While spring can be a beautiful time of year filled with burgeoning buds and gorgeous growth, it can also be a frustrating one brimming with itching, irritation, and a constant, “Achoo!”
As we approach this known-allergy season, Dr. Graves is answering common questions on everything from allergy tests to over-the-counter medications so you can stop dreading the blooming effects of nature and start delighting in them instead.
What is an allergy?
Dr. Graves: Allergies happen when the immune system has an over-reactive response to a substance. Theories vary of why this happens, although prominent ones include an imbalance of the gut microbiome (possibly due to overuse of antibiotics) as well as lack of exposure to parasites, bacteria, microbia, etc. (through dirt, plants, and animals) that the body hasn’t adapted to.
In response to the immune reaction, histamines are released and cause reactions such as itching, sinus congestion, hives, sneezing, headaches, swelling, and wheezing.
There are environmental allergies – such as pollen, dust, trees, and grasses as well as food allergies – like eggs, nuts, and shellfish.
Spring is a common time of year for environmental allergy flare-ups.
What causes allergy flare ups?
Dr. Graves: Finding the root cause of an allergy flare-up is important when deciding on how to treat it effectively. Often, I see that improper diet, lack of movement, imbalanced microbiome, and/or toxic overload on the liver can contribute to the body’s reaction.
Are allergy tests worth it?
Dr. Graves: They certainly can be based on severity. If environmental allergies aren’t controlled by over-the-counter medications, it can be time to get tested.
Results from tests can then be used to create customized treatment options such as homeopathic allergy drops or shots.
Can acupuncture treat allergies?
Dr. Graves: Yes. And the sooner acupuncture is used (ideally, before allergy season is in full bloom), the better.
Acupuncture helps boost the immune system and prepares the body for calmer reactions to histamines. It decreases inflammation and activates the parasympathetic nervous system which encourages better detox of allergies.
Typically, a few weekly appointments can serve clients well before the season begins.
What can people do at home to help with allergies?
Dr. Graves: Start by reducing allergy overload in your home. Regularly clean, dust, and vacuum in addition to using clean air filters or air purifiers.
Do you have an at-home remedy that can be used?
Dr. Graves: For an immediate at-home remedy, I recommend placing a few drops of Breathe Easy Nasosympatico Sinus Oil in a saline spray bottle and using morning and night as well as Ortho Molecular Natural D-Hist daily for a few weeks to reduce symptoms.
And, tea such as Breathe Easy® by Traditional Medicinals® with eucalyptus and mint can be consumed as well.
Are over-the-counter medications okay to take long-term?
Dr. Graves: For mild, seasonal allergies in which medication can be tolerated, over-the-counters are typically fine in helping with symptom management.
Have additional questions regarding allergies? Contact us!
For those in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, and the greater Denver metro area, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves to ask away!