springblossomsThis Mother’s Day weekend, the weather where I live is sunny and warm, but not hot with gorgeous flowers for a bouquet for mom everywhere. It is the perfect time to review some seasonal allergy prevention and treatment suggestions for those of you (or your moms) that tend to start and sniffling when the flowers start blooming.

For people with seasonal , also known as , this time of year can be miserable. Symptoms of pollen allergy include , and throat, , , and throat and sneezing.

Allergies are a common reason for people to seek naturopathic medical care. Naturopathic physicians are state licensed, primary health care providers that can order lab tests and provide an individualized treatment approach that is the least invasive and most natural. Naturopathic therapies for allergies really work and have the benefit of and medication interactions than over the counter allergy medications.

I always recommend starting with the basics. First, avoid pollen exposure by showering before bed, changing pillow cases often, changing clothes after being outside, vacuuming often and using an in the bedroom for severe cases. Dietary changes that help include avoiding any food sensitivities you know you have, diary, sugar, fruit juices and alcohol. These can all thicken mucus and be inflammatory. rich in omega-3 fats such as wild salmon, sardines, walnuts, flax and chia seeds are excellent choices.

, a from citrus, onions, and squash skins, is an effective natural anti-histamine. is an enzyme-based anti-inflammatory form the pineapple plant that helps keep mucus membranes from over-reacting to irritants. and hesperidin methyl chalcone are also useful supplements for treating allergic symptoms.

Herbs for allergies include , , and . Anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric and boswellia are great additions to an allergy formula.

Homeopathics for allergies such as Allium cepa (onion), Sabadilla, Natrum muriaticum or a combination remedy like Boiron’s “Sabadil” also work well. A constitutional homeopathic remedy, which requires an extensive interview to find a remedy that matches all your symptoms, is another useful allergy-clearing approach. I use both acute and constitutional homeopathic remedies with almost all of my patients and find them to be quite effective and inexpensive.

Local , 1/4 tsp twice daily from March through June helps some folks, but should be used with caution in highly sensitive individuals. Nasal lavage, rinsing the nose out with salt water, is another excellent allergy survival strategy.

Of course a healthy balanced diet full of fresh vegetables and fruit is crucial in preventing allergic reactivity. Avoiding exposure to toxic substances and fine particles like smoke and dust can help reduce allergic burden also. Doing a spring cleanse or simply avoiding alcohol, hydrogenated fats and high fructose corn syrup supports your liver in its detoxification work and can dramatically reduce allergic symptoms. Eating enough fiber and drinking enough water, along with regular exercise, ensures regular bowel cleansing. This in turn keeps the gut healthy and allergic reactions in check.

I have recommended all of the above advice to many a patient individually or in combination and have had great success in helping many ease their symptoms and be able to enjoy the outdoors again. There are many other effective treatments out there, so don’t give up if you try something that doesn’t work at first.

So, if you have allergies, you don’t need to suffer every spring. Try some of the above suggestions first. If your symptoms persist, I invite you to make an appointment with your local naturopathic expert to explore your options.

For my next post, I am researching Cryptococcus gaddii, a potentially deadly fungus that used to be mostly in the tropics and is now spreading to humans and pets through the Pacific Northwest. This is getting a fair bit of hype (H1N1 is “out” and Crytococcus in “in”) and I hope to allay fears and educate people about natural medicine and ecological strategies to combat its spread.

In health.

Margaret Philhower, ND