Spring Allergies by Anni DahmsNils Lind
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I love the spring. It feels wonderfully life affirming to see how everything sprouts and grows. Trees and flowers come out. Almond trees are blossoming right now with all their beautiful pastel colors and wonderful yellow mimosas. People are happy and enjoying the sun and the great outdoors with many outdoor activities.
However, for many people, both children and adults, the spring can be pure torture with sneezing, itchy red eyes, and a stuffed or running noose. The symptoms often resemble those of a cold, but a cold disappears within a few days. If the symptoms do not seem to get better, then the condition might be caused by allergies. On top on the common symptoms are there in some cases also difficulty breathing with coughing and a wheezing from the lungs. Many people also feel tired, fatigued, and experience difficulties when trying to concentrate. Spring allergies occurs more commonly in the ages 5 – 40, as you get older you often outgrow it. People who have experienced asthma or childhood eczema in their youth have a larger risk of developing pollen allergy.
Spring allergies are an uncommon reaction, where the body creates an overactive immune system, which sends out histamines when it registers substances that it deems to be damaging, even though they are not a treat to your health.
During a spring allergy the person will become extremely sensitive to, for instance, different types of grass, trees, and scrubs that release pollen.
There are many different plants that release pollen during the spring in Spain, such as olive trees, banana trees, mimosas, grasses, etc. In Denmark it is largely birch and grasses that release the most pollen.
It seems like spring allergy is an increasing symptom, it is estimated that between 7 and 10 million people have some kind of spring allergy in Spain.
In Denmark it is estimated that roughly 1 million people suffer from hay fever.
The words hay fever and pollen allergy are often used together, but this article will mainly be about pollen allergy, which is considered to account for half of the symptoms connected to hay fever. Pollen comes from the Greek word for fine powdery substance, which is very descriptive for how it is the dust from the different grasses and plants that causes all the issues. Pollen is a substance produced by the male blossoming plants. A pollen allergy repeats itself every spring or summer and the pollen season starts in February/March.
Pollen from grass is one of the leading causes of allergy worldwide. In Spain it is estimated that one in four children are sensitive to one or more sorts of grass.
In the southern part of Spain, Andalusia, is the most common allergic reaction, those from olive pollen, as the cultivation of olive trees spreads all over southern Spain.
The combination of your meals is vital, in order for us to feel good. If you suffer from pollen allergy, then you have to be especially mindful of what you put in your mouth.
Some people, that suffer from pollen allergy, experience that certain foods give them symptoms. It is because they contain the same substances found in pollen. This is called a cross reaction.
It is assumed that about 70% are allergic to for instance birch, also have problems processing certain nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
If this is the case for you, then you have to be especially attentive that the food does not contain any of the products you are allergic to. This could be chocolate with nuts, marzipan, etc.
There exist many asthma/allergy associations in different countries. It can be a good idea to sign up with such an association, where you can get a lot of help. You can also find a lot of informative flyers about pollen allergy and food. These are often available at pharmacies and at the doctor.
Choose fresh ingredients, preferably ecological. Avoid preprocessed food as much as possible and food with miscellaneous additives.
It is good to choose fiber rich foods, which are good for your intestinal function. Fibers are found in whole wheat products, fruits, potatoes, vegetables, legumes, etc. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, they are filled with good nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
Cut down on the large steaks. They are acidic. Mainly choose fish and light meats, such as chicken and turkey. Stay away from sugar, especially the white one. It overloads your immune system, blood sugar, and intestinal system. Many people are at their best when they avoid flour, pasta, and pretty much all products containing gluten. Salt is important for the fluid and mineral balance, but use it sparingly and choose a high quality salt, such as Himalayan salt, which also contains a lot of great minerals.
If you are an enthusiastic coffee drinker, then it might be a good idea to cut down to two cups a day, where the first cup is drunk at around 11, so the body doesn’t starts its day with an acid chock. Instead start your day with quality herbal teas.
Alcohol strains the liver, intestines, and the kidneys, so if you drink a lot of alcohol, try to minimize it as much as possible. Instead of strong liquor, choose a good wine and drink responsibly.
Remember to drink water of a high quality. Water is a solvent and functions as a transportation mechanism for minerals and water-soluble vitamins.
You can preferably drink green tea. It eliminates the production of IgE and histamines, so the body does not feel under attack.
You can personally do a lot to strengthen your mucous membranes and your overall immune system.
- As a base, take a quality multivitamin/mineral product.
- You may want to supplement with extra B6, as B6 is a natural antihistamine and is often used to treat allergies.
- You can preferably take extra vitamin C, which supports the immune system and helps prevent colds, making it an excellent aid against allergies.
- Remember an extra dose of A vitamins. They strengthen the mucous membranes and the immune system. I have seen through the years that many are helped by taking an extra supplement of vitamin A and E. If you are pregnant, then you should not take any vitamin A supplements.
- Vitamin E strengthens the arteries and veins. It is a strong antioxidant.
- A study from 2009 showed that Pycnogenol, which is a patterned extract from the bark of maritime pine, could reduce the pollen allergy symptoms in the eyes and nose significantly. Experiments with Pycnogenol shows that the extract can affect the mast cells, which are the cells responsible for sending out histamines. It can be good to take it together with D and C vitamins, as Pycnogenol and vitamin C and D are all naturally rich in antihistamines.
- There are new studies, which show that a lack of vitamin D can have a role in the development of allergies, so a supplement might be good, as population studies show that vitamin D deficiency is very common.
- The majority of our immune system is found in the intestines, so it might be a good idea to supplement with a quality probiotic.
- Echinacea purpurea – purple coneflower helps your immune system and can contribute to a reduction in overreactions, as the mucous membranes become less vulnerable.
- Supplements with ginger is a well-known and good aid against weak mucous membranes.
- It can be a good idea to inhale oils from peppermint. It contains a substance which blocks the production of histamines, thereby reducing sneezing and running nooses.
- Nettles can cause skin irritations, but taken in tea form, it can help ease the symptoms of pollen allergy.
- Garlic helps when with fighting off allergies. Make sure you get it as high quality.
- MSM – Methylsulfonylmethane has helped many pollen allergists, which have said that their symptoms have improved immensely by taking MSM. It is available both in tablet and powder form. For some people 1 – 2 grams daily, is enough to keep they allergic symptoms at bay, but others need around 2 – 3 grams before the MSM helps.