Say Goodbye to Seasonal Allergies

Ah, spring. The trees have leafed out and the flowers have yawned open after their deep winter sleep. For most of us, it’s a thing of beauty. But for those of us with seasonal allergies, spring’s natural splendor takes a backseat to an array of miserable symptoms— runny nose, itchy eyes, and severe headaches.

If you find yourself in the throes of seasonal allergies, don’t despair. I have a three-step approach to treating seasonal allergies and getting rid of them for good. In desperation, you might reach for antihistamines, which will only provide a temporary reprieve from symptoms (and make you drowsy). Instead, get lasting results—and real relief—with the following strategies:

1. Get tested for hidden food allergies.

The secret culprit behind seasonal allergies is, in many cases, a hidden food allergy. Why? Hidden food allergies can create conditions in the immune system that trigger an allergic reaction to plant pollen. This happens because many foods and plants contain a similar reactive part of protein, called epitope. The presence of epitope confuses the immune system, which may recognize the protein as a foreign body. Thus, the immune system launches an attack—and we feel it in the form of an allergic reaction.

For example, if you have ever felt your mouth or throat become tingly or itchy after eating an apple or celery, then you have experienced something called Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). Often, these symptoms develop in the spring and fall when certain plants and trees come into bloom. The pollen they release contains proteins similar to those in the fruits and vegetables we eat. There is a cross-reactivity that occurs, resulting in allergic symptoms. People who are allergic to apples, for instance, often develop allergies to birch as well.

Once we diagnose which foods you are sensitive to, we can remove them from your diet. Many of my patients find that their seasonal allergy symptoms get better or disappear completely with this simple step. The five most common food allergens are gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and corn. I use blood tests and a skin test (provocation-neutralization) to identify the food items to which you are uniquely sensitive. After removing the culprit foods from your diet, it generally takes about 14 days to clear seasonal allergies.

2. Try homeopathy to treat your seasonal allergies.

Homeopathy, a form of medicine developed in Europe over 200 years ago, is very effective in treating seasonal allergies. Tapping into the body’s natural ability to heal itself, homeopathy is based on the idea that “like cures like.” That is, we can treat a symptom by giving the patient a small, diluted amount of the substance that caused the symptom. Homeopathic medicines include pills and liquid mixtures that contain a very small amount of an active ingredient, such as a particular plant. In highly diluted form, this ingredient can jump-start the body’s natural healing process.

Having trained with some of the world’s most prominent homeopaths, I have gained considerable expertise in the area of homeopathy. Talk to me about how we can treat your symptoms with this very effective approach.

3. Use acupuncture as a treatment for allergies.

The ancient Chinese medical practice known as acupuncture is another great treatment for seasonal allergies. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin (pain-free) needles at strategic points on the body. In the treatment of allergies, acupuncture can help to regulate the immune system and alleviate symptoms. Several studies, including a 2013 randomized, placebo-controlled study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, have found a statistically significant improvement in allergy symptoms treated with acupuncture. Since acupuncture is so effective at quieting down an overstimulated immune system, it is a great treatment option for people who suffer from multiple allergies.

During my training as an MD, I also studied acupuncture with Chinese doctors in Russia and in China. Today I use acupuncture to treat a range of illnesses and complaints, from acute and chronic pain to arthritis, migraines, and allergies.

If you are suffering from seasonal allergies, try these three steps. Perhaps only one of them will be all that you need to nip your allergies in the bud. But if you combine all three, you are almost certain to say goodbye—and good riddance—to seasonal allergies.

Seasonal Allergies