5 Ways to Beat This Allergy Season

Well, allergy season is upon us in Northern Michigan! Some of us struggled through the winter, with mold and dust exposures from long hours inside. Others of us had a short reprieve while pollen counts have been low. Still, the weather is changing, and with the warmer temperatures, so comes the increased pollen counts. Fear not! MCHM is here to offer some tips as to how you can beat this allergy season!

I often tell my patients; we are all just buckets walking around on this planet. If we are doing all we can, our buckets remain at a nice tolerable level of fullness (I’m an optimist, so I say half full), but if we have too many exposures, our buckets “runneth over,” and we have symptoms. What fills our buckets? Well, what we breathe, for one, but also what we eat, the bacteria/molds/viruses we encounter and stress. It’s very difficult for us to control what we breathe and the bacteria/molds/viruses around us, but we can focus on what we eat and how we manage our stress.

  1. Avoid potential food triggers: Many environmental allergens have been shown to exacerbate food sensitivities, and vice versa, often referred to as Oral Allergy Syndrome or Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (PFAS). This means that if you have an allergy to pollens or environmental inhalants, you become sensitized (i.e. more reactive) to certain food items. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are reactive to all of the substances, all of the time. You may be in the population of folks that during certain times of the year, when pollen counts are high, you experience compounded severity of symptoms due to exposure to both food triggers and environmental allergens.
    • One of the best online resources for tracking which pollen counts may be high in your area is www.pollen.com. Sign up for the email alerts, and you can be prepared for days of high pollen counts, and act accordingly. Additionally, you can overlay your symptoms to see if you may be sensitive to something that you have yet to have formally diagnosed. Those, being said, always consult with an allergist if you suspect an allergy (food or environmental), as your particular reaction may warrant further workup and even a prescription for an Epi-Pen. For a list of potential food/pollen cross reactivity, see below. Confused? Well, then give us a call at any of our locations (i.e. Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and Frankfort) to schedule your appointment with one of our providers. We’ll help you navigate your personal health concerns, and can recommend the best lab tests to help identify your individual allergens.
      • LANSING CLINIC: (517) 377-2455
      • GRAND RAPIDS CLINIC: (616) 264-6556
      • TRAVERSE CITY CLINIC: (231) 252-9000
      • FRANKFORT CLINIC: (231) 871-0191
  2. Eat a healthy, well rounded, seasonal diet. Fortunately, nature is smarter than us! If you look at the potential cross-reactive food/pollen list, you’ll notice that the foods and pollens that may compound your symptoms are not usually present in nature at the same time of the year. So, if you focus on local and seasonal food options, you are giving yourself the best chance at success in avoiding possible cross-reactivity.
  3. Supplements for symptom management. So you have worked on your diet, but you are still having symptoms? Well, this is when you may want a supplemental assist. Consider quercetin, nettles, vitamin B6, NAC to help manage your symptoms. Best option is to find something that contains all of these, like MCHM’s Hist Eeze or try our Allergy Kit for a more comprehensive approach. Of course, it’s best to touch base with one of our practitioners to make sure your supplement regimen is personalized to your needs. Of course, it’s best to personalize all supplement regimens, so you are only taking what’s indicated and not breaking your bank account with products that aren’t helping you.
  4. Stress management. Stress has been shown to exacerbate allergic symptoms, both the stereotypical red, itchy eyes and runny nose, as well as flares in skin presentations, like eczema , , , . So, particularly during your most symptomatic allergy season, steal some time for stress management. Consider apps like Calm or Insight Timer, or do as I do, with walking meditations (i.e. hikes) and paddling meditations (i.e. kayaking and stand up paddleboarding)!
  5. Consider a liver detox. Sometimes, we need to just drain our buckets so we can handle more environmental triggers. This is where a liver cleanse may be a great option. MCHM offers individual and group 7-day Cleanses to get your body ready to process the allergens that ail you. The deadline to sign up for the next group cleanse is May 5th, 2021
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