Suffering from seasonal allergies?
Have you noticed that along with the warm weather & outdoor activities
you've also been sneezing and congested?
You may be suffering from seasonal allergies. We have tree pollination from February to May, grass pollen from May to June and weed (often ragweed) pollen from August till November/ late summer to first frost. Mold spores peak in midsummer to fall.
Symptoms often include sneezing, itchiness, congestion, runny nose and coughing. In kids, this may also include eye symptoms called allergic conjunctivitis. In serious cases, allergies can trigger asthma or result in chronic sinusitis.
What's happening in your body to cause this? The body is overreacting to a substance that isn't dangerous. The immune system has reacted to pollen thinking it is harmful like a bacteria or virus. This creates a hyperactive state of the immune system that feels uncomfortable and is taxing on the body over time.
How to prevent seasonal allergies? Some options are to (1) avoid the outdoors, especially in the early morning, and on dry, hot windy days, (2) keep the car and house windows closed, (3) dry clothes in the dryer instead of on a line outside and (4) use a mask (NIOSH-rated 95 filter) when mowing the lawn.
How to treat? Commonly, people use over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, nasal spray and decongestants, or allergy shots.
However, acupuncture can help treat and even prevent seasonal allergies.
How can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture can help treat seasonal allergies by opening the nasal passages, reducing phlegm/mucus production and relieving accompanying headaches and head pressure. Long term treatment can help reduce the severity of symptoms. The goal is to reduce the hyperactivity of your immune system, with the end goal of preventing future episodes.
Mechanisms by which acupuncture can produce these results is by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system to reduce swelling, producing an anti-histamine effect, and reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines (for more details).
A review article published in 2014 in Expert Review Clinical Immunology Journal concluded, "Acupuncture plays an increasingly important role as an evidence-based therapy for allergy relief and can be recommended as adjunct therapy for allergic rhinitis."
Acupuncture may be a good fit for you if:
1. You're interested in reducing your symptoms of seasonal allergies.
2. You're looking to reduce dependence on medications and/or side effects from medications.
3. You're willing to come in for 3-5 acupuncture treatments to get the sustained effect.
Additional resources for Acupuncture and Seasonal Allergies:
References for background information on Seasonal Allergies: