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    Seasonal Allergies: Nip them in the bud

    Seasonal Allergies: Nip them in the bud

    By: Dr. Andra Campitelli, ND

    While winter fades, we welcome spring—sunshine, fresh breezes, and green leaves. With this beautiful season, however, comes something that many of us could do without: seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies, sometimes called “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis, are allergy symptoms that occur during certain times of the year, usually when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants. Once these allergens are inhaled, touched or injected, our immune systems overreact, leading to an inflammatory response and the release of histamine in the body. Red, itchy eyes, stuffy or runny noses, sneezing and a scratchy throat are just some of the unpleasant symptoms that are experienced by over 10 million Canadians, ranging from mild inconveniences to constant debilitating states. 

    While most people simply avoid their triggers, it would be impossible to stay indoors at all times! Let’s look at some effective natural methods to tackle these symptoms.

    The neti pot, a container designed to rinse debris or mucous from your nasal cavity, is a popular choice. While it can be messy, and inconvenient at times, it is also extremely effective for temporarily relief of congestion. Just be sure to choose the right location: I recommend using the neti pot over a sink or bowl, in the shower or outside. I also suggest adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil for additional decongestion.

    Studies show that a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3s can easy seasonal allergy suffering.

    Vitamin C prevents the formation of histamine, which we’ve already established is responsible for common seasonal complaints.Vitamin C’s immune-enhancing effect also makes it essential in preventing infection as well as in shortening the duration of an illness. Depending on bowel tolerance, one can easily take 2,000 to 6,000 mg per day.

    Much like vitamin C, Quercetin, the bioflavinoid found in onions, is another effective inhibitor of histamine. Take 500 to 1,000 mg two or three times per day.

    Bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme purified from pineapple, is often used to reduce swelling, especially of the nose and sinuses.

    A quercetin-bromelain complex is a smart move because they enhance each other’s anti-inflammatory actions. In addition, bromelain seems to increase the absorption of quercetin into the bloodstream.

    While bromelain and quercetin are generally considered safe, even at high doses, avoid taking this combination if you have an active gastric or duodenal ulcer. In addition, bromelain can actually cause an allergic reaction (red or itchy eyes, sneezing, running nose, throat irritation) in people who are sensitive to pineapples.

    Healthy types of oils are necessary for the formation of every cell in the body, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the components of essential fatty acids, are natural anti-inflammatory agents that can provide relief. Take 2,000 to 6,000 mg daily with meals (two or three capsules twice daily).

    If you’re a known seasonal allergy sufferer, I encourage starting your routine prior to the onset of symptoms in order to prevent them entirely or lessen their severity.

    Happy spring!

    ABOUT DR. ANDRA CAMPITELLI: Andra is a well-respected Toronto-based Naturopathic Doctor, and a frequent speaker, writer and educator in both Canada and the U.S. She focuses on empowering individuals to take control of their own health and still enjoy all the wonderful things life has to offer.

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