Ahhh … chooo!

Look for ways to counter those summertime allergies

By Deb Dittner

For allergy sufferers, the challenge is real all year long.

The good news is that by July, grass pollen should subside and you might feel like your spring allergies are finally becoming manageable again. The bad news is that July marks the start of fungus spores and seeds, so if you’re allergic to molds and spores, too, you may feel like your allergies never end. Mold can grow on fallen leaves, compost piles, grasses, and grains. With troubling allergies, you may consider an over-the counter medication to get you through those tough days. But I urge you to think twice and consider a more natural approach.

Medications can wreak havoc on your body in other ways such as increased fatigue, dry mouth, and for those with high blood pressure, a possible rise in your blood pressure if taking antihistamine.

So what are you to do?

— Have a mocktail! It’s a blend of apple, ¼ cup pineapple, and six ounces of water and a drizzle of local raw honey. It not only tastes fantastic but helps to support your immune system to keep allergies at bay.

The apple is anti-inflammatory as it contains quercetin. Pineapple contains bromelain, a naturally occurring antihistamine.

Apple cider vinegar has many uses but this time of year it helps to fight allergies. One ounce a day added to water will help maintain your alkaline pH, counter inflammation, and stabilize digestive health.

— Eliminate dairy from your diet. Dairy can aggravate the immune response of the body and increase inflammation, causing an increase in mucous production. By going dairy-free, your symptoms may improve.

— Using a neti pot a minimum of once daily. Irrigation of your sinus passages will remove pollen, and decrease the thickness of mucous leading to lessened congestion. It is important to wash your neti pot regularly with a mixture of vinegar and water to eliminate increased bacteria or mold from forming inside the chamber and entering your nasal passages.

Oils to the rescue

A combination of therapeutic grade essential oils can help with allergy symptoms. I recommend a mixture of lemon, peppermint and lavender oils diffused into your home, bedroom or office. You can also inhale a few drops of each placed under your nose or on your temples, avoiding the eye area.

This combination may act as a natural antihistamine while decreasing the overall inflammatory response of allergens.

— Acupuncture has been shown to decrease allergy symptoms. Acupressure can also be helpful by holding pressure to the sides of your nose, between your eyebrows, and between your thumb and finger.

— The stinging nettle root has been successfully used in allergy treatment. A tea or capsule form can decrease allergy symptoms and inflammation as the plant contains chlorophyll and vitamin C, providing support to the immune system.

For itchy, watery eyes with clear nasal discharge, consider organic Eyebright herb tea. Drinking a cup twice daily can help with allergy symptoms.

— Raw, local honey contains local pollens to sensitize you, creating fewer allergy symptoms. The exposure to the pollens in the honey helps to stimulate the immune system, creating a protective response.

— Onions are considered a homeopathic remedy that decreases allergy symptoms. Micro doses of Allium cepa in homeopathic remedies act as an antihistamine.

— “All disease begins in the gut,” said Hippocrates. To improve gut health, consider taking a probiotic.

Without proper digestive health, the other systems of the body become imbalanced. Probiotics as a supplement or through food can help to lower your histamine response, decreasing allergy symptoms.

— Fragrance in perfumes, dish soap, body wash, laundry detergent, cleaning products and more causes a buildup of toxins in the body, causing not only allergy symptoms but other conditions.

— Water, water, water! Hydration is so very important for many bodily systems. Water will thin out mucous and help to eliminate toxins from the body.

Incorporate any of these allergy-fighting remedies into your daily routine and enjoy warm weather ahead.

• Deborah Dittner is a nurse practitioner and health consultant for amateur and professional athletes. If you’re an amateur or professional athlete looking to increase energy, boost performance and shorten recovery time, check out her website at www.debdittner.com to learn how. If you’re an athletic department head, coach, or athletic trainer, and would like to learn how your team can gain a competitive edge through whole foods-based nutrition and wellness, contact her at 518-596-8565.