Allergies are caused by the immune system producing histamines to defend the body against a substance it perceives as a threat. These substances are called allergens. There are a number of different environmental allergens, including pollen, mold, dust mites and certain foods. Once you've discovered the source, you can reduce your symptoms by taking certain allergy support steps.
Exposure to pollen can cause seasonal allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes. You can reduce these seasonal allergy symptoms by staying indoors when pollen counts are high, keeping the windows shut, using air conditioning, and wearing a face mask.
Molds are a common trigger for allergies. They proliferate in damp areas. Outdoors, they’re found in wet leaves, grass and hay; indoors they live in moist environments. Potted plants are an often overlooked source of mold. If you have mold allergies, remove potted plants, make sure the basement and bathrooms are well ventilated, and avoid chores like raking leaves and mowing grass.
Dust mites are the most common indoor allergen. The best thing you can do for dust mite allergies is to use hypoallergenic covers on your pillows and mattresses and wash your bedding weekly. You can also cut down on dust mites by removing carpets, drapes, and other dust-trapping items. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter and an air cleaner can also help with allergies.
Food allergies cause a different reaction than airborne allergens. Shellfish, nuts, wheat, milk and eggs are the most common offenders. Symptoms usually appear within minutes of eating the food and can include difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and mouth, hives, and in severe cases, anaphylactic shock. Mild symptoms can be treated with antihistamines; for an anaphylactic reaction, you’ll need to seek emergency medical attention.
While allergies can make you miserable, sometimes the treatments seem just as bad. Conventional allergy medicines can make you feel drowsy and unfocused. Luckily, there are some natural alternatives that may help. Gentler homeopathic allergy support supplements may provide natural allergy support. Vitamin C and flavonoids such as quercetin help provide seasonal support. These nutrients can be found together in many foods such as peppers, spinach, broccoli, berries, plums, and citrus fruits.