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ACHOOO! Allergy management for Rheumatology patients!

If you are anything like me, the last couple of weeks have been inspiring in its beauty. Warm sunshine, budding trees, flowers popping up from the ground, and the beautiful echos of my sneezes ringing through the halls. Yes, indeed, it is allergy season again. While the spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year, it is also a time of agony for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. According to the CDC, over 16 million adults have suffered from allergies, or “hay fever,” over the last year. As one of those 16 million, let me tell you – it is no fun. Even patients with autoimmune diseases can suffer from allergies, and it is important that the management of these allergies is safe when combined with your prescription medications.

I have seen multiple patients in the clinic with this very condition and have treated allergies with great success. My own allergies have greatly improved since I started treatment by a naturopathic physician. Instead of constant burning eyes, conjunctivitis, and congestion, I now have occasional itchy eyes on those really high pollen days. So, enough about me. Let me share with YOU some easy, safe tips for what you can do to help safely relieve your allergies.

1) Start treating early. Start your regimen in February to give it time to work before the spring season starts.

2) Get tested for allergies. You want to be tested for foods and environmental triggers. If you are allergic to foods, it will only make your immune system that much more hypersensitive. Then, when you encounter pollen and dust in the spring, your immune system really goes haywire. It is important to eliminate any foods you are allergic to. Your naturopathic physician can do this testing for you and make a personalized plan for you.

3) Get rid of dust in your house if you are allergic to it. This includes the use of dust covers on your mattress. Also, get air filtering plants in the house! Try peace lilies, spider plants, and bamboo plants.

4) Get your vitamin D levels checked. Vitamin D keeps your immune system balanced and may help reduce a hypersensitive immune system that leads to allergies. Your naturopathic physician can do this testing for you and recommend the right dose!

5) Increase consumption of foods high in quercetin. Quercetin inhibits your white blood cells from releasing histamine, the allergy-causing compound. The foods highest in quercetin are capers, apples (with skin), and onions (with the greenish outer layer left on). In addition, add foods high in other kinds of flavonoids, which also reduce histamine. These include berries, green tea, citrus fruits, and buckwheat.

**These suggestions are a good place to start, but always consult your doctor before starting any health regimen. A naturopathic physician can do additional testing on your immune system, and create a highly personalized diet plan and supplement regimen to keep your allergies in check this season.

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