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Breathe Easy

      Summer in Bozeman is beautiful, the grass is green, the sun in shinning, the flowers are blooming.  It is a wonderful time of the year unless you are a seasonal allergy sufferer.  Itchy watery eyes and a runny nose can really hamper the enjoyment of your weekend hike or camping trip.

     So what causes those pesky symptoms? It is actually the body’s natural response to breathing in a foreign substance (i.e. pollen).  When an antigen or foreign substance enters the body, it triggers the release of antibodies and subsequently histamines.  The nose, eyes and air passages have receptors on them specific for histamine just waiting to start the itching, sneezing, watery eyes party.  Histamines also have a negative effect on other body systems such as our adrenal (stress) glands – this leads to the fatigue associated with seasonal allergies

     So why is it that some people have such a hard time with seasonal allergies and other sail through the summer without a single sneeze?  The answer lies in how our body responds to the histamines.  There are certain systems in our body that are designed to deal with histamines they include our nasal passages, digestive systems, liver and adrenal glands.  If any one of these systems in under stress, they will not be able to respond adequately to the extra histamines and we will experience allergy symptoms.

     What can we do naturally to remove the stress from these systems?  Our first line of defense is to remove pollen from our nasal passages.  This can be achieved through rinsing the nasal passages with a saline solution.  There are many different devices available, such as the Nettipot or Neilmed that can be used to gently rinse the sinuses.  These are available at many of the wonderful health food stores we have in the area.

     Reducing or eliminating dairy during the allergy season also helps to keep our sinuses happy.  Dairy has a tendency to thicken the mucous in our nasal passages – making allergy symptoms worse.  So bypass the cheese and switch to coconut milk yogurt (a delicious alternative) for a little while.

     Our next line of defense against annoying allergies is a healthy digestive system.  Our digestive system plays an important role in keeping us healthy, with 70% of our immune system located in our gut.  As well, our digestive system must be acidic in order to absorb the minerals and nutrients our bodies need to fight the allergies.  Using 2 teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar (i.e. Braggs) twice a day mixed with a little water and a teaspoon of honey is a fabulous way to help.  Choose local honey, as it has been made from local flowers and pollen you will be exposed to.

     Keep your liver happy and healthy!  Our liver works like the filter in our car, helping to “filter” and eliminate excess histamines and toxins in our bodies.  When overwhelmed with histamine the liver’s ability to remove toxins is compromised, slowing their release from the body.  By eating green leafy vegetables, carrots, cruciferous vegetables (kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli) and beets you can help keep your liver functioning optimally during the allergy season.

     Reduce stress, relax and keep your adrenal (stress) glands happy.  Healthy adrenal glands help the body regulate histamine levels and control inflammation, lessening the likelihood of swollen eyes, nasal passages and fatigue.

     There are effective natural anti-histamines available to relieve many of your worst allergy symptoms.  They include Antronex, Allerplex (available at Bozeman Wellness Center) and quercitin – alone or in combination with other herbs these formulation are very effective for controlling seasonal allergies.   As well, using a homeopathic remedy for the exact substance that you are allergic to (pollens, grasses, dust, trees, etc.) can offer additional relief.

     So try these tips and before you know it you may be running gleefully through a field of freshly mowed grass.  If you have seasonal allergies and these small changes don’t seem to be doing the trick, please call to schedule an appointment with one of the doctors.  Enjoy your summer.

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