Spring 2017 in Southern California is turning out to be a brutal one for allergy sufferers. Thanks to the unprecedented rain we received in January and February this year (Governor Brown officially declared the end of the California drought!), nature that has not been seen in decades is growing now! It's breathtaking to see all the greenery, but...the joke is, there are plants that have probably been dormant for 50 years, so who knows what kind of pollen and allergens they are releasing into the air? Not funny, Mother Nature. Not funny!
Allergies are also exacerbated with the growth of mold. LA is usually a very dry place, so mold typically is not an issue, but because of the rains, there has been rampant explosions of mold everywhere. If you were part of the unfortunate many that had to deal with a mold problem, this can weaken your immune system as well, which will then trigger allergy reactions or make them worse.
If you or your child suffer from seasonal allergies, be proactive and get acupuncture or PAOM treatments and herbs now, even with Spring in full force. (Aside from pollen, find out why allergies, anger and anxiety get exacerbated during Spring, here.) These treatments can help strengthen your body's immune system so that it doesn't have a meltdown with the onslaught of allergens that are being released this Spring. Acupuncture and herbs will also help release a lot of heat that was built up over winter. During the winter, heat was necessary to keep us warm and cozy, but will exacerbate allergies with Springtime's warming trends. As much as we need warmth to help invigorate yang, which propels life to grow in leaps and bounds, too much yang energy can backfire. So let Asian medicine regulate your system and put you in equilibrium so you aren't left miserable with what will be a "perfect storm" for allergy sufferers this Spring.
The following are tips you can incorporate to lessen or alleviate your allergy symptoms.
1. GOOD HABITS AROUND THE HOUSE
- Nix the stuffed animals: they only harbor dust mites, pollens, and other ickies. And since most kids keep them in their room and/or on the bed, that's what they're breathing in all night.
- Wipe your feet when you walk in the house and leave your shoes by the door.
- Launder bedding, curtains and blankets in hot water.
2. DIETARY ADJUSTMENTS
- Eliminate dairy foods: Traditional Chinese Medicine considers dairy an immune suppressor.
- Eliminate wheat: Like dairy, wheat is an energetically "cold" food and "dampens" the immune system.
- Cut out processed foods and eat more home-made foods high in nutrients, like soups made from beef or chicken bones.
- Incorporate super greens (like chlorella or spirulina) twice to three times a week for the duration of spring if you're an allergy sufferer.
- Along with the super greens, start bringing in cooked bitter greens into your diet as well as some sour foods to start waking up your liver. Some examples of liver-activating foods are: Ume plum found at Japanese markets, sauerkrauts which have natural probiotics in them, and goji berries (pop a small handful daily).
- Cut back on red meats and do a more vegetarian diet and/or pescatarian diet once or twice a week to give yourself and your littles' liver and digestion a break and detox from winter build-up.
These dietary suggestions ring true for children, so incorporate these tips into their diet to help them transition into Spring with more ease.
3. POSITIVE ACTIONS
- Breathe in peppermint: Peppermint opens the sinus passages. Put a drop of peppermint essential oil in your palm with a carrier oil, rub your hands together, and breathe in the minty goodness.
- Shower before going to bed: Pollens stick to your hair and body, and you'll breathe them in while you sleep.
- Detox your body:
- Do some sauna or infra red heat action once a week to help start sweating out some of the heat, toxins, and build up you have from winter (not recommended for children).
- Consider doing sea salt cleanses. Buy course sea salt and do a dry rub or wet rub during your showers. Rub vigorously your neck, arm pits, inguinal region, palms and soles of feet to help detox your body. You can do the same for kids too, just rub more gently and get less course sea salt.
- For rhinitis sufferers, consider doing regular nasal sprays to keep your sinuses moist and clean.
- Get some head massages to help release heat from the head, too.
- Limit your allergen exposure: If your child is having a bout with pollen allergies, it might be wise to limit playtime with the cat. This prevents an "overload" of the immune system.
To keep allergies at bay, we typically recommend the following supplements:
- Essential Fatty Acids (from fish, borage or flax)
- N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (for kids 12+)
- Natural/herbal antihistamines
- Other herbs upon consultation
Remember, along with the tips above, getting regular acupuncture or shonishin treatments help tremendously in keeping allergies at bay and relieving sinusitis, itchy, watery eyes, and the overall discomforts associated with allergies. Luriko can help both children and adults relieve these symptoms very effectively, so come in for a treatment!