Fall Into Allergies and Natural Allergy Treatments
Fall allergies include not just weed pollens but also mold spores, dust particles and pet dander. Here are some natural treatment ideas for all ages, including supplements, sinus relief / naso-sympatico and acupucnture.
Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. Asthma and allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), food allergy, and eczema, are common for all age groups in the United States. Asthma affects more than 24 million people in the U.S., including more than 6 million children. Though springtime is laden with many allergens, the autumn brings its own symptoms including itchy throat, teary and red eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. Lets explore some of the top autumn allergens and what to do about them!
Weed Pollens: Ragweed, Artemisia
There are 17 widely-distributed species of ragweed in North America and flowering occurs late in the summer, since pollen development occurs when temperatures become lower than 60 degrees F. .This yellow flowering weed blooms in August but causes allergic symptoms well into the fall, until the first freeze kills the plant. It grows nationwide but is most prevalent in rural areas of the East and Midwest. Artemisias are usually aromatic and bitter annual or perennial herbs or shrubs and are considered the most significant cause of adverse pollen reactions after grasses and ragweed.
Ways to best deal with these allergens may start with keeping yourself informed of current events! Try monitoring your local pollen count using a free online tool such as pollen.com. These sights often allow regional specific zip code searches and will let you know which allergens are out.
Other ways to triage autumn weed pollens include staying indoors as much as possible, especially during peak hours (usually mid-morning to early afternoon) and wearing a mask to filter pollen if going out, keeping home and car windows completely closed, as well as Taking off your shoes before entering your home. Vacuum carpets and upholstery regularly - oh, but that is coming up for the next ones too.
Mold and Mildew
Some mold and mildew, like Aspergillus and Penicillium, will release spores throughout the year, at least from data collected in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US (see Related Blog below entitled 'Pollen Forecasts & The Pollen Allergy-Food Allergy Connection'). Others will peak their spore release in the autumn. In the fall, they grow on damp fallen leaves and compost piles. They thrive in damp areas indoors like basements, bathrooms, and kitchens as both of these fungi have varieties that can thrive in outdoors as well as indoors.
To counter undesirable fungal neighbors, don’t leave piles of leaves in your yard. Keep compost and yard-waste piles far away from the house, and wear a protective mask when raking leaves and cleaning compost bins. Furthermore, use a dehumidifier in the house, especially in the basement. Try to keep be between 35 and 50 percent humidity. Clean bathrooms and the kitchen regularly using vinegar or store-bought anti-mildew agents to avoid mildew and mold buildup.
Dust and Dust Mites
These ubiquitous allergens may be possible triggers yearound, however, there are several factors which can influence their numbers and reproduction. They thrive in temperatures between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but "[t]he most important limiting factor for house-dust-mite populations is air humidity".2 This becomes another reason for running a dehumidifier and the running of a humidier over 50 percent may well be contributing to the dust mite problem.
Solutions to dust mite allergies include dust mite covers on your pillows, mattresses and box-springs and wash your linens (and stuffed animals) in hot water (over 130 degrees). Furthermore, choose hard surface furniture over upholstery and a reputable HVAC filtration system.
Fido might be cute, but he is an oversized allergen! Or rather, he bears allergens in the form of pet dander. Cats are even twice as likely as dogs to cause allergic reactions in people! So minimizing exposure to them, continued use of selective immunologic allergy support, and the same strategies of air filtration and frequent vacuuming may make all the difference.
Pet allergies are triggered by an extra-sensitive immune system reacting to dander, fur, saliva, or urine from pets. Though some of these pet dander allergies may seem to be worse due to increased amount of time together in the home during cold months, some worsening may be due to increased circulation in the air from hot-air blowing system heaters.
Fall Allergy Natural Medicine Treatments
Nutritional Supplements for Allergy Support
Combination nutraceutical products often include several ingredients that are well researched and have an established history of use. Some of your better products, like Xymogen's AllerDHQ, will certify as being free of potential allergens like wheat, gluten, yeast, soy, animal or dairy products, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, egg as well as artificial additives. Many of these ingredients provide fast-acting, natural support for hypersensitivity reactions, including watery, itchy eyes and runny nose, as well as other manifestations of histamine release. Liquid homeopathics may address some of the same symptoms but work in a very different way, attempting to not just mitigate the unpleasant affects of allergies but seek to reorient the immune system to be less reactive in the first place.
Allergy Support Drops, are one such combination of homeopathics that seeks to ease symptoms while addressing the hyperactive immune system at its source. Like all homeopathics, they should be taken away from food or other medicines, with the exception of similar homeopathic remedies, which they can be combined with . Read about them here.
Bromelain, which comes from the stem of pineapples, has been shown in studies to be anti-allergic by stopping some of histamine's release. It is a proteolytic enzyme with well documented modulation of the inflammatory response and is recognized to exert a beneficial effect in combating hypersensitive immune reactions. A peer-reviewed publication from 2021 stated: "It is supposed that the anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective and anti-coagulatory activity of bromelain may become a complementary therapy for COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 patients. During the irrepressible spread of novel variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, such beneficial properties of this biomolecule might help prevent escalation and the progression of the COVID-19 disease."3
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), which is an amino acid that supports detox pathways in itself, also breaks up mucus. It was originally approved as an inhaled drug way back in 1963 to be used for obstructive lung disease. NAC plays a significant role in detoxification and antioxidant protection. NAC also functions as a natural mucolytic; reducing the viscosity of mucus commonly produced during hyperimmune response. At this writing, after nearly three years of contention, the Food and Drug Administration has signaled that it will not enforce a ban on the use of NAC in dietary supplements. Yet, at the same time, the agency refuses to reverse its position that NAC is a "pharmaceutical ingredient" which, by definition, excludes it from the supplement category.
Cough Support Drops, another liquid homeopathic available from Northeast Natural Medicine, these drops are well suited for bothersome symptoms of post-nasal drip, which often contribute to a cough. They can be combined with other homeopathics for a broader synergistic effect. Read about them here.
Quercetin, one of the bioflavonoids, has extensive research used in animals in the treatment of asthma, as well as allergies. Quercetin shows anti-inflammatory action but its direct antioxidant action and inhibition of inflammatory mediators and enzymes, such as lipoxygenase. Studies have shown an improved lung function and lower risk of certain respiratory disease in people with high apple (rich in quercetin) intake.6
Sinus Throat Support Drops, seek to relieve symptoms for several areas in the head and neck. Like other liquid homeopathics, they can be combined and dosed at varying amounts based on symptoms. They are also well suited for helping mitigate inflammation that comes from infections in the sinuses or throat. Read about them here.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), is essential to humans and must be obtained exogenously, from external sources. While most mammals are able to synthesize ascorbic acid, humans lack one of the enzymes required for this process and can quickly become deficient if dietary or supplemental intake is inadequate, especially given the number of environmental stressors that demand the use of this antioxidant. However, Vitamin C also plays a lesser-known role in the deactivation of histamine.8,9
Allqlear, is a chewable tablet made mostly from powdered quail egg and sweetened with
xylitol. Proteins in the quail eggs, specifically ovomucoids and ovoinhibitors, are the primary constitutents active upon respiratory function, acting as protease inhibitors, and thereby decrease the allergy response.10,11,12 Later double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trials supported these findings.13
Mucous Drainage Drops, are another homeopathic option which can be very supportive during the allergy season. It is particulary indicated in cases of stubborn congestion which is unrelenting. Read about them here.
Probiotics, for example, Probiomax Daily DF, is a dose of 30billion CFU probiotics using a combination of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are two types used in a 2011 study on probiotics used as a treatment for allergic rhinitis.14 It is suspected that probiotics help modulate the immune system response by dampening the dominant TH1 response suspected to be overactive in many allergic patients.14
Dust & Mold Support Drops, are another homeopathic option which can be very supportive during the fall allergy season since more people spend more time indoors during this and winter months. Read about them here.
Naso-sympatico for Sinus Relief and Allergy Support
Naso-sympatico is a longstanding treatment for sinus congestion and sinus headaches. It involves the painless placement of long cotton-tipped applicators into the nose and rested upon various nasal concha. The applicators are saturated with essential oils blended in a carrier oil. The oils selected are chosen for their time-honored antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as their function as secretolytics, meaning that they help break up and drain mucus. These services are available at Northeast Natural Medicine as discounted packages. Read more about the procedure here.
Acupuncture for Allergy Support
Support for seasonal allergies is not all pills and potions! Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which builds upon a framework of ancient philosophy and theory that has origins in pre-history, before writing was developed. It involves the insertion of fine needles, thinner than a strand of human hair, into the body at specific points shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health conditions. Our clinic uses individually packaged, disposable needles. Unlike many drugs, it is non-toxic, and adverse reactions are minimal. Read about acupuncture at Northeast Natural Medicine here!
Acupuncture is well known for being a helpful intervention for chronic pain disorders and routine conditions but is also effective in patients with allergic diseases.15 This is not just case reports but systemic reviews and meta-analyses of clinical trials; for example, a 2020 meta-analysis concluded "...for patients with allergic rhinitis who are unresponsive to conventional western medicine or cannot tolerate the side effects, acupuncture ... is an effective alternative therapy".16 Other authors of similar literature reviews went so far as to conclude "it is evident that acupuncture therapy is not inferior to pharmacologic therapy".17
So this allergy season, explore your options!
1. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergies-101/facts-stats/
9. Strohle, A. Micronutrients at the interface between inflammation and infection--ascorbic acid and calciferol: part 1, general overview with a focus on ascorbic acid. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2011. February.
13. Bruttmann, G. [L'omogenato di uova di quaglia "ovix": Valutazione clinica.] La Medicine Biologica (MB) 1995 April- June;2:25-29 [in Italian].
The content and any recommendations in this article are for informational purposes only. They are not intended to replace the advice of the reader's own licensed healthcare professional or physician and are not intended to be taken as direct diagnostic or treatment directives. Any treatments described in this article may have known and unknown side effects and/or health hazards. Each reader is solely responsible for his or her own healthcare choices and decisions. The author advises the reader to discuss these ideas with a licensed naturopathic physician.