The beginning of fall means enjoying cooler temperatures, watching the leaves change, and yes, the return of allergies. According to AccuWeather forecasts, heavy rains this summer prompting more ragweed growth will make for a particularly severe allergy season across parts of the Southeast and Midwest, and “normal” levels in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Ragweed and mold—the two most prevalent allergy triggers this time of year—are not only downright annoying, they can develop into a serious health concern. Ranked as the 5th leading chronic disease in our country (the 3rd for children under 18), seasonal allergies and their secondary health issues are nothing to sneeze about.
These common allergens tend to lead to more serious and prolonged issues—many individuals go on to develop sinus infections, bronchitis, asthma, and middle ear infections when their mucous membranes are constantly under assault. Stats now indicate that some 50 million Americans are affected with allergy-induced inflamed sinuses, runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, and dry, irritated throats.
Whether ragweed, mold—or both—stir up your autumn allergies, here’s my personal Rx to tackle symptoms now, before they develop into something more serious:
1. Support your adrenal glands.
Allergies, as well as hypoglycemia, fatigue, bags under your eyes, repeated stress of any type, and negative belief systems are all signs of burned out adrenal glands–your system’s fight or flight center for stress control. Adrenal fatigue can be remedied over time with simple but consistent lifestyle changes. Keep in mind that recurring respiratory infections are one of the most burdensome toxic loads on your adrenals, so addressing severe or chronic infection like sinusitis, bronchitis or pneumonia is key to recharging and rebuilding. Just about all forms of respiratory illness go hand in hand with low adrenal function.
Perhaps the least expensive thing that you can do in this regard is put sleep on the top of your “to do” list. Lack of rejuvenating, growth-hormone producing sleep is a major roadblock to complete adrenal recovery and is common with individuals who show both high and low cortisol levels. Getting in bed by 9:30 pm so that it’s “lights out” by 10 pm is ideal, as well as the faithful supplementation of an adrenal support supplement ideally taken at the “adrenal times” of 7 am, 11 am, and 3 pm. Eating breakfast before 10 am, reducing caffeine, sugar, and processed carbs, and emphasizing protein at every meal, plus a protein-rich bedtime snack is key to helping you recoup your energy, vitality, and enhance immune resistance during allergy season.
2. Sweeten your defenses.
Pollinating bees become covered in pollen spores which then end up in their honey, and many allergy sufferers swear by eating local honey to help alleviate allergy symptoms. Like a “vaccine,” the idea is that eating honey that contains local pollen can build immunity through gradual exposure. A 2011 Finnish study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, found that compared to the control group, the subjects using birch pollen honey during the birch pollen season experienced a 60% reduction in symptoms, two times as many asymptomatic days, 70% fewer days with severe symptoms and a 50% decrease in usage of antihistamines. Add a spoonful of raw local honey to your morning hot water and lemon both as a preventative now and as a treatment later.
3. Guard against pollen and mold.
Before bed, shower and wash your hair because hair is a prime hiding place for pollen and mold spores to collect. Change your clothes after being outside on high pollen count days and stay indoors on windy days. Also, keep your yard and gutters clear of wet decaying leaves that can serve as a breeding ground for mold.
Incorporate these simple tips now, and you’ll be ready when allergies attack. Here’s to an easy, breezy—not sneezy—fall!