By Dr Suzanne Bartolini, Naturopathic Doctor

As the warmer weather falls upon us, many people begin to experience the discomforts of allergies. Symptoms can range from runny nose and sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, recurring ear and sinus congestion or infections, headaches, skin rashes, hives, general fatigue, and the list goes on… Allergies are brought on by a hyper-sensitive immune response to several substances, whether they are inside our homes or in the environment. This includes pollens, mold spores, dust, dander from household pets, dust mites, certain foods in our diets, etc. So what can we do?

Here are a few tips to stop allergies from taking over this summer:

• Rinse your nasal passageways daily – Studies have shown that nasal irrigation is effective for adults as well as children. Allergen irritants can be rinsed out of your nasal passages using a simple warm saline solution with a netti pot or squeeze bottle. 

• Try self-acupressure  – There is an acupressure point on either side of your nostrils where your cheeks and nose meet. Apply moderate pressure and massage this area with your fingers for 2-3 minutes.

• Eat foods that strengthen your immune system – Foods rich in antioxidants such as leafy green vegetables improve immunity, which in turn improves allergies. A large part of our immune system lies in our gastrointestinal tract so good probiotics are also beneficial.

• Incorporate anti-inflammatory fruits into your diet – Fruits such as papaya, kiwi, and pineapple contain bromelain, which is an anti-inflammatory enzyme.

• Avoid foods that irritate the immune system and produce excessive mucous – This includes refined and packaged foods, sugars, caffeine, dairy products, and certain grains to name a few.

• Drink green tea – Some teas contain natural antihistamines.  Since histamines are released during an allergic reaction, incorporating natural antihistamines will help the immune system.

• Stay well-hydrated – Water is important to keep the sinuses hydrated and is essential for proper lymphatic drainage. Adequate water intake will flush excess mucous and clear toxins. 

• Don’t forget simple things like washing hands after working or playing outside and bathing in the evening to keep pollens out of your bedding.

*Each person is unique.  The above suggestions are simply the beginning steps for eliminating allergies.  If you have been suffering from allergies, you may want to consider a Naturopathic approach, which strengthens the body and immune system through proper diet strategies, cleansing, acupuncture, and balanced supplementation. Book in with Dr Suzanne Bartolini to learn more about how a Naturopathic Doctor can help. Dr Bartolini is in clinic on Wednesdays