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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Allergy Triggers Can Be Controlled: Dr. Paul Stallone describes where one's allergies may originate and natural methods to avoid symptoms altogether

Jul 01, 2012 08:03AM ● By By Paul Stallone, NMD

As spring turns into summer, ragweed and grass pollen counts increase, and anyone that suffers from allergies knows this time of year can be especially hard. They might often wonder, “Why me?” Surprisingly, we may be able to “blame” a childhood cold for adult allergies, because people generally become allergic to things they’re repeatedly exposed to. Humans have a genetic tendency to become sensitized to normally harmless substances that they constantly come in contact with, and because one cubic meter of spring air can contain thousands of pollen grains, we don’t have to guess how we might have been overexposed.

Research shows allergies may set in when we happened to be exposed to an allergen at the same time that we were fighting off a virus like the common cold. It’s likely that when the body mounted a big immune response to that common cold virus, it also triggered an allergic response to pollen that we were exposed to at the same time. Some studies are looking into children becoming co-infected by viruses and certain pollutants and in turn, developing allergies to that pollutant.

No matter where allergies came from, chances are high that they’re not going anywhere. Some people stock up on over-the-counter (OTC) medications like Benadryl or hide indoors, but neither is a healthy approach to managing allergies. Some may find relief once they know what their specific allergies are. Even though the Phoenix area ranks 72 on the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s 100 most affected cities for allergies, most people can breeze through spring and summer with a little preventive care and find sweet relief with a few natural substances.

Instead of reaching for OTC medicines like antihistamines after developing symptoms like sneezing, watery/itchy eyes, wheezing and body exhaustion, try taking a few natural supplements beforehand and avoid the symptoms altogether. Butterbur has been shown to be an effective replacement for antihistamines, but without the drowsiness. A study published in the British Journal of Medicine states that butterbur was as effective as the drug cetirizine, the active ingredient in Zyrtec. Be sure to take butterbur on errands and to work, because it needs to be taken about four times a day.

Quercetin helps prevent cells from overproducing histamines that lead to the common symptoms of allergies. Quercetin is also a natural antioxidant. Stinging nettle, in freeze-dried form, is another natural alternative to antihistamines. Again, this remedy is most effective when taken throughout the day. Try making a tea or tincture with this herb.

For those people whose schedule constantly changes throughout the day or can’t commit to taking supplements, sublingual immunotherapy may be another option to avoid allergy symptoms. This form of allergy treatment is called desensitization, and follows the same concept as allergy shots, but is much easier. The process involves an antigen serum (an extract of dusts, molds and pollens) introduced to the body slowly, using natural drops placed under the tongue daily.

The amount of this antigen is increased over time until the body gets used to it and ignores the pollutants causing symptoms. The body will soon learn to tolerate these chemicals and not overreact to them. These drops do not require refrigeration and are very travel-friendly. The therapy is safe for even infants and the elderly, and will not react with other medications. Many patients suffering from asthma notice a significant improvement with their symptoms with sublingual immunotherapy.

Ensure taking herbs and supplements the proper way by having a knowledgeable physician monitor the treatment plan. Even allergies that have been present since childhood can be reduced using natural alternatives that work to prevent symptoms and provide lasting relief.

Paul Stallone, NMD, founded the Arizona Integrative Medical Center, located at 8144 E. Cactus Rd., Ste. 820, in Scottsdale. He combines natural/alternative/conventional treatments to best fit and benefit each individual patient’s needs. For more information call 480-214-3922 or visit DrStallone.com.

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