Source Naturals - Allergy and Sinus Lifestyle Plan
|Allergy & Sinus Season: Healthy Lifestyle Tips||Darrell Miller||06/09/05|
June 09, 2005 09:12 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Allergy & Sinus Season: Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Allergies are a growing health problem in the United States, according to a recent report issued by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAI). Every year more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. They are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease and affect more than 20% of the population. Hay fever alone accounts for more than eight million doctor visits annually, at a cost of $3.4 billion!
Source Naturals, as part of its commitment to Strategies for Wellness offers you these healthy lifestyle tips for allergy and sinus support.
Allergy & Sinus Season: Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Allergies are adverse reactions of the immune system to normally harmless substances?allergens. Some common allergens are pollen, weeds, molds, dust mites, animal dander, and latex particles.
Allergens can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or injection (either intentionally as in the case of certain medications or through insect stings). Although there is a strong genetic component to allergies, there are also lifestyle factors we can control to prevent or minimize allergic reactions. Allergies are actually 'mistakes' or overreactions by the immune system. They are learned responses, which can be unlearned.
Allergy Proof Your Home
Cut down your exposure to dust mites and other indoor allergens by dust proofing your bedroom. Eliminate wall-to-wall carpets, down-filled blankets, feather pillows, and other dust catchers. Use window shades instead of venetian blinds, which can trap dust. Wash curtains and bedding regularly in hot water. Encase your mattress and pillows in airtight, dust-proof plastic covers. Dust and vacuum regularly.
If you have pets, especially cats, you should try to keep them out of your bedroom. Frequent brushing and bathing of pets can help get rid of excess hair.
Consider using a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter system if you have allergies to pollen, dust, or other particles -- or if you live with a smoker, or in a smoggy urban area. Dehumidifiers can help cut down on molds.
Avoid Outdoor Allergens
You may need to limit your time outdoors when pollen or mold spore counts are high. Walking through uncut fields or raking leaves can increase exposure to molds and fungi. Avoid tobacco smoke and polluted air. Keep windows and doors closed, and dry clothes in a vented dryer instead of outside.
Watch Your Diet
Sometimes 'avoidance therapy' to control allergies is impractical or undesirable. Diet is easier to work with and can have a significant influence on immune reactions. Excess or undigested dietary proteins may worsen an overresponsive immune system?cows' milk and wheat are frequent offenders. Cut down on protein, especially animal protein, avoid dairy products, and eat more fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. You should also avoid nutritionless foods such as simple sugars.
Maintain Healthy Mucous Membranes
The mucosal cells that line the nasal passages, throat and lungs are our first line of defense against airborne substances. One of the primary means of maintaining healthy mucous linings is to drink lots of pure water (6 to 8 glasses daily). This keeps mucus fluid thin and cleanses membranes. Nasal cleansing is helpful when sinuses are clogged. You can rinse the nasal passages with a warm solution consisting of a quarter-teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, about the same sodium concentration found in your blood and tissue fluids. This practice washes away pollen grains and soothes irritated mucous membranes. Nasal cleansing can be done using a rubber suction bulb or a neti pot?a ceramic container used in Ayurveda that allows you to pour water directly into the nose. Inhaling steam with a little oil of eucalyptus in it may also ease clogged sinuses. Many people find acupuncture to be very effective for promoting sinus drainage.
Nutrients and herbs offer you safe, natural alternatives for supporting seasonal health. The bioflavonoid quercetin has been found in human cell culture studies to inhibit the release of histamines from immune cells. Ginkgo has been found in human cell culture studies to inhibit platelet-activating factor, a substance that stimulates the release of histamines. (Research is needed to determine if these effects occur in humans.) Stinging nettle is another herb that has been used traditionally to support a healthy respiratory system and sinuses. Vitamin A enhances macrophage function, is specifically needed for a healthy lung lining, and is beneficial for increasing the health of tissue cell membranes.
VitaNet ® Staff