Every spring, summer and fall we battle the dreaded sneezing, clogged nose and itchy eyes. And every year the protocol for ending the battle is a trip to the clinic or the Walgreens down the street. Incessant commercials jam Zyrtec, Claritin and Visine down our throats and like sheep we follow the crowd and pop a couple of these medications. The results are hit-or-miss: most of the time they kind-of work, and other times they don’t. Either way, we accept our fates and keep sneezing along through the season.
For years I’ve fought this war. Not only have I had awful seasonal allergies, I have had Asthma since age 5 and am allergic to cigarettes, cats, grass, mold, dust and just about anything else. I would wake up on a July morning with the weeds blowing in; my eyes are blood shot red and my nose is stopped up completely. My nose has been perpetually clogged for 15 years. So much so I’ve assumed I’ve had a deviated septum for years!
After my doctor prescribing me more Flonase, eye drops and Allegra this passed year, I got fed up. I was tired of freaking out every time I forgot to take my allergy pill. So I decided to do a little self experimentation and see if I could ATLEAST reduce these allergies. Now below are a few tips that have help me significantly reduce my allergies. I say reduce because, while many people have successfully eliminated theirs, I haven’t quite finished mine off, mainly because of certain environmental allergens I haven’t quite hacked. I will also spare you most of the science behind these methods, and stick to just giving you tips. The science can be found elsewhere on the web and explained much more thoroughly.
1. Eliminate Gluten
Common gluten today is not what Jesus ate. It’s cross bred and highly inflammatory. As you might know, inflammation is one major cause of our seasonal allergies and asthma. Inflammation is also the cause/precursor to many of our deadly diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart attacks and Alzheimers. That being said, eliminating gluten will help reduce inflammation and help reduce allergies. Another reason gluten should be avoided is because close to 90% of people are either allergic or intolerant towards modern, North American gluten. Besides many other reasons why it’s to be avoided, ingesting gluten causes mild reactions in our body that make us susceptible to other allergies like seasonal and environmental ones. There are countless stories of people removing gluten (and all grains for that matter) and watching their seasonal allergies disappear. I removed it and cut my seasonal allergies down by at least 40%.
2. Eliminate Dairy
Dairy is highly reactive in most people. Like gluten, many have a food intolerance or allergy to most dairy as well. This causes inflammation in the gut (which has it’s own problems) and can make you susceptible to other allergies. If I wake up with a stuffy nose, I can almost always trace it back to having either purposely or accidentally ingesting some form of milk or cheese. Eliminating dairy has helped me reduce my allergies by another 40%.
Something else to consider about dairy is the quality of dairy you take in. For one, I still eat butter from grass fed cows as my only dairy source. I’m not reactive to it and grass fed butter is void of antibiotics and contaminated grains that the cows ingest in regular butter. I am still quite reactive to other dairy, but if you want to experiment a little, try raw milk from grass fed cows or raw, organic cheeses and yogurts. These products don’t contain the toxins that grain fed cows produce and you may be able to tolerate them. Regular milk, cheese, butter and yogurt from the store is loaded with these toxins.
3. Check your indoor air quality and use a HEPA air filter
This tip is Huge. Environmental allergens creep into our home when we open a door or window. Using a proper HEPA air filter can eliminate these allergens along with mold and mildew allergens in your home. You spend the most of the day and nearly all night in your home so this air will be crucial to clean. I personally have a HEPA floor air filter in my home and I sleep much better and my sleep quality isn’t as disturbed, mainly because i;m not itching my throat or coughing in my sleep.
Another must is a HEPA air filter on your heat and A/C unit. Since this is the main circulation unit in the home, you can cut off allergens early by not letting them through your ventilation system.
HEPA filters eliminate 99% of airborne allergens and mold, which brings me to my next point:
4. Find and eliminate Mold exposure in food and in the home
I won’t go into all of the science behind this, since it’s done better elsewhere, but mold exposure can have a significant effect on your overall health including your allergies. Mold exposure can cause brain fog, fatigue and cause your seasonal allergies to go bonkers. I am severely allergic to mold, so thankfully I am a mold detector of sorts in my home, but for those of you who are not, you might just notice your allergies are hanging around, despite a change in diet. You could even develop auto immune conditions from repeated mold exposure like chronic Urticaria and Angioedema (Hives under and on top of the skin).
The best thing you can do to avoid mold is to get a Mold test in your home. They will collect spores in your home and compare the concentration of mold with right outside your home. Also, make sure bathrooms and basements are well ventilated so mold doesn’t collect in the warm, moist areas. And if you can smell (It smells like old wet socks) or see mold, you may have plenty of other mold growing where you can’t see it.
You can also avoid ingesting molds. Many fruits and vegetables grow mold toxins on them when transporting so be wise with food selection. Coffee is also notorious for harboring mold, so aim for one source coffee as it’s less likely to contain mold.
The bottom line is that mold is extremely dangerous and can ruin your quality of life. Take a look at what happened to Suzanne Summers when she had mold growing in her home.
5. Get a food sensitivity test
Knowing exactly what your allergic to and sensitive towards can go a long way in helping you beat your allergies. Most people are eating food they don’t tolerate everyday. These manifest as allergies like coughing, itchy throat, sneezing and stuffed noses, but they also manifest as heart burn, brain fog, stomach aches and headaches. For instance, I had been eating the same, plain lunch for weeks trying to get rid of all of my food reactions. I essentially reduced my lunch to a plain green leaf salad, with chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and peppers. Despite the plain salad I was still getting canker sores on my inner lip. I had my food allergy test done and found that i’m reactive to cucumbers, 95 on a 100 point scale! What a bizarre intolerance. I removed it the next day and my canker sores were gone.
Similar reactions may be happening to you and causing seasonal allergies to go out of whack. Drop in for an ALCAT exam. It’s the best test available and some insurances cover it, or try the number of less expensive tests.
Give these 5 tips a try. They helped me significantly reduce my asthma and allergies. I’m confident they will give you some major relief as well, if not eliminate your allergies all together.