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Spring has finally arrived. And with the long-awaited beautiful weather and the shades of green painting our landscape, come the fragrances of spring and summer—flowers, tree blossoms, and cut grass. All of which are loaded with the release of pollens and allergens. These are harmless substances for most of us; but for some they take the enjoyment out of Spring and Summer. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, roughly 20% of Americans suffer from allergies and another 20% suffer from hypersensitivities to food, environmental substances, or stimuli.

Many of us have children who are on summer sports teams. While we want to enjoy our child’s game, it seems impossible when our eyes are red, itchy, swollen, and watery. Add to that a stuffy or drippy nose, sneezing or coughing, and sitting in the hot sun just doesn’t add up to fun. So what can you do if summer allergies make you miserable? If you are one of those sufferers, then read on.

1) Take a whole food based Vitamin C.
Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine. Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, NY found that taking vitamin C daily, significantly reduced blood histamine levels. Dr. Richard Podell, author of When Your Doctor Doesn't Know Best: Errors That Even the Best Doctors Make and How to Protect Yourself, recommends 1000 milligrams of vitamin C (Ester-C) twice daily to help with allergies and asthma.

2) Magnesium eases breathing
Some immunologists suggest taking 400 milligrams of magnesium daily helps with nasal allergies and breathing problems. Taking more than that can cause diarrhea. If you want to supplement your diet with magnesium–rich foods, the best sources are nuts, beans, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and bananas.

3) Nutrients for your nose
Dr. Jeremy Kazlow, University of California (www.drkazlow.com), recommends vitamin A, selenium, zinc, and vitamin E to help protect your mucus membranes from the damaging effects of air pollution. And my personal favorite, is to take 250 milligrams of quercetin three times a day. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory supplement used to fight allergies.

4) Wear sunglasses when going outside
Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, creates a certain amount of photosensitivity. Wearing sunglasses helps reduce your sensitivity to light and thus helps your eyes from excessive watering.

5) Bring a cold pack
When you are at an outdoor sports event, periodically place a cold pack over your eyes and on your face to reduce inflammation and help relieve some of your symptoms.

6) Drink a lot of cool water
It probably seems counterintuitive, to recommend drinking water with all of that liquid in your sinuses, nose and eyes. But rehydrating is one of the best ways to eliminate toxins from your body. Besides, it cools you down and provides some symptom relief.

7) Check the local pollen count
If you have severe allergies, you might consider wearing a mask on days when the pollen count is unusually high.

8 ) Stay away from dairy
I know, it is summer and that means ice cream. But if you have hay fever, eating dairy will produce even more phlegm and make you feel worse.

9) Use your bathroom exhaust fan when taking a shower
This will help prevent to growth of mold in the shower. Cleaning your bathtub or shower liner is also important. Better yet, replace your liner every month or two, if you have mold sensitivities or asthma.

10) Keep your dryer vent clear
Build-up of lint in the dryer vent will cause an excess of dust in your house. Have your vents cleaned regularly to avoid aggravating your allergy symptoms.

11) Use a vacuum with a HEPA Filter
HEPA filter vacuums do not recirculate back into the air the polluting particles that the vacuum has just picked up. Make sure you have a true HEPA filter and not a HEPA-like filter. You can tell by looking at the manufacturer’s test results of their filter. A true HEPA filter will have test results stating that .3 microns are 99.97 percent or above.

12) Get rid of clutter
Allergy sufferers need to be especially careful about controlling dust in their homes. And clutter is a major source of dust and dust mites. If you can’t see your floors or walls in closets and basements, you have a clutter problem. Just as clutter clogs your house and obstructs the free flow of energy in your home, clutter also clogs your nose and obstructs the free flow of life-giving air into your body.

13) Get tested for food allergies
Many people who have summer allergies are also sensitive to different foods. These multiple sensitivities build on each other and stress the immune system. Find out what foods you are sensitive to and either eliminate them from your diet or get treated for them so you can eat those foods symptom-free.

14) Find a good natural health practitioner who specializes in allergy relief
I recommend finding a specialist in AAT, Advanced Allergy Therapeutics. It is a safe, effective, and affordable treatment for the relief of allergy symptoms without the use of needles, shots, medications, supplements, or avoidance. AAT retrains your body to accept as harmless the food, substance, or stimuli that you were allergic to. For more information on Advanced Allergy Therapeutics, see www.MidwestAllergyRelief.com.

Ian Wahl, DAc, LAc, CH is a Doctor of Acupuncture and herbalist who specializes in the treatment children and adults with allergies and hypersensitivities. He is the Founder and Director of the Midwest Allergy Relief Centers (www.MidwestAllergyRelief.com).
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