We recently read in an Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America report that Tucson is the worst place in the West for allergies. Long-suffering Central Texans may disagree! Moreover, while mountain cedar may be the allergen that we lament the most, we have more than enough pollen to go around, for all twelve months of the year.
Allergies aren’t just a nuisance, they can lead to much more serious conditions. In fact, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.!*
Austin’s Four Seasons of Pollen
According to the Austin Regional Clinic’s allergy calendar, the summer months may have you sneezing to grass, mold, and in late summer, early fall we can anticipate the coming of Fall Elm, Marsh Elder, and Ragweed. Fall is all about trees and mold. We all know what’s around the corner in the Hill Country winter, mountain cedar.
What is an allergy sufferer to do? Here are some tips that will help you cope with your allergies, whatever the season.
Build Up Your Resistance
Many people swear by a spoonful a day of locally sourced honey all year round. The thinking behind this natural defense is that by ingesting trace amounts of your local allergens courtesy of your local pollinators, then you will build up your immunity to said allergens, much like the allergy shot you get from your doctor. The problem for many Central Texans is that common allergenic trees – cedar, elm, oak – are not pollinated by bees. For the most part, trees are pollinated by the wind (clouds of blowing pollen, anyone?), so honey is not going to include tree pollen. To build up your tree resistance, try one of the many homeopathic drops available.
Shower Before Bed
When it’s your season of misery, take a shower before bed to remove the pollen from your skin and hair. This lessens the transfer of the pollen to your bed sheets and reduces the amount you ingest overnight.
Know the Forecast and Be Prepared
It’s not realistic to stay inside for months at a time, but it is possible to pay attention to when your specific allergens are through the roof and plan accordingly. If you need to go out, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and if you are doing a little gardening, try wearing a face mask.
Start Taking Allergy Medicine Before you are Symptomatic
For many Central Texans, there isn’t a substitute for good old antihistamines. Did you know that there’s an art to taking allergy medication to get the biggest bang for your buck? It sometimes takes a week or so for the medicine to work its way into your system. To get the most benefit from your antihistamine, educate yourself on the worst times for your particular allergen and start taking your medicine a week or so before your symptoms rear their ugly heads.
Do a Gut Check
There is so much material out there on the how your gut affects your overall health, so it’s no surprise that probiotics come up in a discussion of seasonal allergies. While they won’t cure you of your allergies, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that taking probiotics can help relieve, or lessen your symptoms.
Want more info? Here’s a great article on combating your allergy symptoms naturally.
Wonder why some people are more predisposed to certain allergies? We enjoyed reading this interesting theory about your birth season and its stamp on your DNA. Read it here.
Interested in participating in an upcoming allergy clinical study? Check out our currently enrolling studies.
* Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America