Ah, spring is in the air! Well, maybe not this past week, but it has been and will be back shortly. It’s beautiful and refreshing. Birds are chirping in the morning, trees and flowers are budding and even blooming, but oye…those allergies. Since we had a mild winter we can anticipate spring allergies to be even worse. We’ve already heard people complaining of allergy symptoms, and if you’ve been into an M.D. lately they’ve probably advised you to “get ahead” of your symptoms with your handy Claritin and Mucinex. But should you?
You see, like many other facets to your health, allergies can invade your world due to more than one cause. The cause is what we should be interested in, not the symptoms. Sure we need to rid our body of the symptoms because they can make a beautiful day unproductive and miserable. Finding the source, or cause, of those symptoms and eliminating that is the long-term solution though; eliminating the source will eliminate the symptoms.
The good news is, preventing allergies from getting bad in the first place is easy, and you still have time to fight back before they start. Being proactive is not only more effective, but also more cost effective!
So what are allergies? Allergies are a hypersensitive immune response to allergens (e.g., dander, pollen, or bee venom). Certain allergens, like pollen, become much more prevalent in the spring. While many people suffer from seasonal allergies, they are as exactly described above- hypersensitive immune responses. “Hyper” means over; therefore, our bodies become oversensitive to these allergens that are overall not that bad, and shouldn’t disrupt our bodies as greatly as they do for many.
Allergy symptoms can come on quickly when spring arrives. Often times people mistake their allergies for other ailments, such as the common cold. Some allergy symptoms are:
-breathing through the mouth
-shortness of breath
That would lead us to the next question: Why are we having hypersensitive immune responses?
There are several reasons for this. A large part of this starts from the time we are babies. We live in a clean, sanitize, sterilize kind of world, and babies’ immune systems aren’t given a chance to develop. It may sound strange, but babies NEED to develop infections in order to develop their immune systems. That’s why children with dogs typically have stronger immune systems. Even though their parents may have Lysol wiped, and Lysol sprayed, every inch of the house…they don’t spray the dog. The dog then becomes like a natural inoculator for the children, and helps strengthen their immune systems.
Then what are the things that affect allergies that aren’t related to when we were babies?
A big one is STRESS! Stress in all its forms: emotional, chemical, and physical.
1-Emotional Stress- We’re all familiar with this one. Emotional stress stems from fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, or suffering from an experience. Everyday things in our lives can cause emotional stress, from taking care of children, to work, to marital situations. When our bodies are under emotional stress it weakens our immune system. When our immune systems are weakened we become prone to hypersensitive immune responses, a.k.a-allergies.
2-Physical Stress- If our bodies are already under stress we also become more prone to allergies and all the symptoms that come along with that. Some examples of physical stress are: headaches, not sleeping well, stomach problems, clenched jaw, etc. If you’re already dealing with your body being under physical stress, this also can lower your immune system and make you more prone allergy symptoms.
3- Chemical Stress- Chemical stress can be hard to avoid if you are unaware of what things can cause chemical stress on your body. Then there is chemical stress you are exposed to on a global level that you do not have a ton of control over. Of course there are things we can do to reduce our exposure on an individual level. The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged environmental pollution as the underlying cause in nearly 80% of all chronic degenerative diseases. We are exposed to chemical stress from things such as: industrial chemicals, chlorinated solvents, pesticides, food dyes and dyes in detergents, synthetic hormones, chemicals used for water disinfection, pharmaceuticals, and fire retardants.
If we think of our bodies as a cup that gets filled up with fluids, all of these types of stress fill up the cup. Our goal is to decrease these stresses and dump out some of the fluid in the cup. This allows the body to take on the extra stress of allergies and foreign invaders.
It may seem like there are an exorbitant amount of things playing against us when it comes to battling allergies, and not having to take products such as Claritin and Mucinex. Aside from doing what you can to reduce the three types of stress, there are natural alternatives to over-the-counter medications. The over-the-counter medications are simply treating the symptoms of your allergies, but not actually doing anything to “empty your cup” to allow your body to be able to handle the allergens.
#1 Focus more on Self-Care- Do something that you are passionate about-something that fills you up.
#2 Spring Clean- Clean out your household cleaners and beauty products and replace with natural products, or make your own like Dr. Jeanne.
#3 Take a Catnap- Rest when the kids rest or go to bed an hour earlier.
At First Step Family Wellness in St. Louis, we recommend a nasal spray along with a probiotic, enzyme therapy, and chiropractic adjustments. This increases the immune system and helps the systems work optimally that are responsible for filtering the pollen and other foreign invaders that are currently affecting your body.
If you need help getting a jump start battling your allergies, First Step Family Wellness is offering 10% off our Allergy Package. The package includes: a nasal spray, a probiotic, and an enzyme. Of course we also recommend scheduling a chiropractic adjustment today to aid in boosting your immune system!