Many doctors report that seasonal allergies are on the rise all around the world, although the reasons are not yet apparent. Long before a person can be diagnosed with an allergy, they first must be exposed to the substance to which they are allergic. A person might become allergic to a substance at any time in their life.
Many allergy symptoms mimic the common cold symptoms, and people often think they’re coming down with a virus when the symptoms first start. Common complaints include coughing, sneezing, a stuffy nose, perhaps a rash, too much mucus, the inability to breathe, red, itchy eyes, and a hoarse voice.
Sick or Allergic?
An individual’s first response to many allergic reactions, especially those that affect the ears, nose, and throat, is to assume that they are coming down with a cold or the flu. However, illness passes, and seasonal allergies generally last through the allergen’s growing season. Eventually, this individual begins to wonder if seasonal allergies are the culprit. Most of the time, this is the case. The culprit allergen causing this seasonal sinus distress is often a blooming plant to which one has become allergic. It spreading pollen comes your way via animals, insects, and the afternoon breeze.
Once a person has recognized their allergic response for what it is, they are in a much better position to deal with their symptoms effectively and appropriately. Unfortunately, the first thing that many allergy sufferers do is to reach for over-the-counter pharmaceutical remedies to alleviate their sinus irritation. It is a mistake to do this without first taking the time to research the available products thoroughly. People must understand the potential damage they might be doing to their bodies when they unthinkingly choose this route.
What Are Seasonal Allergens?
Seasonal allergens come from plants and trees, both cultivated and wild, that set blooms when conditions are right, blooms that open and bestow their pollen upon the world, ushering in what many people call “allergy season.” The various pollens in the air trigger the immune systems of people and animals alike. Examples of plants whose pollen irritates the noses, eyes, and throats of millions each year include flowering weeds such as ragweed, grass and tree pollens, mold, atmospheric chemicals introduced by farming and weather modification, and more.
People breathe in these immune system irritants, and allergy symptoms ensue as their bodies release antibodies that in turn cause mast cells to release a flood of histamine into the bloodstream. Histamine automatically creates inflammation as a tool for the body to fight against its perceived threats. The body’s reactions due to this inflammation are what the individual perceives as their allergy symptoms.
It is the swelling, itching, reddening effects that occur in a person’s eyes, nose, and throat and on their skin that cause them to reach for the fastest relief available. Too often, this turns out to be a pharmaceutical product that brings such side-effects as to, in the end, be worse than the ailment they supposedly cure. Thankfully, there are repercussion-free alternatives to pharmaceutical products to control and prevent seasonal allergy symptoms.
The Truth about Pharmaceutical Remedies
As anyone who has ever had the misfortune to hear a pharmaceutical commercial during prime time television hours knows, there are always unwanted side effects that accompany every medication created in a laboratory. Some individuals find their drug’s side effects to be as uncomfortable as the allergies they were hoping to alleviate.
Although there are many allergy medication brands, they all tend to fall into one of three primary categories: antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids. They advertise to alleviate the inflammation causing the swelling, mucus production, rash, and the like.
Antihistamines are available over-the-counter and by prescription. First-generation antihistamines have drowsiness as a primary side effect. Second-generation antihistamines are non-drowsy. They are manufactured as oral tablets, capsules, and syrups and as eye drops and nasal sprays. Antihistamines provide relief by blocking the histamines causing the sneezing and runny nose. The side effects of antihistamines are headache, dry mouth, and dizziness. Together, they’re nearly as uncomfortable as the allergy itself.
Decongestants decrease the swelling of the tissues inside one’s nasal passages. Decongestants are frequently combined with antihistamines to treat the most significant number of allergy symptoms possible. The most troubling side effect of decongestants is that they raise blood pressure, a concern for millions, as this can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Corticosteroids comprise the third category of pharmaceutical allergy treatments. These laboratory-created drugs mimic the body’s natural cortisol. Cortisol is the “fight or flight” hormone created in the brain. Among other things, cortisol reduces inflammation in the body, soothing the allergic histamine response. Corticosteroids come as both oral and topical preparations, and some are injectable.
The long-term side effects of corticosteroid use are well known. They include a range of concerns from potential atherosclerosis (artery hardening) to osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) to numerous circulatory system problems and more. The use of such steroids is ill-advised, particularly over a long course of usage.
Effective Natural Alternatives Exist
Fortunately, it isn’t always necessary to go the pharmaceutical route to find relief. Many people find that they can adequately control their allergies by using effective and safe natural alternatives to the pharmaceutical industry’s drugs. They find they can control their symptoms without creating additional health concerns or damaging their body in any way.
Below are five alternative strategies to try before heading to the pharmacy. Any one of these suggestions is enough to help many individuals, and it might be that a judicious combination of them shall help more still.
1. Window Screens – The symptoms that typically plague an allergy sufferer throughout allergy season don’t occur or become less frequent when the exposure’s intensity and duration are modified. One of the best ways to do this, particularly when in the comfort of one’s own home, is through the use of high-filtration window screens, which, similar to the HVAC filter in one’s furnace system, filters out the vast majority of seasonal allergens. Many people are unaware of the availability of air-filtering window screens. They have the potential to be a lifesaver for the allergy prone throughout the world.
2. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Mixed with Local Honey – The benefits of unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar are legion. Apple cider vinegar breaks up mucus secretions, acts as a tonic to the immune system, and balances the body’s pH. Mixed with honey acquired as close as possible to where the allergy sufferer lives, it effectively suppresses the immune system response responsible for seasonal allergy distress. Local honey functions similarly to allopathic medicine’s immunotherapy (allergy shots). It is best to start with this regimen approximately one month before the onset of any anticipated allergy season.
3. Natural Antihistamine Herbs – Many herbs have biological effects, similar to those of antihistamines, but without any side effects. They suppress the immune system response when consumed as food, in capsules, or steeped as a tea. These include quercetin, nettle, ginger, turmeric, thyme, watercress, butterbar, vitamin C, garlic, echinacea, horehound, and there are many more. These natural substances inhibit the release of histamine from the body’s mast cells and thus prevent the inflammation responsible for so many allergy distress symptoms.
4. Alternative Therapies – Many allergy sufferers find lasting relief through the use of alternative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic care and can bypass pharmaceutical drugs altogether. Acupuncture balances the energy within the body, releasing blockages and promoting its free flow. A body in balance energetically can heal itself as intended. Chiropractic care addresses skeletal issues that affect the body as a whole, resolving pain that likewise blocks energy flow. When the body’s underlying structure functions as intended, the immune system is better able to perform.
5. Personal Filtration (Masks) – The use of a personal filtration device, or mask, is a powerful tool in any allergy sufferer’s arsenal. Thanks to COVID-19, more personal filtration devices are available than perhaps at any other time in history. Depending upon the mask chosen, depending upon the mask one has chosen. Most allergens are large enough to be filtered via a nose and mouth covering, such as pollen, dust, and dander. It is wise to experiment with several different mask constructions to find one that best fits your face, is comfortable, and that functions as intended. Masks with respirators are likewise available for those with susceptible systems.
In the end, it comes down to each person exercising their right to do what they think best. Every person’s body is unique, and only that man or woman can say what is best for them. Some people are only comfortable with traditional allopathic options, as that’s how the culture has conditioned them. There are risks associated with nearly everything, and people must accept those risks as part of the choices they make. However, for those who like to think outside the box, there are a world of alternative options that perform equally well, if not better, and do not threaten the individual’s future health.