The flu and cold season is about to end and that means you’ll be in the clear from congestion, sneezing, and sniffling for a while, right? Wrong! Your congestion, sniffling, and sneezing days are far from over if you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergy. A time of blooming trees and budding flowers, spring for allergy sufferers is also a time when they are plagued by extremely uncomfortable symptoms. Also known as hay fever, seasonal allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to outdoor allergens like grasses, weeds, and tree pollen.
An allergic reaction occurs when airborne pollen infiltrates the body throat, nose, or eyes triggering the reaction. Usually, mild substances such as pollen will not elicit a response from the immune system. In sensitive individuals however, the defense mechanism of the body perceives these allergens as it would an infectious substance and initiates an attack. The immune system releases histamines once it has detected an invasion and this causes inflammation resulting in irritation and discomfort.
The most common forms of treatment for seasonal allergies are decongestants and antihistamines; however, in a recent new study featured in the Feb. issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, it was revealed that acupuncture can also help bring about symptomatic relief. A treatment involving the superficial insertion of tiny needles in the skin at certain points of the body, acupuncture is designed to alleviate specific symptoms and balance the body. With regard to allergies, this treatment can help alleviate the symptoms of sufferers.
A total of 422 individuals participated in the study. All suffered from pollen and grass allergies. In the results, it was found that the people randomly assigned to 12 acupuncture treatments showed better improvements compared to the ones who didn’t receive the acupuncture treatments. They showed superior resolution of their symptoms on average, and were able to lessen their use of antihistamine drugs within eight weeks.
For people who are not content with the benefits of allergic drugs, acupuncture is a better, natural and safer alternative mainly because it has no harmful side effects.
Besides the use of acupuncture to allay the symptoms of allergy, the following are strategic approaches that can help you avoid allergy triggers in a natural way.
• When pollen counts are high, shut your windows and doors at night or any other time.
• On windy and dry days, it’s best to stay indoors – after a soaking rain is usually the best time to go outside as the rain tends to clear out the pollen from the air.
• Delegate gardening chores such as weed pulling or lawn mowing as they tend to stir up allergens.
• If you’re doing outside chores, wear a dust mask.
• For an everyday ranking of allergens, including outdoor molds, weeds, grasses, and seasonal tree pollens, visit aaaai.org which is the website of the National Allergy Bureau. For those sensitive to the aforementioned factors, stay inside when levels are high.
• Pollen tends to cling to towels and sheets, so don’t hang your laundry outdoors.
• Take off clothes you’ve worn outside; it’s also good to shower to remove pollen from your hair and skin.
• Consult with your doctor to learn if acupuncture can help address your seasonal allergy symptoms.
• When pollen counts are high, avoid any outdoor activity in the early morning
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