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