Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, can take the enjoyment out of our changing seasons. Many rely on antihistamines for symptom relief, but what if we could address the root cause for a more sustainable solution? As naturopathic doctors we take a holistic approach, focusing on why your body reacts to allergens.

DIAGNOSTIC APPROACH:

Diagnosis starts with a detailed discussion of your symptoms. Acute symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion. For many of my patients who have seen different doctors before, more chronic symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, brain fog, and post-nasal drip tend to be more troublesome to manage on their own.

Laboratory testing into the following areas can reveal underlying imbalances:

Food sensitivities:

  • Certain foods can exacerbate allergies.

Gut health:

  • A disrupted gut microbiome can contribute to inflammation possibly leading to worsening seasonal allergies.

Nutrient deficiencies:

  • Vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s play a role in immune function and are important for maintaining balance and feeling better. Research suggests it can improve immune function [1].

Often patients come to me without any workup surrounding these issues and have only been offered medication instead. While many first-line treatments focus on symptom relief, I have found that this approach can mask deeper health concerns. Our more sustainable approach aims to both manage symptoms in the short term and address the underlying cause.

TREATMENT APPROACH:

Once we establish possible contributing factors after careful lab testing and evaluation, we have the opportunity to provide a refined treatment strategy. Here are some evidence-based treatments I have relied on:

Dietary modifications:

  • Identifying and eliminating food sensitivities can significantly reduce symptoms.

Supplementation:

  • Tailored supplements can address nutrient deficiencies and support a healthy gut microbiome so symptoms do not return in future years. Quercetin, for example, is a natural antihistamine found in apples, onions, and green tea [2]. Studies have even shown that probiotics may reduce allergy symptoms in children [3].

Elimination of Environmental Toxins:

  • Exposure to mold or chemicals can trigger allergy-like symptoms.

Lifestyle changes:

  • Stress management and adequate sleep to improve immune function.

Finding the root cause of your seasonal allergies takes time and personalized attention.  As your doctor, I can partner with you to create a customized plan.  Let’s work together to navigate allergy season, not just manage it. Ready to explore a more lasting solution? Schedule an appointment today!

REFERENCES:

  1. Vitamin D and immune function: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21527855/
  2. Quercetin for Allergic Rhinitis: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27187333/
  3. Probiotics and childhood allergies: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30425779/

Have you ever experienced a lingering cold that just won’t seem to disappear? If so, you might be dealing with chronic rhinosinusitis, a troublesome inflammatory condition affecting the nasal cavity and its lining. Chronic rhinosinusitis disrupts sinus drainage, causing swelling, inflammation, and infection, leading to a range of uncomfortable symptoms. Learn more about this condition and effective treatments for it:

Section 1: The Role of Allergies in Chronic Rhinosinusitis

When nasal tissues become inflamed, it triggers an increase in immune system cells that regulate inflammation, including T helper type 2 cells, cytokines, interleukin-5, and interleukin-13. Additionally, there are often elevated levels of histamines and increased allergic sensitivity to Staphylococcus aureus (Staph). While Staph is a normal component of the human nares, in chronic rhinosinusitis, the body treats it as a foreign invader, causing inflammation and related symptoms.

Section 2: Addressing Chronic Rhinosinusitis

To effectively manage chronic rhinosinusitis, it’s crucial to obtain a proper diagnosis from your healthcare provider and tackle the underlying cause, often inflammation. Additionally, focusing on gut health can help reduce the overall inflammatory burden. Incorporate more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber into your diet. These foods are rich in antioxidants and vitamins that aid in the body’s recovery and healing process. Fiber assists in binding with toxins and facilitating their elimination. Adequate sleep, with 8 to 10 hours each night, is also essential during this period.

Section 3: Nutraceuticals, Pharmaceuticals, and Natural Treatments

Once you’ve addressed the basics of health, consider using specific nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals as needed. An effective natural treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis is contrast hydrotherapy, involving warm compresses followed by cool washcloths. You can perform this procedure two to three times a day. Steam inhalation with essential oils like thyme, followed by nasal irrigation using a Neti pot, nasal irrigation syringe, or squeeze bottle, can help break up bacterial biofilms and eliminate them from the body.

Individualized Herbal Medicine and Homeopathy

Individualized herbal medicine and homeopathy can be valuable in managing chronic rhinosinusitis. Discuss these options with your naturopathic provider, who can guide the right form and dosage of medicine.

When to Seek Professional Help

If at-home treatments prove ineffective, your symptoms worsen, or your individual needs are not met, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider at Peninsula Integrative Medicine. They can assist you in developing a personalized treatment plan that suits your specific needs.