Ragweed Allergy Season is Approaching

For many people, August brings with it the their recurring allergic reactions to  Ragweed pollen which is released by the Ragweed Plant which is a flowering plant from the sunflower family.

Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing

Our immune system is there to recognize any form of bacteria or virus that is potentially harmful to the body and then eradicate them. This in simple terms prevents us from becoming ill.  We produce saliva and mucous and sneeze to remove this potentially harmful items from our bodies.  People who suffer from allergies have a somewhat unbalanced immune system which can react in a defective way to inhaling the pollen.  The result…the out of control symptoms, the itchy eyes, scratchy throat and more.

In addition to the typical Ragweed allergy symptoms, there is also an association with what is called oral allergy syndrome and this is a situation where people may experience itchiness, tingling/swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat from eating certain foods. The foods that challenge those with a Ragweed Allergy are:

* Banana
* Cucumber
* Melon
* Zucchini
* Sunflower seeds
* Chamomile tea
* Echinacea

We have some recommendations with respect to food sensitivities and allergy season:

First remove the foods listed above for the duration of time that your immune system is fighting to remove the ragweed pollen.

Second, we recommend food allergy testing so that you can identify common foods that may be aggravating your immune system, weakening it.  When you remove trigger foods from your diet especially during peak pollen times, you can improve overall health and minimize the symptoms.

What else can you do?

It is very important to minimize your exposure to other known allergens during ragweed season because allergy symptoms appear whenever your immune system’s total allergen load reaches its maximum level. Avoid any irritating chemicals or odours by choosing natural cleaning products for your home and body.

Use window filters to keep the tiny pollen grains outside. Use air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers to cool, dry out, and clean the air.

Stay indoors when pollen counts are high. Peak pollen counts are normally between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Keep your car windows closed when driving. When you have to go outside, take a shower as soon as you get back inside because pollen sticks to your hair and skin.

Nutrition

Drink 1/2 of body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., a 150 lb person would drink 75 oz of water). It’s not that much! 8oz is one measuring cup and most glasses in your kitchen will be closer to 16oz.

Include a lot of the following foods in the diet:

  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Deep yellow and orange vegetables
  • Nettles, bamboo shoots, cabbage, beet tops, beets, carrots, yams
  • Onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne, horseradish

Prevention

If you are able to, do make an appointment with your ND before your symptoms arrive.  It is a benefit to work on your immune system in advance. If your symptoms are present already, don’t worry there is still a lot that naturopathic medicine can do to help eliminate them and keep them away from you for the next challenging season.

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