Dr. Melissa Dybala
Four Culprits That Can Trigger Your Allergies
Do you suffer from chronic runny nose, dry cough, itchy/ watery eyes, sneezing, and/or congestion and sinus pain? Is it seasonal or all year round? Do you blame the dog, mold, all those darn trees? Why is our immune system so angry at everything?
Americans spend billions of dollars a year on medications and therapies trying to get a handle on their allergies and tolerate the world around them. But what if we could prevent the reaction from happening, without living in a bubble?
Before running out to buy your next box of tissues, read this checklist:
1.) What is the air quality around you? When is the last time you changed your air filter on your furnace or air conditioner at home? (Why not make a trip to the hardware store now?) Not all air filters are created alike. Basic filters may take care of things like pollen, dust, pet dander, and dust mites. If you can, opt for a more premium grade filter that can also address things like bacteria, viruses, mold, and smog in the air. The more protection the better, especially in colder months when we keep the windows closed. Can’t change the filter or want more protection in a room you spend a lot of time in? Consider an air purifier. These range in price from under $100 to hundreds of dollars depending on how many square feet of area you want to use it for and how many particles you want to capture.
2.) Is your diet making your allergies worse? Consuming a lot of dairy, which can add to mucus production and congestion, or eating foods that contain sugar, high levels of carbohydrates, or fried foods, can all lead to inflammation. Inflammation creates a cascade of consequences, including a higher allergenic response to your surroundings. Eating clean, anti-inflammatory foods is the best way to stop this cascade, especially during your worst times and seasons.
3.) How is your stress level? Are you burning the candle at both ends, working long days, having sleepless nights, living for deadlines? This is when your cortisol, a stress hormone, rises. When cortisol levels are elevated, we experience inflammatory changes in the body. Allergies can also increase our cortisol levels. When that happens -- viola! – you have a vicious cycle. Stress and allergies produce more cortisol, which produces an increased allergic response that adds to our stress.
4.) What are you wearing? No, that wasn’t meant to be a lewd question. What I mean is are you wearing perfume, clothes washed in a heavy-scented laundry detergent, makeup, hairspray? If your immune system is the least bit annoyed by scents or chemicals, this can increase your allergic response to everything else. Consider skipping perfume, bathing in non-scented soaps, switching to a natural detergent, or limiting makeup and hair products during allergy season or allergy flare-ups. Once you make the switch to natural, unscented products, you won’t want to switch back!
Consider that your body and immune system can only handle a certain amount of toxins and allergens at any time. Think of it as your total load capacity. If you can decrease your total allergy load by addressing any of the 4 factors listed above, you may be able to decrease the frequency and severity of your allergies. For more help with your allergies, please call to schedule an appointment today!