How Functional Medicine Can Help Allergy Symptoms

COVID-19 has most of the world feeling a bit on edge. You may feel ready to diagnose potential infection at the first sign of a symptom. However, don’t panic at that first sneeze. If you don’t have a fever, don’t have body aches, and don’t have shortness of breath, you can relax – you may be experiencing seasonal allergies.

Seasonal allergy symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Mild sinus headache

What causes allergies?

Allergies are caused by exposure to an allergen, such as pollen or dust. The body reacts by overproducing histamine. Histamine is a substance produced by certain immune cells in the body. When too much histamine is released, it leads to those yucky symptoms you know.

Seasonal allergy symptoms show up the most in the spring and summer months. That’s because of the high levels of pollen, plus the wind to spread it around.

Allergy symptoms that appear year-round could be from a year-long allergen, such as dust mites. Season allergies are specifically tied to pollen. However, it could also indicate that your body is failing to degrade histamine properly.

(More information on food sensitivities and food allergies here.)

allergic to pollenHow can I treat my allergy symptoms?

There is no shortage of allergy symptom relievers in the drug stores. Unfortunately, these “anti-histamine” medications only masks your symptoms. It’s like putting a bandaid on. They don’t regulate histamine production or treat the cause.

On top of that, they often cause unpleasant side-effects:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • blurred vision

There’s a better way.

Instead, you could deal with your allergies by giving your body the optimal chance to regulate your histamine production.

Three Functional Medicine Strategies to Regulate Your Allergies

  • Make sure you have the proper nutrients in your diet. Certain vitamins and antioxidants—like vitamin C and bromelain—trigger the release of enzymes that break down histamine.
  • Reduce your stress levels. The pandemic is not making this easier, but find what helps you to reduce your stress. Stress can affect your cortisol levels. These in turn hamper your immune system’s ability to respond appropriately to allergic triggers. Try out meditation, yoga, or daily walks. Take the time to call a friend, or paint something beautiful. Figure out what helps you manage your stress levels, and do it regularly.
  • Manage your gut health. Inflammation in the gut may reduce your body’s ability to break down histamine. Work with a dedicated functional medicine specialist to help you develop a treatment program that addresses gut health.

If you’re looking for a telemedicine doctor during these uncertain times, visit our appointment page. We’d love to work with you.