Spring is a wonderful time of year with warm days, budding trees and blooming flowers. It’s also the time when tree, grass, and weed pollens fill the air. It can be challenging if you or your children have allergies.
An allergy is an over-reaction of the immune system that results in inflammation and the release of histamines. The outcome is sniffling, sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, coughing, and other symptoms.
The typical medical advice for allergies is to avoid the allergen and take allergy medicine to control symptoms. Anti-allergy medications can have some negative effects on kids. Many children with allergies are put on drugs for years with no improvement.
The good news is that there is natural allergy medicine for kids and holistic treatments that can work to control symptoms while strengthening and balancing the immune system to prevent future episodes.
Here’s the 3-Step Approach:
1. Reduce Exposures
Reduce exposures as much as you can. Your indoor air can be just as bad as the outdoors, and many allergens can settle in house dust. A good air purifier will remove the particles in your home that can trigger allergies. I checked into different companies and found these air purifiers to be very effective and the most economical when you consider the long-lasting filters and how well they clean the air. Frequent dusting, floor mopping and vacuuming also help to cut down on dust.
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2. Relieve Symptoms
Use natural, non-toxic supplements and diet to relieve the symptoms:
Eating a whole foods diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens and berries, can go a long way to reduce inflammation. Most importantly, eliminate sugar, wheat, dairy, and processed foods, since they are inflammatory and can contribute to the problem.
Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory enzyme that soothes the mucous membranes and reduces allergy-induced aches and pains. Bromelain is most effective for allergies when combined with quercetin, nettles, and vitamin C and taken on an empty stomach. Bromelain should be avoided during pregnancy.
Quercetin is a bioflavanoid and natural anti-histamine found in fruits and vegetables. Like bromelain, it is safe and effective taken as a supplement. However, quercetin should be avoided during pregnancy. Foods that naturally contain quercetin are onions, garlic, apples and cayenne pepper.
Vitamin C is well-known as a potent antioxidant that boosts immunity. It protects cells from free radicals, which increase during allergic reactions. Vitamin C can accelerate histamine breakdown and help relieve congestion.
Stinging nettle is a safe, Spring tonic herb that cleanses and strengthens the body and inhibits pro-inflammatory enzymes and cykotines. Avoid during pregnancy.
Bromelain, quercetin, and stinging nettle work well in combination to relieve allergies. Ortho Molecular Products makes a supplement called D-Hist that contains all three, plus vitamin C. There’s an adult and a child version. However, it should not be used during pregnancy. D-Hist can be started several weeks before allergies kick in to build up resistance. It can also be used to relieve symptoms when allergies are in full force. In addition to D-Hist, you can find these supplements in single form and in other brand combinations.
Local Raw Honey
A few spoonfuls a day of local raw honey made from the trees, flowers, and plants in your area can help you build up a tolerance to those allergens. Don’t use regular honey, it must be local and raw. Honey should not be given to babies under age one.
Chamomile helps to relieve itchiness from allergies. For itchy eyes, place a wet chamomile tea bag on the eyes for about 10 minutes.
Nasal irrigation with a neti pot clears out mucus and opens the sinuses. Use a combination of distilled water, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
3. Strengthen and Balance the Immune System
Treat the underlying root cause of the allergies by building and balancing the immune system. A healthy immune system provides greater resistance to infections and less allergic reactions.
Here are important ways to boost immune function:
Optimizing the gut flora with probiotics has been shown to prevent allergies. Eat probiotic fermented foods or take probiotic supplements to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and boost immunity.
Omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties and are very important to immune function. Doctors recommend that children take between 400-500 mg. of omega 3 Fats (both EPA and DHA) in the form of fish oil.
A high blood level of vitamin D enhances immunity, and many children are deficient in vitamin D. The Vitamin D Council recommends that children and adults take 1,000 IU per 25 pounds (11 kg) of body weight to maintain sufficient vitamin D levels. Pregnant women, especially need sufficient levels of vitamin D.
Whole foods nourish and cleanse the body while activating and supporting the immune system. Your child needs whole food sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, and other nutrients. Processed foods, sugar, and soda can weaken the immune system, so reduce or eliminate these foods.