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Ahh… Springtime! Such Sweet Misery!

By Marcel J. Hernandez, N.D.

Spring Allergies - Ragweed“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.”  ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke

Indeed. Much of the “shrieking” of springtime is done by the stunning variety and number of pollens flying through our blue Hawaiian skies. And with the pollens comes a symphony of coughs, sniffles, gasps, discharges, throat-clearings, gurgles and whining. A not so silent misery.

What is one to do? We can’t just lock ourselves in a room during pollen season with a HEPA air filter keeping the air clean! It’s absolutely gorgeous outside! There are seeds to be planted, mowing to do and picnics under palm trees to attend to!

Fear not! Natural therapies can not only help alleviate your symptoms, they can help reduce your body’s hypersensitive reaction to allergic insults. Natural approaches also eliminate the threat of toxic chemical exposure posed by modern pharmaceuticals.

Here are a few tips to lessen the impact of pollens on your body:

1) Stay well hydrated to keep your protective mucus membranes moist. Coffee, soda and sugar-laden beverages or beverages with artificial sweeteners do not count. Water does!

2) Get plenty of rest. Sleeping in a room with a HEPA air filter going helps reduce your exposure to allergens.

3) Clean your house. Dust, vacuum, remove carpets, eliminate mold.

4) Avoid known food allergens to further reduce the overall allergenic load. If you don’t know what you are allergic to, know that the most common food allergens are cow’s milk products, wheat, corn, soy, eggs, shellfish, chocolate, caffeinated beverages and foods containing artificial preservatives, colorings and flavorings.

5) Reduce reactivity by eating only organic foods.

6) Throw sugar and simple carbohydrates out of your diet. These foods acidify your body and increase reactivity.

7) Do a spring cleanse. There are simple and comprehensive approaches to cleansing toxic accumulation from your tissues. For most people, allergic symptoms diminish or disappear during a cleanse. Consult with your health provider for advice on what is best for you.

8) There are numerous herbal and nutrient strategies for clearing nasal passages, draining sinuses, reducing throat tickles and coughs, stopping the involuntary flow of tears, clearing the ears, enhancing mucus membrane integrity, slowing the release of histamine, reducing inflammation and restoring immune system balance. Again, you might consider involving your primary care provider in developing a specialized approach to your specific needs.

OK. Once you get your symptoms under control, seriously heed the advice of one of America’s foremost sages:

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"  ~Robin Williams

Please note that the suggestions mentioned above do not substitute for evaluation by a licensed medical practitioner. The symptoms of other more severe respiratory and systemic illnesses can be mistaken for allergic reactions.

Dr. Hernandez is happy to address your questions in his column. He may be contacted at hawaiiND@BigIsland.net.

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Drs. Connie and Marcel Hernandez - Pacific Naturopathic Retreat Center
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