The rise of allergies indicates that the body does not react well to changes in the environment. Several natural therapies can provide better relief than drugs.
With the arrival of spring, millions of people stock up on handkerchiefs, drugs or patience to resist contact with pollen, which does not cause any discomfort to the rest of the population.
Over this year, the abundant winter rains suggest an exuberant flowering and therefore high concentrations of pollen in the air. To this must be added those affected by other allergenic agents, such as mites or certain artificial substances.
The respiratory reactions allergic -rinitis and asmas- are the most common allergic manifestations. Today, pollen allergy affects 20% of Spaniards (detailed information on pollen levels can be found on the web: http://www.polenes.com). And according to the Spanish Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, if the current rate of growth is maintained, within 20 years it will have an incidence of 30 to 50%.
The allergy is suffered by people of all ages, with a higher proportion around the age of 22, and more and more children.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are congestion, sneezing, watery mucus, red eyes, watery eyes, and itchy throat. They can be caused by various pollens, molds, dust, mites, chemicals, or hair from cats and, less commonly, from dogs.
The same allergens can cause asthma attacks, with coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and a tightness in the chest that can block breathing.
To prevent allergies or find an effective treatment, it is necessary to understand the origin of the disease. Studies indicate that there are several causes.
To begin with, there is a genetic factor. Children of fathers and especially mothers with allergies have between 25 and 75% more risk of suffering from it.
And there is usually a higher incidence among people who live in cities, because the particles that come out of the exhaust pipes alter the surface of the pollen grains and other organic particles that are harmless in principle, to which the body reacts. As if it were a threat.
UNDERSTAND ALLERGY AS MISDIRECTED AGGRESSIVENESS
An increasingly widespread hypothesis ensures that the number of allergy sufferers has grown as hygienic conditions have improved and infections have been reduced.
The immune system matures as it comes into contact during the first years of life with a series of bacteria and viruses that are hardly found in cities anymore. In the absence of this maturation, the immune system distortedly identifies dangerous agents.
Other factors that scientific studies associate with the increase in allergies are the lack of breastfeeding , excessive contact with chemical substances and the abuse of denatured foods and certain very common medications , such as antibiotics and antipyretics, which are used systematically before flu and colds.
Emotional influence is not lacking. Some authors go so far as to affirm that certain ‘suffocating” family relationships can lead to respiratory symptoms of allergy. By staying uncomfortable in an unpleasant job or in a hostile family environment – to avoid supposedly greater evils – the body could give way to its aggressiveness in the face of fictitious enemies.
HOW CAN A DISEASE WITH CAUSES AS VARIED AS ALLERGY BE SOLVED?
The conventional medical treatments counteract the symptoms, but with increasing doses and riskier.
Instead, natural therapies strive to readjust the balance between the person and his environment, including physical and chemical, biological and emotional factors.
If the different causes are reviewed, it can be seen that there is something common: the allergy is related to different alterations in the environment and an inadequate response to them. Some things are missing and others are left over.
Therefore, treatments and changes in lifestyle are necessary in order to coexist peacefully with what surrounds us.
DECALOGUE OF MEASURES TO REDUCE ALLERGIC SYMPTOMS
The easiest way to combat allergy symptoms is to reduce exposures to the allergen.
Very effective measures can be taken in this regard, although knowing that total prevention is almost unfeasible.
- People with a pollen allergy can find out the concentration levels in the air to avoid going out into the field, especially on windy days. This information can be found on the web: polenes.com. The concentration is high when the values are above 5,000. If you cannot avoid going outside, it may be advisable to wear a mask.
- You should also avoid exercising in places and times when there is traffic congestion or pollution levels are high.
- The contact lenses provide pollen accumulates in the eyes. Instead the glasses protect them.
- Drying clothes indoors or in a tumble dryer reduces exposure to pollen.
- If the allergy is not known, carpets and floors should be vacuumed to reduce exposure to mites, dust, and hair. And avoid environments laden with tobacco smoke.
- It is advisable to keep the humidity around 40%(you can use a dehumidifier, emptying the water daily). The air purifiers with high efficiency filters and air conditioners help reduce airborne particles.
- The nasal douches with warm saline and slightly relieve irritation and cleaned pollen accumulates in pits.
- Washing your hair at night cleanses it of pollen accumulated during the day.
- An excess of proteins can increase the reactivity of the immune system. The foods rich in omega-3 have anti – inflammatory effects that may be beneficial in case of allergy.
- Mattresses can be covered with allergen-proof plastic and sheets and pillowcases washed weekly in hot water with a fragrance-free detergent.
ACUPUNCTURE TO PREVENT ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
Surveys indicate that one in three people who visit an acupuncturist for allergy treatment is satisfied with the results. One of them is Paulina Garcia, who found in acupuncture the solution that she had not found in other therapies.
“I have suffered from an allergy to mites since adolescence and from the age of 20 I began to try natural remedies, because antihistamines made me sleepy and even palpitations. I think we lack enough information to make the best decision. I tried Bach flowers, with kinesiology and with changes in diet. I know that they have worked for other people, but I only noticed something at first. I finally thought about acupuncture. The symptoms have not completely disappeared, but they are much more bearable, “he explains. . .
Allergy is one of the proven indications for acupuncture according to the WHO. Traditional Chinese doctors claim that it is usually related to a weakness of the spleen-pancreas system.
Spring allergy is linked to increased external heat in addition to possible excess internal heat. Acupuncture regulates the latter so that it remains at the proper levels.
It is recommended to carry out a treatment of 8 to 12 sessions about three weeks before the season. Acupuncture can be combined with other treatments to achieve better results.
THERAPY TO TREAT ALLERGY IN SPAS
Gloria Ruiz is 50 years old and has been going to a spa for the last two weeks of February for ten.
“I started looking for a desperate solution, because the arrival of pollen was for me a drama that could not be solved with the medications, which left me lying down,” he explains. It was not the miracle I expected, but I realized that the symptoms were not so intense and that I felt better in general. From the visit to the spa I began to be interested in natural nutrition and relaxation. It was what I needed, because I led a very carefree and fast-paced lifestyle. When the allergy also appeared I was going through a relationship crisis. ”
In spas, the patient comes into contact with the elements carried by the water, such as iodine, sulfur, radon or carbon dioxide. Salt, magnesium and calcium are beneficial for the respiratory mucosa.
Massages and techniques that involve a stimulus through temperature contrast, such as the sauna or alternate baths, regulate the response of the nervous, vegetative and hormonal systems, which translates into a less exaggerated immune response.
On the other hand, people who visit spas also tend to seek healthy nutrition, contact with nature and physical activities that promote deep and relaxed breathing (walking, swimming, yoga, tai-chí ). Everything is effective in modifying the body”s response.
In Spain there are several spas with specific treatments for respiratory and skin allergies, such as Pallarés, in Alhama de Aragón (Zaragoza); Sicilia, in Jaraba (Zaragoza); Blancafort, in La Garriga (Barcelona); Orión, in Sta. Coloma de Farners (Girona); Archena, in Archena (Murcia); and Alceda, in Ontaneda (Cantabria).
MEDICINAL PLANTS, ALLIES AGAINST ALLERGIES
Pablo Gómez tells us: “The allergy symptoms surprised me three years ago. I went to the doctor and as they only appeared occasionally and when I visited a certain place he prescribed an antihistamine and an inhaler. I probably have an allergy to some type of mold. It”s funny to take medications with such an extensive list of side effects, so I went to a trusted herbalist to recommend an herbal remedy. I take it before going to the house in question and the discomfort has been reduced considerably “, Add.
The list of antiallergic plants is extensive. Two great classics were recommended to Pablo – nettle and licorice root – combined with quercetin tablets, a remarkable natural antihistamine.
The most comfortable and effective way to take nettle is in the form of a dry extract capsule every four hours. It relieves symptoms, is non-toxic, and is an important source of iron and other minerals and vitamins.
The anti-allergic qualities of licorice root have been proven in numerous studies. They are attributed to its ability to increase the half-life of the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol, while reducing unwanted effects in other areas of the body.
The dose is 200 to 800 milligrams of glycyrrhizin daily for six weeks. But it should not be taken if you have hypertension or glaucoma.
The Quercetin is a bioflavonoid obtained from buckwheat and citrus fruits and abundant in onions. It helps to stabilize the membranes of the cells that produce histamine, a substance that causes the discomfort of allergy sufferers.
To get the maximum benefit, it is a good idea to take quercetin supplements one or two weeks before the pollen season begins and continue until the end of the pollen season, as its effect is preventive. It can be taken alone (400 mg twice a day) or combined with vitamin C or other bioflavonoids, such as rutin or hesperidin.
Some scholars recommend taking it together with bromelain, a mixture of enzymes derived from pineapple that can help better absorption and also has anti-inflammatory effects.
Other effective preparations to calm the discomfort are the extract of grape seed and butterbur (Petasites officinalis), garlic pearls or decoctions of ivy, thyme and horehound, which have bronchodilator action.
For maximum benefit, take quercithin supplements a week or two before pollen season begins.
How to Take Quercetin for Allergy Relief
DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS TO ALLEVIATE ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
Tamara Alves was diagnosed with asthma at the age of two, when her parents took her to the emergency services of a public hospital. Tests determined that he was allergic to grass pollen.
Until the age of 17, he resorted to antihistamine pills and inhalers to treat the attacks, which he describes as “terrifying.” On the days when he forgot his inhaler, he was on the verge of a panic attack.
A year ago he started the immunization program at Social Security, but he still hasn”t noticed the results. “A friend told me about an orthomolecular doctor and I found it interesting, because minerals and vitamins do not have the side effects of medications.”
The doctor modified her diet, eliminating refined products and milk. To reduce her intake of wheat, he taught her to prepare other grains, such as millet and quinoa, and recommended that she increase her intake of red and yellow foods to increase the supply of vitamin A, which supports mucosal health.
He also prescribed supplements of calcium, magnesium and B vitamins to relax the bronchial tubes and strengthen the balance of the nervous system.
” I feel better in general , I have increased my confidence with the diet, because before I was afraid I was not doing it well and I hope that this spring the allergy is not so intense,” says Tamara.
MENTAL TECHNIQUES TO DEAL WITH ALLERGIES
Stress management techniques are indicated in cases where anxiety appears to be a trigger for symptoms.
An interesting technique that can be done alone is to visualize the entire allergy process, including the presence of the allergen, the overreaction of the immune system, the influence of thoughts and emotions.
The influence of suggestion on allergy is demonstrated with a simple experiment: a person who is known to be allergic to roses can react with all the symptoms to a plastic flower.
That is why some experts recommend hypnosis, an allergy therapy supported by scientific studies such as those carried out at the University of Basel (Switzerland) or at the Wythenshawe Hospital, in Manchester (United Kingdom).
Fernando Gil”s option was self-hypnosis. As a psychologist familiar with hypnosis, he believed that it could decrease congestion and help him reduce the doses of the medications he was taking.
And indeed it was effective, “even more than I expected,” says Fernando, who before his self-therapy was forced to use the bronchodilator daily. “Now I go to him once or twice a week at most,” he adds.
From the hand of an expert therapist it is possible to learn a self-hypnosis technique in a two-hour session.
Therapist-led hypnosis is also effective; but Fernando warns that it is necessary to go to a serious professional. “For me it is not if during the trance he says things like: ”You will not feel bad because of the dust”. Your goal should be to promote the patient”s ability to stay relaxed in any situation.”
Allergy symptoms are one of the main reasons that lead patients to see a homeopath for the first time.
In fact, it was the British homeopath CH blackly who first linked the seasonal symptoms of mucus and sneezing with pollen in 1871. Since then, homeopathy has made numerous advances in the treatment of allergies.
Olivia Teixidor was taken by surprise by allergy symptoms. Some years they appeared during the spring and others in the fall or winter. “I did not know what I was allergic to, but I was convinced that the problem was in me, not out there. For three years I have been going to the homeopath and now I know when I react and why. It happens to me when I am uncomfortable and I do not finish taking a decision. The homeopath has indicated me a remedy that I take regularly, and during the crises, which are now more spaced and gentle, I take another “.
The homeopath searches among hundreds of remedies made from organic substances and minerals those whose properties match the characteristics of the patient and the symptoms of the disease.
That is why it is common that in cases of respiratory allergy the medicine Allium cepa is indicated, made with onion, since it causes tearing and liquid mucus.
As the remedies contain practically undetectable doses of the active principle, they do not produce side effects. But they act on the body”s responsiveness and provide it with very precise information.
On the other hand, there is a homeopathic immunotherapy that consists of administering tiny doses of the substance to which one is allergic and that achieves considerable relief after the first week of treatment in 80% of cases, according to an article published in one of the leading international medical journals, The Lancet.
AN EXPENSIVE BUT EFFECTIVE ALLERGY MEDICINE
Grazax tablets, a lyophilized pollen extract that must be taken daily for three years, are proving very effective against grass pollen allergy.
Side effects do not usually go beyond itching in the mouth, ears and throat. In eight years there has been no serious reaction.
The goal is for the immune system not to reject the allergen. It is therefore a curative treatment, not symptomatic like antihistamines or corticosteroids. And an alternative to desensitization injections, which are painful and must be administered for three to five years.
The main drawback of Grazax is its price: although it is included in social security, it costs 42 euros per month.
SMALL KIT OF HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES
In 1871, the homeopath CH blackly was the first physician to link allergic symptoms to the appearance of spring pollen. Since then this medicine has developed numerous allergy remedies.
The optimal homeopathic treatment for allergy can only be indicated by an experienced professional who knows the patient thoroughly and the strength of the most appropriate dose in each phase of the disease.
On the other hand, there are medications that can be part of the home medicine cabinet. But it is preferable to use them knowingly.
- Allium cepa. It is the first option before the typical symptoms of respiratory allergy, such as watery eyes, itchy nose and abundant discharge of fluid and transparent mucus. It can be combined with Euphrasia.
- Apis. When the throat is swollen and there is a feeling of tightness in the chest. Also when you experience hives and swelling of the face (eyelids, eye bags …). You can also feel that the skin is extremely sensitive to contact.
- Arsenicum. The tears almost burn and the symptoms are worse after midnight. The patient tends to feel cold, coughs, fidgets in bed, has breathing difficulties, and is anxious.
- Kalium bichromicum. When mucus is thick and yellow. Discharges are more abundant when exposed to cold or outdoors.
- Natrum muriaticum. Suitable for those who suffer recurring attacks during the spring and for those who show symptoms after suffering emotional stress, especially due to loss?
- Nux vomica. Symptoms are worse indoors than outside the home. At night the nose becomes congested. The patient is sensitive to cold.
- Pulsatilla. Mucus flows during the day and becomes congested at night, especially if it is hot in the bedroom. Unstable and impressionable mood.
- Sulfur. Symptoms are worse when the sun rises. Mucus flows more outside the home than inside.
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