The changing of the seasons can also bring changes to your body’s primary defense – the immune system. A huge influx of pollen and other environmental irritants can result in sneezing, itchy eyes and throat, and sinus infections. While these symptoms are certainly uncomfortable, functional medicine may help you finally find relief from severe allergies. By focusing on determining your triggers, and boosting immune system health, you can help your whole body work together to fight off allergies.
Know your triggers
Did you know between 10 and 30% of people suffer from seasonal allergies? If you find yourself in that percentage, Dr. Carmen Keith, our newest physician, gives some great information on common triggers for seasonal allergies.
Dr. Keith emphasizes that in order to better defend against your allergies, you must first pinpoint your triggers. These triggers aggravate the body, and your immune system goes to work to fight the intrusion, thus producing common symptoms of seasonal allergies. Once you have a keen awareness of your body’s specific triggers, you will be able to better avoid contact, and treat exposure once the irritants enter your body.
Of course, the majority of sources of seasonal allergies are based on environmental factors. The most common include mold spores, pollen from plants and flowers, and fine-grained grass pollen. Mold spores thrive in the soil, especially under hot and humid conditions. In addition to the heat and humidity, high winds can amplify pollen spreading from plants and grasses.
Dr. Keith suggests a few ways you can proactively prevent exposure to these allergens:
- Spring cleaning – vacuum and dust your house and spray with non-toxic cleaners
- Stay indoors – check the local weather station’s allergy reports as well as wind speeds and avoid going outside if possible those days
- Beware of furry friends – brush and bathe any pets that may absorb outdoor pollen in their coats
- Sanitize your hands – avoid touching your eyes and face
- Invest in an air purifier
- Restful sleep – fatigue can be a common symptom of seasonal allergies
Immune system health
In addition to pinpointing Spring allergy triggers, it’s important to build your immune system. We recently sat down with Dr. Todd Funkhouser, one of our consulting physicians, for more information about how our immune system determines our allergies.
He explained that the immune system connects all other systems in the body, and is in constant communication with the whole body. The immune system makes decisions about how the foods we eat and even the particles we breathe affect us.
When we breathe in irritants such as pollen, dust, mold, and other allergens, our immune system notifies the rest of the body if we should be hypersensitive or immune to those things. Since what we breathe or take in to our body affects our immune system’s perception, it is important to regulate what we take in.
Dr. Funkhouser advises if you are always feeling sick or tired, the source may be from an allergy. In fact, he informs us that a breakdown in the immune system can lead to hay fever symptoms, as well as frequent illnesses like colds or the flu. By getting to the root of the problem, allergists are even able to help with migraines, sinus infections, asthma, sleep apnea, and acid reflux!
Looking to boost your immune system health?
At Integrative Health Matters, we offer a variety of services that may help you find relief from allergies and boost your immune system.
- It is always a great idea to check your diet, as seasonal allergies and food allergies can have similar symptoms. Consider filling your plate with foods that are packed with phytonutrients to help boost immune system health.
- In addition to an initial wellness assessment, we also offer tests that will check the status of your immune system.
- If your body has trouble taking in the nutrients it needs to build your immune system, your IHM provider may suggest IV Nutrient therapy treatment.
- If you are looking to finally feel better from your allergies, consider scheduling a free 15-minute consultation with us today!