbal formula may give you equally good relief without side effects. Your acupuncturist can talk with you to determine which formula will be most helpful for you.
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