Spring time allergy season is right around the corner. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. In their 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) the CDC estimates that 8.4% of U.S. children under the age of 18 suffered from hay fever.
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to substances that generally do not affect other individuals. Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis occur in spring, summer and/or early fall. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds, or to airborne mold spores. While allergy medications can alleviate your symptoms, their side effects can leave some people feeling drowsy, dizzy or nauseous, thereby compounding rather than eliminating the problem.
Acupuncture as an alternative to medication is a great way to avoid these negative side effects. Treatment can reduce inflammation in the sinus, alleviate congestion, postnasal drip, and ear aches, as well as reduce itchy, watery eyes.
Chinese herbal formulas can be used in conjunction with acupuncture treatment to relieve allergy symptoms. Where over-the-counter medications attempt to treat a variety of symptoms simultaneously, these traditional herbal remedies can target the specific symptoms exhibited by an individual allergy sufferer. Chinese herbs are very safe and easy to take. The capsules are often the size of a small vitamin and are taken two to three times a day. Chinese herbs can only be prescribed by a licensed acupuncturist with training in Chinese herbal formulas.
Often overlooked, dietary restrictions can be very helpful in reducing or eliminating seasonal allergy symptoms. Removing dairy, sugar and white flour from the diet can decrease the amount of inflammation and congestion in the body. Many people struggle to eliminate inflammatory foods from their diet but the rewards are great if you can make these changes. In addition to relieving the allergy symptoms removing these foods can also help reduce joint pain.
Finally, make sure you drink ample amounts of water each day, exercise, eat healthy and get a good night’s sleep so that your immune system is in peak condition during allergy season and beyond.