Preparing for fall allergies in Virginia Beach
What are and what causes allergies?
Allergies are generally a group of symptoms affecting the skin, digestive system, breathing or respiratory system and intestines in people with an extreme sensitivity to a substance that does not bother most other people. These substances called allergens are air born and are generally plant pollens or animal dander. After a person with these sensitivities breaths in an allergen our bodies produce an immune reaction that causes the symptoms. We cough to blow out the allergens. Our eyes and nose produce more mucous as a protective barrier. Dehydration causes headaches and it goes on and on. These symptoms are much the same as when we are exposed to a true pathogen like the virus that causes the common cold. These reactions are not normal and are considered a hypersensitivity.
How do I treat my seasonal allergies?
Most doctors would agree the obvious answer would be to avoid the substance that causes you allergies. This would be fine if you had no reason to leave your house. For those of you that this isn’t practical there are some other treatments. The big question is why do some people get allergies and some don’t. Genetics, may be a contributor. Some would say its a hypersensitivity disorder that is affected by life style and over all health. I started going to a chiropractor when I was eight years old for severe hay fever or ragweed allergy. Not a miracle cure, but worked infinitely better than the shots I was getting. Chiropractic helps. Now on to more conventional treatments.
Drug treatments are designed to treat the symptoms of allergies. Antihistamines and corticosteroids dry you up. Shots of what you are allergic to are injected under the skin in hopes you will get used to the substance. Allergy testing is sketchy at best making the injection treatment not great. The meds have improved hugely over the years and are a good remedy while you try other lifestyle changes.
Diet and exercise as always play a key role in optimizing your immune system. Daily aerobic exercise removes antigens from the body through the sweat glands. Diet should be organic and herbicide and pesticide free. Major groups should be illuminated to isolate possible food allergies. Dairy and gluten (wheat) allergies contribute hugely to seasonal allergies. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables and low fat proteins are good. Try eliminating gluten, dairy, caffeine, processed sugar and processed or denatured food. Herbs can be helpful: nettles produce an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effect and Echinacea helps boost the immune system. Consuming local honey comb can work kind of like the shots, it exposes you to local pollens. Taking a high quality daily vitamin is also very important.
Unfortunately none of these ideas are foolproof. It is very difficult isolating the allergens that specifically effect you. You just have to keep trying to live the healthiest life you can and good things will happen. At New Life Chiropractic we teach methods for reducing the effects of seasonal allergens and optimizing health.