Spring is in the air. Flowers are budding. Leaves are growing. And the days are getting longer. That’s terrific, right?
Unfortunately for many of us, when we hear “Spring is in the air,” our minds focus on months of runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing. We’re more likely to grab a handful of tissues than stop and smell the flowers.
Hay fever erupts this time of year. Millions of us suffer from this condition (research suggestions some 20% of the population), which causes the body to become hypersensitive to pollen and other environmental substances. This condition causes a number of irritating symptoms that can make life miserable.
Hay fever is one of many allergies. An allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction: when you react to a substance that is considered to be harmless to most other people. Skin reactions, breathing difficulty and irritations to the sinuses are some of the most frequent allergy symptoms. If you have a food allergy, then problems like bloating, indigestion and diarrhoea may result.
What Causes Allergic Reactions?
Your immune system recognises and removes harmful substances from your body. Inflammation, sneezing, coughing and vomiting are methods the immune system uses to expel any dangerous substance ingested by you.
However, an allergic response is when your immune system activates against a substance that is usually considered harmless. Essentially, the allergic reaction is caused not by the substance itself but by your body’s interpretation the substance is potentially harmful.
What Happens Inside the Body?
When an allergic reaction starts, the body activates special immune cells called mast cells. On the surface of their membranes, these mast cells possess receptors that recognise substances considered either harmful or helpful to the body. When harmful substances are detected, the cells release histamines. These chemicals sensitise the body to react, which then attempts to remove harmful substances by sneezing, coughing, etc.
Why Do People Get Allergies?
No one knows for sure why people become allergic to relatively harmless substances.
One theory about allergies suggests that your body is hypersensitive if you’re a hypersensitive person. For example, if you have a high sensitivity to stress, your body also reflects this sensitivity. Since the body and the mind are connected entities, this theory makes sense. Stress reduction techniques designed to improve mind-body interactions are often successful in reducing this problem. The end result is a lessening of allergic symptoms in some patients.
Another theory is that an allergic reaction is an interpretation of your environment. In order to interpret, your body must first get information. The nervous system is part of this information-gathering function of the body. If your nervous system is dysfunctional, then the information interpreted will be altered, and this makes you vulnerable to abnormal reactions like allergies.
Can Chiropractic Help With Allergies?
Chiropractic care releases stress on the body’s nervous system and allows the immune system to function more effectively. Since the beneficial effects of chiropractic adjustments on the nervous system are well documented, it’s not surprising many chiropractic patients report a reduction of allergy symptoms when treated regularly for vertebral subluxations. Misalignment or dysfunctional movements of vertebra can cause a focal irritation in the spine, which then creates an abnormal signal received by the central nervous system. When this aberrant signal occurs along the same pathway required for the input of normal environmental messages, the body may not interrupt the information correctly. When this occurs, an allergic reaction can result.
Although scientific research shows chiropractic adjustments do not cause an improvement in all allergy cases, they’re definitely beneficial for some. The reason for the inconsistency may be because there are a number of different causes for a patient’s hypersensitivity. Vertebral subluxation is only one of many potential causes.
If you suffer allergies, consider chiropractic as one of your potential powerful options.
If you’re in need of some alternative natural remedies there are a number of other options.
Treatment with herbs
Homemade remedies consisting of herbal recipes are often highly effective at providing allergy relief for hay fever sufferers.
Chamomile tea is reputed to relieve hay fever symptoms. Some herbalists suggest smearing chamomile and lemon oil on a tissue and inhaling to prevent hay fever symptoms.
Ginger tea and raw honey works to break up chest congestion and loosen phlegm. It strengthens the immune system and acts as a natural antihistamine.
Green tea blocks the production of histamine and is one of the best homemade remedies for building the immune system.
Peppermint tea relieves nasal and sinus congestion. Drink it cold to sooth coughing associated with hay fever and allergies.
Butterbur reduces inflammation, blocking histamines and leukotrienes. Studies suggest the herb is effective for relieving sneezing, itchy eyes, sinus congestion and headaches. People allergic to ragweed or chrysanthemum should avoid butterbur.
Old time, folk remedies are tried and true, providing relief from sneezing, congestion and itching from hay fever.
Steaming produces excellent results to break up congestion. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and carefully inhale the steam. Avoid eucalyptus if you are taking homeopathic remedies as it voids their action.
Grapefruit and lemon boiled in one cup of water for 15 minutes makes an excellent home remedy for hay fever. Use only the fruit, not the rind. Cool and mix with raw honey to relieve symptoms.
Calendula liquid diluted in water makes an excellent eye wash to soothe itchy eyes. Use non-alcoholic calendula. Add a dropper full of colloidal silver to enhance the anti-microbial action and reduce inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids may act to lower the amounts of inflammatory chemicals produced by the body after exposure to an allergen. Although additional research is needed, it appears that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may help decrease the incidence of hay fever