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If you are an allergy sufferer, you may not be looking forward to spring or summer. As a naturopathic doctor, I often see patients with a range of allergies seeking more nature-based options. There are a few simple yet useful tools to have in your spring survival kit that may help reduce the intensity of your spring histamine woes this year.

Allergy Season Support Tools:

1. Nasal flush.

Since pollens and other allergens are in the air, flush your nasal passageways with a salt solution to keep it clear to reduce allergen reactions. A 2012 Italian study found that children with seasonal allergic rhinitis (i.e., seasonal allergies) significantly improved with daily nasal salt water flushes. The researchers found that these children required less oral antihistamines compared to children who didn’t use this method. Overall they concluded that this method is effective, inexpensive, well tolerated and easily accepted. Here is the simplified method: fill a ‘neti pot’ or bulb syringe with warm salt water (about ½ teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of filtered, or boiled then cooled water), keeping your mouth open, tilt your head and add the fluid in one nostril (as it drains out through the other nostril into a sink/basin), then repeat on the other side.

2. Supplements.

Studies have found that certain vitamins and supplements can calm the histamine response. For instance, supplemental doses of quercetin, a natural compound found in many plants such as onions and apples, helps to reduce allergy symptoms in some people. Vitamin C can also be helpful as it is important in the functioning of the immune system. A good multivitamin is also useful to include. A study conducted at the prestigious Karolinska Institute of Environmental Medicine found that children who took multivitamins before the age of four had a reduced chance of developing allergic rhinitis.

3. Herbs.

A number of herbs may be helpful when faced with spring allergies, with symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, sneezing and itchy watery eyes. Studies have found that herbal extracts such as nettle leaf and butterbur can reduce symptoms significantly.

4. Probiotics.

These are beneficial microorganisms that help you and your immune system function more optimally. Note that most of your body is made of these valuable bacterial organisms, so they are important to pay attention to considering the rise of allergies and other immune-related disorders. For instance, a study published in the 2013 European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that probiotics reduced the allergy-related nasal symptoms of those with seasonal allergies, as well as improving a number of indicators of proper immune function while monitoring the blood of the study participants compared to the non-treatment group.

5. Other supports.

Your allergy survival kit may also include furnace and air-conditioner filters to help reduce pollens from entering and spreading through the house. Also control pollen by dusting and vacuuming regularly and bathing before bed. Your health care provider can also give unique solutions to suit your personal circumstances.

Dr. Rahim Habib ND
About the Author

Rahim Habib is a registered naturopathic doctor with over 15 years of experience in general family practice. He has a special interest in helping patients comprehensively detoxifying their bodies for preventative and therapeutic benefit. He also has a special interest in children’s health, assisting kids in their learning and behavioural health with conditions such as ADHD, Autism spectrum, asthma, allergies and childhood obesity. He also helps adults with chronic conditions, such as thyroid disorders, infertility, inflammation, obesity, autoimmunity, dementia and cancer care. He is the director of the Four Seasons Naturopathic Clinic for Detoxification and Healing and can be reached at 905-597-7201 or www.FamilyNaturopath.ca.