Spring is finally here, a favourite season for many yet so challenging and at times, unbearable for others. It is a time when environmental allergens are high bringing about a myriad of symptoms such as sneezing; runny nose; itchy, watery eyes; cough; nasal congestion; itchy skin and mucous membranes and excess mucous build up. These symptoms can wreak havoc on the quality of life of an individual.
An allergy occurs due to an overreaction of the immune system to an environmental trigger, an allergen, such as pollen; dust; mould; animal dander etc. This allergen enters the system, provoking a release of histamine from the mast cells.
Although the complexity of the immune system and how it reacts is pretty hard to change, there are certain lifestyle and nutritional practices that can be put into place to help to minimise the exposure and severity of the reaction to allergens.
There is good reason that it is coined ‘spring cleaning’ as it is the perfect time to ensure your home is cleared of the dust and mould spores that accumulate over the cold, winter months. You can start by making sure that carpet and floors are thoroughly vacuumed and cleaned. Although most of us keep on top of daily or weekly cleaning, it is less common to clean underneath and behind household furniture on a regular basis. Therefore, moving furniture around to clean underneath is important as it is often where hidden dust and allergens can hide causing many allergy reactions. Strip all bedding and furnishings and wash in hot water to kill of dust mites, and Spring is the perfect time to replace pillows with plump, fresh, dust mite free versions. Remember to also wash make up brushes to remove any grime and residue that can cause potential problems.
Although Spring is often met with sunny days and cool breezes and the temptation to open blinds and windows to let fresh air in, think twice. This allows pollens, dust spores and other allergens to enter the home, again causing allergy symptoms. Trees release their pollens in the morning so be sure to check out the daily pollen count to help you to manage your exposure more effectively.
Pets and their animal dander can also wreak havoc; however, Spring brings about more allergens than usual that can land themselves on your four-legged friend’s fur. Make sure to regularly wash and brush your furry friend to keep allergens to a minimum and when you give them a cuddle make sure to wash your hands.
Aside from implementing these simple strategies to help to reduce the likelihood or severity of seasonal allergies, using a saline rinse can be effective at flushing allergens out of the nasal passage and rinsing your face regularly is beneficial to clear allergens from your eyes.
Lastly, why don’t you consider taking some Vitamin C? Vitamin C is shown to be an effective antihistamine amongst providing a myriad of other health benefits such as antioxidant, antiviral and immune boosting properties.