Horseman’s Health: Get Ready for Fall and Winter Allergies

Sharon at rodeoWe usually think about allergies in connection with springtime, but Fall and Winter can bring their own allergy symptoms. As colder weather approaches, we spend more time indoors and the holidays can have their own allergy triggers associated with them. No one enjoys sneezing, coughing, and runny nose and eyes so now is the time to get prepared for cold weather allergies with some of our natural solutions.

Winter Allergies
Spring allergy symptoms often occur from pollen from plants beginning to bloom. Winter allergies however are usually caused by reactions to mold spores, dust mites and animals. Since we generally spend more time indoors and often our pets do too in the Fall and Winter months, we are exposed to pet dander, dust and mold from heating systems and smoke and ash from fireplaces. Live Christmas trees may also trigger allergy symptoms according to Marilyn Li, MD, an asthma and allergy specialist with the Los Angeles County & University of Southern California Medical Center. Trees cut early can have spore growth from being stored in humid places. The tree could also have pollen on it or you could react to the sap. If you use an artificial tree, it could have dust or mold from being stored away all year. Many people use special scented candles, sprays or potpourri during the holiday season which can affect some people. If you have an allergy to latex, then stay away from using poinsettias for a decoration. Even if you are not sensitive to any of these allergy triggers, you may have holiday guests who are, so be aware of alternatives to keep your guests free of allergy symptoms. For example, bake cookies or bread to scent the room for a holiday party, decorate with plastic poinsettias, use an artificial tree and make sure you take it and the decorations outside for a good shaking and dusting before bringing it inside. Just being aware of the triggers for allergy symptoms that can come with the holidays and Winter will help you plan alternatives.

Cold or Allergy?
Winter is often also associated with cold and flu season. Since allergy symptoms and cold symptoms can be similar, how do you know if you have a cold or if your symptoms are related to allergies? A quick way to assess this is to see if you have body aches and pains. If so, then you probably have a cold or flu as allergy symptoms don’t usually include these. If your symptoms are gone in around 10 days then it also is probably a cold. Allergy symptoms can last longer.

Natural Solutions for Winter Allergy Symptoms
If you experience allergy symptoms from exposure to dust or mold, do a thorough cleaning including heating ducts to rid your house of dust and mold. You may need to get rid of shower curtains, rugs, carpets and other similar items where mold could be. You can also clean the air by using a HEPA air filter and use a dehumidifier that will keep the humidity below 50%. If you suspect your allergy symptoms are stemming from an indoor pet, you may need to have the pet sleep in a different room from you and/or have him separated at other times. Besides preventative measures, there are some natural solutions you can use to help ease your suffering of allergy symptoms. A Neti Pot can be used to wash out the nasal cavity. Homeopathic remedies can be obtained at your local health food store or from the services of a professional homeopath. Before leaving home, check the pollen count in your area and plan activities outdoors around times when it is low or in the afternoon when pollen is usually lower. Acupuncture has been reported in studies to be effective for some people for allergy symptom relief.

There are also supplements that can be helpful in relieving allergy symptoms. Ayurvedic medicine  offers Quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and tinospora cordifolia, that increases immune system activity with its antioxidant properties, as natural solutions. Supplementing with high quality probiotic supplements can help boost your immune system to deal with allergies. This could include acidophilus, bifidus or a full-spectrum probiotic supplement. This supplement  full of antioxidants is another way to get nutrition that can give the immune system a boost. It contains red beta algae, kale sprouts, red clover sprouts and wheat sprouts for lots of antioxidant support. Medicinal mushrooms have also been found to be supportive of the immune system. This supplement combines reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms with astragalus, beta glucan and AFA bluegreen algae.

Winter can be a special time of the year, with holidays and getting together with family and friends. Don’t let your winter be ruined by allergy symptoms making you miserable. Try out some of these natural solutions and be prepared to deal with allergy symptoms this year.

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