It is the time of year in which some of us start sneezing, have itchy red eyes and can feel like the outdoors is attacking us. While most of us will grab an anti-histamine, there are natural ways to combat seasonal allergies.
To start, one of the most effective is subcutaneous or sublingual immunotherapy. This is a solution that is prescribed after you receive a skin prick allergy test to determine which of the seasonal culprits you are allergic to. It can be done by injection (subcutaneous), but it can also be made into drops (sublingual) that are as effective. Both are meant to desensitize yourself to your allergens. It is like instead of having someone just start yelling at you and you try to get them to stop, you slowly turn up the volume and so your body is used to the noise and doesn’t react as much.
Other natural ways to treat seasonal allergies are by using natural anti-histamines. The most common are quercetin, naturally found in onions and apples, and vitamin C. Both can be found at the health food store in an oral supplement, but vitamin C can also be given by IV to saturate your cells and support the immune system.
Another common way we treat seasonal allergies in naturopathic medicine is by reducing the overall allergen load by reducing environmental and food allergies/sensitivities. We think of allergies and sensitivities as a bucket and you can only put so much in the bucket before it over fills, which is the immune systems allergy response. So if we can put less in the bucket your immune system will react less and have more room in the bucket for the allergens you cannot control like pollens, grasses and environmental allergies. To test for food allergies and sensitivities, I use skin scratch testing, blood allergy panels and electrodermal screening.
Lastly, if you can only do one thing to try fight your seasonal allergies, try local honey. Local honey contains small doses of allergens from local flowers that can slowly desensitize you to seasonal allergens in the area, kind of like a less specific form of sublingual immunotherapy. I always encourage people to reach out to local honey producers if they have seasonal allergies and start sampling some of the local honey to see if it will help their allergies.