Now that the weather has warmed up, and the plants are starting to bloom, allergy season is upon us.  The usual symptoms can include congestion, runny nose, crackling ears, cough, watery or itchy eyes, and skin rashes.  What you may not know is that having allergies can make you more likely to pick up a cold!  When your mucous membranes become irritated (as in allergies) they become the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses, so even though it doesn’t feel like winter anymore, you may need to take some extra steps to protect your immune system.  Here are some things you can do to improve your allergies, and stave off a cold (or sinus infection!)

  1. Don’t dry out!  By keeping your mucous membranes moist (nose, mouth, throat, lungs) your body’s own defenses will be that much stronger.  So, that means drink lots of water, and you may want to consider a humidifier in the bedroom.
  2. Take some probiotics – especially if you’ve taken antibiotics this winter.  Probiotics are capsules full of the good bacteria that we need to have strong and healthy immune systems.  Probiotics have been shown to decrease the incidence of ear infections in children, and to decrease the severity of asthma in adolescents.
  3. Keep the sugar and the dairy out of your diet!  Sugar will feed any potential infection, and increase inflammation in the body (which only aggravates allergies).  And dairy tends to create massive amounts of mucous for people who are prone to allergies.  So, for those who already have congestion, piling on some extra mucous just makes breathing that much more difficult.  Don’t worry – you can get plenty of calcium from green, leafy vegetables and a multi-vitamin, so for these spring months have less cheese and drink less milk.
  4. You can use an over-the-counter immune booster as prevention.  Emergen-C and Airborne work very well to prevent a cold or flu, and help your immune system function more normally.
  5. If your allergies are unmanageable, there are a number of supplements that can help – so please let us know if we can help you feel better!  And, there’s no need to suffer through a cold, even if it’s “just a virus”.  If you’ve managed to pick up the latest bug going around, let us know – we have extremely effective herbal and nutritional alternatives to antibiotics (easier on the stomach, too!).

Here’s to a happy and healthy Spring!