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Allergies, still!?

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Allergy season is lingering this year!  If you are still suffering try these suggestions:

  1. Keep your neck covered - As far as I'm concerned, you should have scarves for 3 seasons.  Light ones to wear in Spring and Fall and heavy ones for the winter.  Why?  In Chinese medicine, wind can invade your system through your neck and this can lead to colds, flus and allergy symptoms.  By keeping your neck covered, you can stay protected from the wind no matter what you are wearing. This is great at this time of year when the temperature isn't stable and the winds are strongest.  By wearing a scarf, you can wear short sleeves or a dress, and you won't be exposing your neck to the elements.
  2. Sinus Massage - press around your eyes and just lateral to your nose to help to stimulate blood flow and flush out allergens.
  3. Eliminate inflammatory foods - Certain foods trigger inflammation, which will make allergy symptoms worse.  These foods include processed dairy, trans-fats, polyunsaturated vegetable oils (corn/sunflower), refined grains, sugar, artificial colors/flavors/additives. These foods will only make the histamine reaction (runny nose, sneezing, itching eyes) you have from seasonal allergies worse.  Try to limit or eliminate these foods, especially this time of year.
  4. Reduce foods with capsaicin - Capsaicin is the active ingredient in hot peppers that make them spicy.  It can actually cause more swelling, heat and irritation if you are suffering from an allergy attack so avoid them at that time.
  5. Eat foods rich in quercetin - quercetin is a flavanoid that gives many vegetables and fruits their color.  It prevents the release of histamines and has anti-inflammatory qualities.  It's found in the skin of apples, and even more concentrated naturally in kale, sweet potatoes, watercress and red onion. Increase these foods in your diet during allergy season to help combat symptoms.
  6. Use a neti pot - You can't prevent some pollen getting up your nose this Spring so the best thing to do is to rinse your sinuses out with slightly salted water using a neti-pot.  Here's a link on how to use one
  7. Take herbs and supplements - Chinese herbs are a gentle and effective way to benefit your immune system before and during allergy season.  There are a number of formulas available depending on your specific symptoms so it's best to see a certified chinese herbalist to get the best formula.  Antioxident supplements are also excellent for reducing inflammation and helping your immune system combat allergens.  OPC3 is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory product that helps your sinuses feel less irritated and it also supports your immune system and much more.