May 9th, 2011

Natural Allergy Relief and Prevention

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Groovy Green Livin natural allergy relief

Eight years ago, when my son was one, he was given his first peanut; a rice cake smothered in peanut butter.  That moment defined the starting point of our foray into the overwhelming world of food and seasonal allergies. He became lethargic, covered in hives and his face swelled. It was later confirmed that he had had an allergic reaction to the peanut butter.  Further testing indicated that he was allergic to all nuts and many environmental allergens; plants, trees, dust and mold.

The first few years after that diagnosis were challenging. We knew our lifestyle, filled with eating out and not reading food labels, needed an adjustment. Our first priority was to find a way to keep our little boy safe in a world filled with nuts.

Fast forward 8 years to a healthy, well-adjusted nine year old boy who has found a way to live his life without much interference from his allergies.

Over the past 8 years we have learned a lot about living with allergies, with more learning to come I’m sure. In hindsight there were things we could have done differently, but overall we are in a good place. There’s a world of options out there and sometimes it’s challenging to navigate through. We have explored different routes and remedies and have resorted to natural allergy relief and prevention as much as possible.

Natural allergy relief and  prevention

Breast feed. Breast-feed exclusively — give your baby only breast milk for the first 6 months of life using hypoallergenic formulas to supplement breastfeeding if necessary.

Take a daily dose of acidophilus. Acidophilus is a probiotic has been touted for having many health benefits. It comes in a pill and powder form.  There have been suggestions that probiotics help prevent the development of allergies. Yogurt is probably the most well known food containing acidophilus. 

Cut back on dairy. Dairy products contain casein, a mucus-forming agent. It has a glue-like texture and histamine-creating properties, both of which cause increased mucus production and nasal congestion. Seasonal allergies cause runny noses and watery eyes. The last thing we need is another source for adding more mucus.

 

Reduce chemical exposure.

  • Cleaning products. Make the switch to safe cleaning products. Many conventional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine bleach, ammonia, petrochemicals, and VOC’s. Breathing in the fumes from these products is toxic and can complicate allergic reactions.
  • Personal care products. Check out all of your personal care products on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.  The world’s largest resource on personal care product safety just got a makeover and it will help you figure out which of your personal care products are toxic and which are safe.
  • Lawn care. Chemical weed killers, pesticides, and other lawn care products are not only killing our weeds, they’re and making us sick and killing the earth. Many of the symptoms we attribute to seasonal allergies and asthma could be from a chemical sensitivity to the chemicals lurking in our yards. These toxins are then tracked into our homes and absorbed into our foods. Our yard is now chemical free. I can say with certainty that our yard isn’t the most beautiful yard in the hood, but I love being able to let my kids and dog run around outside knowing our yard is a safe haven for them to play.

Resources

It takes a village and without these resources I would have been ( and would be) lost.

Healthy Child Healthy World-inspiring millions of people to take action and create cleaner, greener, safer environments where children and families can flourish.

FAAN-the most trusted source of information, programs, and resources related to food allergy and anaphylaxis.

What do you do when seasonal allergies kick in?

Do you have food allergies? Any tips to share?

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[Top photo used under Creative Commons from SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget/Flickr]

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21 Responses to “Natural Allergy Relief and Prevention”

  1. These are some great tips and resources. I’m really lucky to have no seasonal allergies or food intolerances… and I don’t know what my parents did right to make it so!

    I would add another item to your list of ways to reduce chemical exposure: clothing and bed linens. We spend a third of our day breathing in the chemicals in our pyjamas and sheets. I don’t know much about this, but I suspect organic cottons are healthier than synthetic materials.

  2. Great point Andrea. Yes, newly purchased clothing is filled with all sorts of toxins. It’s important to wash any clothing before wearing. Same with bedding. PJ’s pose a whole different issue-many are treated with flame retardants that are extremely toxic. I try to steer clear of anything that’s been treated with flame retardants.

    You are lucky that you don’t have any allergies. You have a strong immune system, my friend!

  3. Great minds think alike. I was about to write this post too since my two boys (hubby and son) are dy-ing of seasonal allergies for the past couple of weeks.

    The above tips are great and I wholeheartedly agree with them (and the comment about linens.)

    I’d like to add one (5, actually) more tip and it’s regarding seasonal allergies as it’s really hard to control pollens since trees need to do what they have to do, right? We can’t stop them and we shouldn’t!

    But pollen is everywhere and if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you should, 1) Limit outdoor activities during the worse times like now 2) shake off your clothes in the garage (or better yet, take them off *snicker*) and don’t bring the pollens indoors 3) take a shower when you come inside to clean off pollen that are on your hair and skin 4) use saline solution and clean out your nasal passages 5) and close all vents leading outside like air conditioner sleeves.

    We can’t control pollen season but we can minimize our exposure.

    Great post Lori!

  4. Hi Karen! Thanks so much for your excellent additions. Seasonal allergies are so awful right now. Showering really helps after a day outside. We have a hard time limiting outdoor activity since my kids are so involved in outdoor sports. I like your idea to get naked before coming inside-not sure that will go over so well-but worth a shot :) Do you use a neti pot for cleaning out nasal passages? You are so right-minimizing exposure is the key. Thanks again for all the great tips!

  5. Himalayan salt lamps and the Himalayan salt inhaler (featured recently on the Doctor Oz show), are also excellent natural remedies for allergies! Check out http://www.YourSaltLamps.com for more information!

  6. Thank you!

  7. Great tips! Also wanted to add that chiropractic helps as well! I really enjoy your blog! btw, I started a new link up for sharing healthy ideas, suggestions, going “green” tips, etc. and I hope you and anyone else interested will join me next Wednesday! (Healthy 2day Wednesdays) Have a great weekend!

  8. Hi Lori, I don’t know why but my pollen allergies have been worse than usual this year. I give in and take a Claritin almost every day. :( Unfortunately, my immune system is overactive and I’m still searching for ways to turn it down. I suspect I may have some subtle food sensitivities but nothing like your son’s problem. I do take acidophilus daily but isn’t it ironic that yogurt can be a good and bad thing at the same time?

  9. So true about yogurt Jennifer. It does have many good qualities-dairy aside. I know that in our neck of the woods (Boston) the pollen count has been extremely high this year. When dealing with seasonal allergies we have to do whatever it takes to keep them at bay-if Claritin works so be it! Are you interested in finding out if you have any food sensitivities?

  10. I have noticed an enormous change in my allergies by eliminating dairy, using non chemical cleaners. I also make sure the air ducts are clean, since when we do turn on the heat and a/c I don’t want to add any dust or mildew to the air

  11. Thanks for commenting Lisa. It’s so important to hear first hand from people that have made changes in their diet and they actually worked. Great point about the air ducts and filters-so important to change them out on a regular basis to keep dust at bay.

  12. This is a great post — I’m glad HCHW selected it!

  13. Appreciate the support Betsy!

  14. [...] Natural Allergy Relief republished with permission. [...]

  15. Food allergies are a real puzzle. They used to recommend keeping infants from problematic foods but now recommend early exposure .. no one really understands them at all. I thought this was a great article: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/07/110207fa_fact_groopman

  16. Hi Judy-food allergies are a real puzzle! I could go on and on talking about them. Thanks for sharing the New Yorker article-very interesting. As stated in the article I also believe food allergy is a condition that resulted from the environment we created. For years we practiced avoidance and now we try not to avoid…..crazy stuff.

  17. [...] looked outside my window this morning and the magnolia tree is in full bloom. My son’s seasonal allergies are also in full bloom. We are usually armed and ready for seasonal allergies the first week of [...]

  18. Acidophilus is great because it helps balance the flora of bacteria in our bodies. ‘

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  19. Casein is great since it is slowly digested by the stoamach. This means that you get continous supply of protein over a long period of time comapared to whey protein. ,

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  20. great tips

  21. Thanks Stephanie. Hope your feeling better. I know allergy season can be tough.

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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