I see a beautiful forest AND a full on immune system attack…
I have major allergies. By major I mean severe and numerous. I have been on allergy shots for 11 years where most people are on them for 3 years because I’m allergic to so many things.
Anyway, because I have all these allergies, have been seeing an allergist for over a decade, and because I have a deviated septum and diabetes, further predisposing me to sinus infections, I want to share a few great tips I’ve learned along the way.
Nasal Irrigation is your best friend.
I used to have what I call “eternal sinus infections” meaning I never got rid of them. I spent years with a constant sinus infection that increased and decreased in severity but never went away. Eventually, when I was desperate, I saw an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor. She said, “Ohhh you’ve got a deviated septum, that doesn’t help matters!” So basically that means my nose is a little crooked and it prevents drainage from one side-helping me get infections really quickly. She gave me a Neil Med sinus irrigation bottle and it’s been a miraculous cure to sinus infections for me. I don’t know what I’d do without it. Neti pots work similarly and are well loved by people out there, too.
If You Take Zyrtec, Save Money!
A few years ago my doctor told me how to save money on Zyrtec (which is pretty pricey). He told me to go to Sam’s Club (or go with someone with a membership) and look for the generic of Zyrtec which is Certirizine. A year’s worth of that costs about a month’s worth of Zyrtec from CVS. HUGE savings and he says it works the same!
Also, if you take Zyrtec, take it consistently before you need it. It needs time to work properly and to work well you need to take it each day-not just when you think you need it.
By the way, be careful with Benadryl, it causes your heart to race and can cause problems.
Managed blood sugars are crucial.
When I got a grip on my diabetes management, I got a lot less sinus infections starting in the first place-which was awesome. Also, it’s faster to heal from an infection when there is no extra sugar in your body for bacteria to ruthlessly feed on. People without diabetes can get in on this one as well. Eat less sugar and you’ll prevent and heal from infections faster! Also, infections make blood sugars hard to manage so prevention really is key.
This is a weird one, I know. I buy these ear drops at the local food store that are made for kids. They contain olive oil and garlic extract. You put a few drops in each ear at night and cover with a cotton ball. This keeps the area inside the ear moisturized so that there is no dryness and less irritation present. I use it on my kids to help them avoid getting sick, as well. Apparently, dryness doesn’t allow our mucous membranes to kick out viruses and bacteria and allergens.
How ironic is it that nature provides Spring greens and berries? These foods are known for being cleansing and detoxing. These foods help clear up mucous! It’s like nature knows we’re going to need some help clearing all the pollen that’s out there and wants to help us out! So buy all the fresh locally grown greens in your area. Make a lot of salads. Add a little olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and fresh squeezed lemon. (Apple cider vinegar and lemon are alkalizing) (lemon is a natural expectorant to help you get rid of mucous). Enjoy those salads and feel your body letting go of the Winter time heavy feeling that you accumulated with all the stews and nuts and meats you ate to keep warm.
Wash your hair each night.
Pollen gets blown into your hair and if you sleep on it, (and if you happen to be allergic to pollen) you’ll wake up feeling congested and groggy. Take a bath each night during allergy season. Get all those allergens off before you go to sleep and you’ll wake up feeling much better, I promise.
Avoid processed foods.
I’ve found that avoiding processed foods does more than just help me with my blood sugars and weight. It helps me with my allergies. I find that if I steer clear of alcohol and sugar and foods with chemicals, I cut down on my reactions and sneezing fits, big time. Perhaps this is because our systems are overwhelmed when we have allergies. And by keeping our bodies clear of other irritants and aggravators, we keep the body feeling more calm and less on the attack. Also, less sugar means less inflammation. Allergies cause quite a bit of inflammation and discomfort in our sinus cavities.
Consider allergy shots.
Allergy shots kind of work like vaccines only they don’t have any adjuvants you worry about. Allergy shots give you a tiny amount of what you’re allergic to (mine is a cocktail of trees, grasses, weeds, dust mites, molds, and so on). The hope is that over time, by receiving small amounts of what your body is confused about will help your body stop reacting so wildly to. Basically the shots sneak up on your immune system and try to tell it “Yo! There is nothing wrong with a little grass, see?!” Over time, you can either eliminate or lessen your allergy to something. I used to be severely allergic to dogs and cats. Now I’m just moderately allergic. That’s a big deal for me because I used to have asthma attacks and so much congestion I couldn’t breathe near dogs and cats and now I don’t have those issues. I’m no longer allergic to certain trees and molds and I’m less allergic to other things. It really works. The problem is it’s very expensive and stupid insurance companies are still not on board with covering allergy shots. They don’t think they are a “medical issue”. Really? That excuse won’t last much longer. So hang in there. More and more should be covering these shots, soon.
Last but not least, drink lots of water
Water helps keep you hydrated, less inflamed, and it helps flush toxins out of your body. If you have allergies, you really need plenty of water each day. Surprisingly, this is the hardest thing for me. I really need to work on this one. How bout we work on it together?
Allergies make a person miserable, I know. And those who don’t have allergies often think we’re all wussies. I know what you’re going through and honestly, these tips have helped me get back to normal, cut down on migraines, and function during this time of year. I do get more drowsy, so I try to just go to bed earlier and go with the flow. But overall I feel WAY better than I used to. And you can, too.
If you have any tips, please add in the comments!