It is that time of the year. Flowers are blooming, trees are pollinating, and folks with seasonal allergies are starting to feel the effects. As of 2017, just less than a third of all Canadians have an allergy of some kind (pollen, food, medicines), with 20-25% of Canadians having seasonal allergies. Most commonly, seasonal allergies will start when we are younger but they can affect folks of all ages. Other people can develop them or see their allergies change in adulthood and as elders.
Seasonal allergies can be serious but are mostly a nuisance, leading to disrupted sleep, worsened productivity, and general fatigue. Reactions to inhaled substances are some of the most common concerns Canadians have, whether seasonally or all year. That’s right, allergies can occur when the seasons change or for some all year round. Pollinating trees and flowers are predictable seasonal causes but so are fungal spores, seen more frequently here in our moist west coast climate.
Various factors can make us more susceptible to seasonal allergies. Addressing these factors and providing symptom relief are what I consider, as a naturopathic doctor, when creating an individualized plan for someone.
One factor are the foods we eat, which can make us more susceptible or even trigger a reaction. Foods like milk and egg, wheat, even citrus and pork can be culprits. Determining which foods may be a trigger for you is key to providing relief for your seasonal allergies.
On top of that, eating more fruits and vegetables generally can lower the risk of seasonal allergies. This is because they contain various compounds, such as flavonoids and antioxidants, that can help modulate inflammation. Various green leafy vegetables are best, bitter ones like arugula are even better. Healthy omega 3 fats found in fish and algae also are anti-inflammatory.
A healthy gut microbiome and the use of probiotics is another factor that can reduce susceptibility to seasonal allergies. This is because various strains of probiotics (good gut bacteria) can help balance immune cells that are involved in allergic reactions,
Acupuncture can also support relief from seasonal allergies. We can improve allergy symptoms by using points to stimulate the body to balance the immune system and support the sinuses and lungs.
If you are looking for other options or for a comprehensive plan to tackle your seasonal allergies, naturopathic medicine can help. Working together with you, naturopathic doctors have multiple tools to help you manage seasonal allergies.
Dr. Shawn Peters, ND is a naturopathic doctor practicing in downtown Courtenay.
Contact Dr. Peters for a free “meet the doctor” visit to see if naturopathic medicine is right for you.