Home Remedies For Allergy Relief
If you are reading this article, chances are you are an allergy sufferer and are tired of putting up with your medication side effects or are worried about their long term use. You may want to find some home remedies for allergy relief. Some hay fever medications can be very effective, but they can dry up your mouth and nasal membranes and/or make you drowsy, they can even raise blood pressure and cause insomnia and nervousness.
Perhaps you recently started experiencing symptoms and you may not know the causes. If this is the case, you may need to know some other information before discussing natural home remedies. You will need to know some common allergy triggers, symptoms and other important facts.
The job of the immune system is to declare war and fiercely attack harmful bacteria, viruses and other malignant cells that invade our bodies. However when you have allergies the system does not recognize harmless traces of mold or pollen from the real harmful invaders, so it launches a relentless attack and that’s when your symptoms begin.
The Immune System’s Allergic Reaction
Generally, what happens in an allergic person’s immune system is an exaggerated reaction to tiny dust or pollen particles by certain antibodies called IgE, which bind to certain cells found in the skin and bloodstream as well as in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracks. When these cells-loaded with as many as half a million antibodies-come across an allergen, they burst and release irritating chemicals including histamine. This, in turn creates even more inflammatory substances. The bloodstream of an allergy sufferer has many more of this type of antibodies than a person with no allergies.
Natural Allergy Cures?
The two factors that cause your immune system to react this way are mainly genetics and, to a lesser degree, life style. This means that if both your parents have allergic disease, you are very likely to develop them. For this reason, there are no cures for allergies, but you can make changes and adjustments in your lifestyle to avoid allergic triggers. We’ll explore some natural relief for allergies including vitamins, herbs and desensitization.
Most Common Allergy Triggers
- Pollen, grass and trees
- Medication and drugs
- Dust and dust mites
- Indoor air pollution
- Chemical fumes and gases
- Bees and other insects
- Cleaning products
- Food preservatives and additives
Anaphylaxis: This is a severe and life threatening allergic reaction to bee stings, nuts, penicillin or shellfish. The symptoms include sudden blood pressure drop, nausea, vomiting, cramps, dizziness, wheezing, difficulty breathing due to the swelling and narrowing of bronchial tubes and throat. If you suffer from this type of allergic disease, you should always carry an epi kit, which consists of a syringe with epinephrine so you can inject it into your leg at the first symptom. It is crucial that you follow up with a trip to a hospital emergency room immediately after the shot.
Skin Symptoms: Certain foods, pets, latex and plants may produce red, itchy blistering rashes known as eczema and swelling,itching and redness known as hives.
Eye Reactions: Red, itchy and teary eyes are mainly caused by airborne irritants such as pollen.
Rhinitis or Hay Fever: Symptoms include upper coughing, sneezing, post nasal drip, congested or runny nose, and wheezing. Caused by pollen, dust, mold, chemicals and other fumes.
The cause of sensitivity symptoms is not always obvious, for example you may think that your soap or body lotion is responsible for a skin rash, but the culprit may be some of the food you eat or drink. For this reason, the first step you should take if you suspect you have allergies, is to visit your doctor for testing. There are several types of tests available.
Skin tests are the most commonly performed and, some experts believe, the most reliable form of allergy testing. There are four types of skin tests, the patch, intradermal, skin prick and the RAST.
- Skin Prick or Scratch Test: A drop of the possible allergic substance is placed on the skin after which a few scratches or needle pricks is made on the skin surface so the allergen can enter it. If a positive reaction occurs, a red itchy welt develops on the skin. This procedure is not painful and no bleeding is involved, but some minor discomfort may be felt.
- Patch: This test is mainly used to rule out or detect contact dermatitis, which some critics believe, is not an allergic disease. The patch procedure entails taping a pad with a suspected allergen on the patient’s arm or back for 2 to 3 days.
- Intradermal: Although more sensitive than the skin prick procedure, this testing often produces false-positive results. It is done by injecting the possible allergen into the skin. The intradermal test is done as an additional measure when the patch test does not produce any reaction to a suspected allergen.
Blood or RAST allergy testing stands for Radioallergosorbent and measures the amount of IgE antibodies in your blood or the specific count of IgE to a specific allergen. This procedure is much more expensive than the skin test and it takes longer to get the results. Additionally, some doctors believe this form of testing is less reliable than the skin test.
Conventional Immunotherapy for Allergy
Better known as shots for allergies, immunotherapy is an effective remedy for hay fever, bee sting, dust mite and pollen sensitivities, but it won’t work if you are allergic to latex or food. It works by injecting a weak solution of the substance the patient is allergic to over a period of weeks, months or even years. The strength of the substance is increased over time, so the patient is able to build tolerance to the allergen in the long term. Generally, the shots are given weekly and the treatment usually lasts for a few years.
Although conventional allergists use weakly diluted allergen shots, environmental medicine doctors use the optimal dose immunotherapy, which is a much concentrated dose. This therapy is supposed to produce faster allergy relief and it is said that in some cases the symptoms will be reduced after the first treatment.
Enzyme-potentiated desensitization (EPD) is another form of environmental immunotherapy that entails a series of injections with tiny dosage of the suspect allergens. Because the allergen amounts are the smallest of all allergy shots, an enzyme is added to increase the effect. The EPD injections desensitize the patient to an entire allergen category, in other words, you would be desensitized to the airborne category if you are allergic to animal dander, mold and pollen.
Environmental immunotherapy is also used to treat food and chemical allergies, unlike the conventional form. Conventional doctors criticize this procedure, claiming that such injections are mainly beneficial for hay fever and inhalant allergies and are useless for chemical and food sensitivities.
Sublingual immunotherapy consists of taking a daily dose of the potential allergen under the tongue for four months, in which the dose is gradually raised. After four months the daily dose stays the same. Doctors who provide this treatment recommend their patients to continue using the sublingual drops for two to three years for optimal immunity.
Most experts believe, based on some studies, that changing your diet to avoid saturated fats, processed foods, food additives and preservatives will help to ease sensitivities in the long term. Additionally, studies show that foods rich in anti-oxidants, such as fresh fruits and vegetables as well as walnuts, beans, legumes, olives and extra virgin olive oil, boost the immune system and help to fight allergies. According to a study, people who live in Mediterranean countries routinely eat these staples and hay fever and asthma are very rare among them.
Other studies demonstrate that allergic people are deficient in zinc and magnesium. High magnesium foods include artichokes, black-eyed peas, sunflower seeds, pinto and navy beans, spinach, halibut and cashews. Some zinc rich foods are: oysters, crab, plain yogurt, chicken, lentils, legumes and turkey dark meat.
Certain vitamin supplements are known to strengthen the immune system and fight allergies. Dr. Robert Rountree is a holistic practitioner and co-founder of the Helios Health Center in Boulder, Colorado, who has been using vitamins in the treatment of asthma and allergies for twenty years. He recommends a blend of nutritional supplements such as essential fatty acids, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory herbs:
- Tocopherol Complex (vitamin E and d-alpha tocopherol) 200-400 IU
- Vitamin C 2,000 milligrams
- Proanthocyanidin (grape seed extract) 50-150 milligrams
- GLA (gamma linolenic acid) from borage or black currant seed oil 300 milligrams
- Quercetin 500-3,000 milligrams
- Zinc 20-40 milligrams
- Selenium 200 micrograms
Herbal Allergy Remedy
According to Dr. Rountree the following herbal supplements contain antioxidants and beneficial phytochemicals. He recommends to take one or more of the following in addition to the supplements mentioned above.
- Ginger-500 milligrams three times daily
- Curcumin-500 milligrams two times daily
- Green tea-3 cups daily or one 250 milligram capsule, three times daily