Horseman’s Health: What Causes an Allergy and Avoiding Fall Allergies

Madalyn with horseMany people associate seasonal allergies with Spring when plants start blooming, but if you consider what causes an allergy you’ll see that Fall allergies are also a real possibility. In these days of global warming when more moderate temperatures last longer Fall allergies are affecting more and more people that were accustomed to getting some allergy relief in winter months. Leonard Bielory, MD, researching impacts of climate change of allergies, warns that with rising levels of greenhouse gases and temperatures, the pollen season will be longer. In fact his research has shown that pollen counts can be doubled by these conditions ( This is bad news for the 35 million people who suffer with symptoms from seasonal allergies. Stanley Fineman, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, concurs that these milder fall and winter temperatures trigger pollen and mold to be released earlier than normal causing fall allergies to start sooner and allergens usually introduced in late summer linger on into the milder fall weather conditions. (

What Causes an Allergy?
Basically, what causes an allergy in the case of seasonal allergies is the body is reacting to ingestion of pollen and other like substances such as pet dander, mold spores, and dust mites. Once we ingest any of these substances, the body produces histamine to wash away these irritants. Ideally, the body would have enough digestive and metabolic enzymes, protease in particular, to break down the protein skin around the pollen that protects it from sprouting prematurely, which would neutralize its impact. People who suffer with allergy symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, running nose, itchy eyes and nose and coughing, may have a deficiency in digestive and metabolic enzymes or do not produce enough histamine or produce weakened histamine.

Natural Solutions to Fall Allergies
There are natural solutions seasonal allergy suffers can use to reduce the misery of allergy symptoms without having to lock themselves away in a sterile bubble. Here are a few that can help you find some relief from those pesky spring and fall allergies.

1. Know Your Enemy
First it is helpful to know what causes an allergy attack for you. Not all allergy sufferers show symptoms to the same things. You can either do this by keeping an allergy journal and finding out what counts are high on the days you have the worst symptoms or you see an allergist and get tested. A skin test can be done where the allergist scratches your skin and introduces a small amount of various allergens. The doctor then watches for a reaction of the scratch turning red and/or itching to see which allergens you are allergic to. Blood tests are also able to determine some types of allergies. Once you know what you have reactions to, you can plan accordingly to reduce your symptoms.

2. Keep Your Air Clean
Keeping your windows closed and using an air purifier can help keep pollen out of your house and reduce the amount of pollen you breathe in. HEPA filters in an air purifier can filter out 99% of the pollen, dust and mold that may be in your home. Opening windows allows pollen to invade your home and settle into carpet and furniture, so keeping windows closed can help reduce the amount of pollen able to get inside. Stanley Fineman, MD recommends using an air filter that has a MERV rating of 8 or more to reduce the chances of reacting to pollens that do get into your house ( Using a dehumidifier to keep the humidity in your house to below 50% can also help in controlling dust mites and mold.

3. Eat Your Probiotics
Supporting your immune system is one of the best ways to help control symptoms from fall allergies. The stronger your immune system is, the more allergens it is better able to tolerate. One study in the Journal of Nutrition compared subjects who ate 7 ounces of yogurt a day for a year to those who did not eat yogurt and found the yogurt eating bunch to have less allergy symptoms. These results are attributed to the probiotics found in yogurt, as introducing the good bacteria into your digestive system gives your immune system a boost. If you get your probiotics from yogurt, make sure to read the label and look for “live active cultures”. If you aren’t getting enough probiotics from foods, consider taking a high quality probiotic supplement.

4. Cover Up
Spring is not the only time of year that yard work needs to be done. Many people plant fall gardens and others have leaves to rake. These activities can trigger pollen and mold being released into the air. If you have allergy symptoms as a result, start covering your nose and mouth with a mask when working outside. Disposal masks are available at most hardware stores and are fairly inexpensive.

5. Keep It Clean
If you know you have allergic reactions to mold, watch for mold in places like shower curtains and carpet, and get rid of them as soon as you see signs. Using hot water to wash sheets and blankets weekly, and using allergy friendly pillows and mattress covers can also help reduce your symptoms.

6. Up Your Nose
One of my favorite natural solutions to fall allergies is to use a neti pot. Dr. Oz has also cited this as a good way to wash allergens out. The first time I heard about using a neti pot I didn’t think I’d be able to pour saline water in one nostril and let it run out the other nostril. That just sounded gross to me and possibly painful. Once I gave it a try though, it was nothing like what I thought and I am a true believer now.

7. Supplements
Make sure you are getting enough digestive enzymes to help reduce symptoms of fall allergies. Protease and other digestive enzymes can help fight off symptoms when pollens are ingested. Support your immune system by beefing up your antioxidants. Bluegreen algae, whole algae and without the cell wall, acidophilus, bifidus and our favorite sprouts supplement help support not only your immune system, but nourish and strengthen every cell organ system and body function. You can get almost all these powerful superfoods in convenient daily packets with acidophilus, bifidus, enzymes and 2 kinds of algae to take on the run and help stretch your budget.

Fall can be a wonderful time of the year. Getting ready for holidays, spending time with family, fall gardening, watching the leaves change color, and cooler weather can all be more enjoyable by understanding what causes an allergy and following some or all these tips for beating the symptoms of fall allergies.

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