Naturopath and Holistic Health Expert
This week I outline simple measures to:
– Reduce your exposure to allergens;
– Reduce the severity of allergies and alleviate symptoms naturally; and ultimately
– Prevent allergies from reoccurring
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How to reduce your exposure to allergens
Remove the allergen and/or find an alternative? Check out these common examples…
– Gluten allergy? Eliminate grains altogether. Cross contamination with non-gluten grains such as rice and corn is still possible. Look out for gluten, in the form of wheat protein contained in personal care products such as hair conditioners.
– Dust allergy? Encase your mattress and pillows in dust-proof covers, wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water to kill dust mites and if possible, remove carpets, fabric curtains and upholstered furniture. When cleaning use a damp mop or rag to remove dust as dry material simply stirs up dust mite allergens.
– Mould allergy? If you have visible mould in your home, ask someone who isn’t allergic to mould to clean the area using a solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach to a litre of water in a spray bottle. A natural solution may be made with 20 drops of tea tree oil and 500mls of water. Ventilate your home. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements, are most vulnerable. Open windows and allow air and sunlight to come through.
If you are unsure about what allergy you have, it is best to see your GP. They will recommend a skin prick test and/or blood test.
How to reduce the severity of allergies and alleviate symptoms naturally
Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, coughing, itchy and watery eyes, itchy throat and skin. Antihistamines can be used for more minor reactions. Sometimes allergies can be asymptomatic causing internal damage to the gut while other allergies can cause anaphylactic reactions and require urgent treatment. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhoea, vomiting, hives or rash, chest tightness, cough, wheezing, shock and throat swelling.
The following natural remedies provide relief for mild allergy signs and symptoms only:
– The following herbs act as natural anti histamines and decongestants – Albizzia, Chinese Skullcap, Astragalus, Nettle leaf, Eyebright, Elder, Echincaea root, Cat’s claw, Goldenseal and supplements such as Vitamin C, Bromelain and Quercitin.
– Plentiful amounts of vitamin D and omega 3 can reduce allergy symptoms.
– Skin balms or ointments made from paw paw, jojoba oil, olive oil and the herb nettle leaf reduce itchy skin and relieve rashes.
– A Neti pot with saline solution will drain and cleanse the sinus passages of congestion. Studies have shown that twice a day nasal irrigation over a few weeks can alleviate symptoms immensely.
– Homeopathic remedies and acupuncture have also shown success in managing symptoms. Seek out those practitioners that specialise in allergies.
See your naturopath or herbalist for a prescription or bespoke blend made specifically for you. They will also assess whether the remedy is suited as some natural remedies are contraindicated or cautioned with certain medication, disease states or pregnancy.
Prevent allergies from reoccurring in you and your family
– Reduce your chemical load or even better, avoid chemicals altogether by buying ORGANIC FOOD, which is free of pesticides such as glyphosates that damage gut health and immunity making you more susceptible to allergens. In addition, avoid chemically laden personal care, beauty and laundry products, which cause similar damage to your gut and immunity. Organic and chemically free natural products are available in all these categories that not only are good for you and the environment but also work as well as the chemical stuff.
– Increase your nutrition with whole foods, well sourced and well prepared organic foods. This creates a stronger constitution and less exposure to processed food and chemical allergens. A whole food diet also encourages the growth of healthy bacteria, which strengthens your immunity.
– Are you considering becoming a parent? Consider preconception care for at least 1 year to strengthen your gut health and immunity and lay a healthy foundation – healthy egg, sperm, baby, pregnancy, and a natural birth. As I mentioned last week, during a natural, vaginal birth, bacteria from the mother colonises the infant’s gut. Intestinal bacteria are key in promoting the early development of the gut’s mucosal immune system, both in terms of its physical components and function. Healthy bonding and breast-feeding is also vital for a healthy allergy free baby.
– Ask your health practitioner for a comprehensive stool analysis test to assess your gut microbiota – what bugs shouldn’t be there as well as what should be there. Avoid supplementing with probiotics until you find out what you need.
– Avoid the over use of painkillers and antibiotics which disrupt gut microbiota. Find natural alternatives and address the underlying causes. Your allergy is most likely causing your discomfort, pain and infection causing a viscous cycle. Stress and alcohol also disrupts microbial balance in your gut.
– Leaky gut? Studies have shown a link between intestinal permeability and food allergies. Damage to the lining of the gut by gluten or microbial pathogens can lead to an influx of unwanted material such as undigested food and bugs in the blood stream activating the immune system. Your health practitioner can order an intestinal permeability test.