In the past few days I have been waking up to sneezing and a runny nose accompanied with itchy eyes. I generally don’t take any medication for my symptoms, and opt for a few vitamin C tablets. Let me interject here that I am not a medical doctor. Therefore, nothing within this blog should be taken as medical advice. I am merely sharing what sometimes work for me. While studying for my massage certification, we had to study anatomy, physiology, and pathology. Much of what I share here will be coming from there.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system is your defense system comprising of many biological structures and processes within that protects against disease. To function properly, your immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, known as pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue.
The immune system keeps a record of every microbe it has ever defeated, in types of white blood cells (B- and T-lymphocytes) known as memory cells. This means it can recognise and destroy the microbe quickly if it enters the body again, before it can multiply and make you feel sick.
Some infections, like the flu and the common cold, have to be fought many times because so many different viruses or strains of the same type of virus can cause these illnesses. Catching a cold or flu from one virus does not give you immunity against the others.
What are allergies?
Now that we kind of covered what the immune system is, let’s take a look at what are allergies? Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance. This includes pollen, bee venom, pet dander, food, dust mites, animals, insect stings, medicines or any environmental substances that are usually harmless to most people.
For me, I think I am allergic to so many things on the list above. Therefore, most days I am suffering 😭😩. Maybe suffering is too strong of a word, but I do sometimes wonder what happened to me. My mom also asks me if I am her child when I am having an allergic reaction moment. 😳
How can I strengthen my immune system to control my allergies?
As I have mentioned above a few tablets of vitamin C throughout the day helps with my runny nose and itchy eyes. It seems vitamin C acts like an antihistamine, but it also plays a big role in building up your immunity defense. While popping Vitamin C tablets is cool and all, I am learning that there are other things I can also be doing that will make a difference.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.
- In one study, children who ate lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts — particularly grapes, apples, oranges, and tomatoes — had fewer allergy symptoms. Researchers are still trying to figure out the link. But there’s no doubt that a healthy diet is good for your whole body. Add at least one fresh fruit and veggie to every meal.
- Stay Hydrated
- If you feel stuffy or have postnasal drip from your allergies, sip more water, juice, or other nonalcoholic drinks. The extra liquid can thin the mucus in your nasal passages and give you some relief. Warm fluids like teas, broth, or soup have an added benefit: steam. More tea and water for me please! I will be opting for lemon tea when possible to add in some extra vitamin C
- Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
- Don’t call me after 9 folks! 😂 Seriously though
- Wash hands throughout the day
- Since I touch on people (massage), I wash my hands after every session, or handshake, interaction. In this era of covid-19 everyone has been encouraged to wash their hands often. To take this step further, each time you walk into your home, we bring small pieces of the outside world with us. After being outdoors, our clothes, shoes, hair, and skin are covered with tiny particles from everywhere we’ve been. From my research, taking a shower and changing our clothes will help to wash away any allergens. Leave your shoes at the door, too.
- Nasal Rinse
- A nasal rinse cleans mucus from your nose and can ease allergy symptoms there. It also can whisk away bacteriaand thin mucus and cut down on postnasal drip. Buy a rinse kit or make one using a neti pot or a nasal bulb. Mix 3 teaspoons of iodide-free salt with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Store this in an airtight container. To use, put 1 teaspoon of the mixture into 8 ounces of distilled or boiled then cooled water. Lean over a sink and gently flush one nostril at a time.
- Keep clutter to a minimum, and dust and vacuum at least once a week.
- In yesterday’s blog, I scrapped the idea of cleaning and dusting. According to webmd.com, I should keep my home squeaky clean. This is one of the best ways to avoid indoor allergens. Harsh chemicals can irritate your nasal passages and aggravate your symptoms. So they suggest that I make natural cleaners with everyday ingredients like vinegar or baking soda. Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter to trap allergens. It isn’t like my house is a mess, but I do have books lying around that have gathered some dust. I’ll do better.
- I should have gone to this method a long time ago! there are several acupressure points on the face that will address sinus congestions. Perhaps I’ll blog about that later.
Fellow Allergic peeps unite
Anyone suffering from allergies know the looks we get during cold and flu season. Now that Covid-19 is abound, people probably want to violently attack us. I hope that all of us are staying at home, and only leaving when it is essential. Staying at home does help to avoid socially awkward situations around our allergies. It is spring time, and I am fully intending to enjoy it (safely of course). I am going to be upping my vitamin and mineral rich food as well as following the suggestions above.
I would like to hear from you about ways you are managing your allergies at home. Leave a comment below. Share your knowledge the topic!