How Your Body Fights Allergens, and How You Can Help
Springtime is upon us. For most people it means warmer weather, green grass, and going outside more. For allergy sufferers, though, it can be a miserable time. Allergy problems are a common chronic health condition throughout world. Often times, they are a hereditary condition. A few of the most common allergic diseases are eczema, hay fever, asthma, hives, and food allergy. Symptoms can range from almost unnoticeable to very serious, life-threatening allergic reactions like anaphylaxis.
- How does your Body fight Allergens?
An allergic reaction begins in the body’s immune system. When an allergic person is introduced to substances like mold, dust, or pollen, their immune system often overreacts, producing many antibodies to “attack” the allergen. This can lead to issues like runny nose, wheezing, itching, watery or itchy eyes, and other symptoms.
- How can you help your Immune System deal with Allergens?
While there are a host of over-the-counter medicines that treat allergy symptoms, some lifestyle and environmental changes will help your body deal with the causes of your allergies, instead of just covering up the symptoms. Here are some tips to regain control of your immune system and your life.
Currently, immunotherapy is the only viable way to substantively change your immune system’s response to allergens such as ragweed and pollen. Immunotherapy patients receive injections containing their problem allergens. Over time, the amounts are increases. This helps to desensitize the immune system over the course of treatment. Immunotherapy is typically the best treatment for patients who don’t benefit from medication, or whose allergy symptoms occur year-round.
There are many herbal remedies and natural remedies that can help boost your immune system and help fight allergies and keep you healthy.
- Yoga & Meditation
Yes, you read that correctly: meditation. Recent research has shown that stress can exacerbate allergy problems, because cortisol (known as the “stress hormone”) upsets the substances that regulate your body’s immune response. Studies have shown that yoga and meditation reduces stress levels and can even reduce pain and anxiety. Be sure to do it in a clean area–if it has been awhile since you’ve cleaned your home with a carpet cleaner, consider renting one and shampooing your home.
- Clean your Home
While a light amount of exposure to allergens can help your immune system build a resistance, mold and dust aren’t healthy for anyone to breathe in regularly. This is especially true for parents of young children, or parents who are considering newborn adoption.
Here’s an easy checklist for cleaning your home to cut potential allergens!
-Vacuum at least once a week–
-Wear a mask when cleaning your home
-Clean your bathroom frequently to avoid mildew and mold
-Wash your sheets weekly (always use the hot setting on your washer)
-Avoid scented cleaners and detergents, vinegar is a healthy, natural alternative or cleaning with herbs
– For the safest non-toxic cleaners –Check out 9 Basic ingredients to clean your home naturally
–Don’t air-dry laundry, this allows clothes to pick up allergens
-Use damp cloths and mops, as opposed to dry-dusting, which usually kicks dust right back into the air
- Exercise and Diet
Although jogging and eating your broccoli isn’t going to cure your allergies, maintaining a healthy lifestyle does minimize allergy symptoms. If you’re in good shape, you can withstand allergens better than an unhealthy person. If you are particularly sensitive to outdoor allergens such as pollen and ragweed, you may prefer to exercise indoors at a gym.
- Moving Past Allergies
Hopefully these tips help you gain some control over your allergy symptoms. None of them are too difficult to do, they just require a little extra thought and effort. Remember, however, that allergies can cause serious health risks. If you are experiencing worsening symptoms, or feel dizzy, overheated, or short of breath, contact your health care provider immediately.