Seasonal Allergies – The AhChoo Factor

Watery eyes? Sneezing? Stuffy nose? Sound familiar? If you find yourself with any of these symptoms, you’re probably aware that you have allergies. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, more than 20% of the U.S. population – adults and children – have an allergic condition, making allergies the sixth-leading cause of chronic disease. Of those, more than 15 million have asthma and 40 million experience chronic allergic rhinitis or its seasonal counterpart, hay fever, each year.

Conventional medicine currently offers treatment options that provide temporary relief of allergy symptoms. Alternative medical practitioners, however, have found that by correcting the underlying causes of allergies, most allergy symptoms can be eliminated for good. Modifying your diet and restoring your normal immune-defense functions may help you breathe, eat, and live allergy-free again.

An allergen (a substance provoking an allergy symptom) is a protein that the body determines to be foreign and unsafe. The adverse reaction that follows is called “an allergic reaction”. Common symptoms include breathing congestion, sneezing, coughing, itching, swelling, hives and bloodshot or scratchy eyes. Allergies fall into two basic categories, those caused by environmental factors and those caused by food. Let’s take a look at both.

The most common cause of allergies caused by outdoor environmental factors are the pollen of various plants such as trees, weeds and grass. We as a society spend up to 90% of our time indoors and because of this trend; indoor irritants are triggering more cases of allergic hay fever than outdoor sources. The most common include house dust mites, molds and tobacco smoke. Less common, but equally serious, are products such as cosmetics, perfumes, household cleaning agents and even the fabrics in our clothes. There are numerous synthetic chemicals in personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies and building supplies that contain additional irritants which could cause allergic reactions. Chemical sensitivity is a modern phenomenon, partially due to pesticides found in food and heavy metals in water.

Interestingly enough, most adverse reactions to foods are sensitivities, not true allergies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture report that 15% of the total population suffers from reactions to food. Of that number, 1.5% experience true, antibody-medicated allergies: the remaining 13.5% suffer from food sensitivities. The foods most commonly found to cause allergies include wheat, corn, milk, tomatoes, soy, shellfish, peanuts, chocolate (sorry ladies), egg whites and other dairy products as well as food dyes and additives.

According to a study conducted by the New England Foundation for Allergies and Environmental Disease, diets of most allergy patients, which consist of 30 foods or less, are eaten repeatedly. For example, if someone eats wheat bread everyday, they could easily develop a wheat allergy due to the immune systems continuous exposure to it. Now there’s some food for thought!

Here are some allergy prevention strategies:

• Adopt a diet that includes a wide variety of nonallergenic fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts and low-fat, nondairy products.
• Stay well hydrated by drinking at least eight to twelve 8oz glasses of pure water daily
• Rotate your food by not eating any one food more often than every four days
• Keep windows closed, especially during allergy season
• Avoid tobacco smoke
• Achieve ideal relative humidity in the home
• Avoid or limit wheat, dairy products, and alcohol.
• Take a good, all round antioxidant supplement containing vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc plus the amino acids cysteine or glutathione, which help to increase your resistance.
• Use cleaning products that list their natural ingredients on the label and purchase cleaners containing non-petroleum-based surfactants.

These are some of the things you can do naturally to improve your health and your life. Although having allergies is certainly uncomfortable, it doesn’t have to be miserable.

Shayn Cutino is a Holistic Health Practitioner and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. For more information, go to

Author's Bio: 

Shayn is a member of the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists, the International Hypnosis Federation. She is also
Board Certified with the AADP (American Association of Drugless Practitioners). Locally she belongs to the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce, the Oakley Chamber of Commerce and Toastmasters. Shayn is also certified in Reiki and the
Raindrop Technique.