Do you tune into the allergy report on the weather channel every night, praying for “moderate” instead of “severe” pollen levels? Does your nose cringe at the first sight of pink cherry blossoms in the spring? For so many of us, the beautiful eruption of spring flowers brings watery eyes, sniffly noses and aching sinuses that leave us with terrible seasonal allergy headaches.
The global allergy diagnosis and treatment market is projected to grow from $31.5 BILLION in 2014 to $46.8 BILLION in 2020, so you are not alone!
It is very common for new clients embarking on the Migraine Freedom plan with me to mention their antihistamine as an afterthought, almost like a multi-vitamin, because they have become so accustomed to taking it. Others specifically complain about the side-effects of pharmaceutical antihistamines and ask about natural alternatives.
“Natural relief” for allergy sufferers generally centers around avoiding contact with allergens – HEPA filters in the house & vacuum, wearing a mask, using a neti pot.
Root-cause? Sort of…
Aren’t we ignoring a bigger question? Why isn’t anyone asking what makes us susceptible to seasonal allergy symptoms in the first place? Let’s dive into this!
(If you are fed up and ready to ask why you are so sensitive to pollen and other environmental triggers, jump over to the Migraine Freedom plan right away)
It’s not the tree’s fault you just sneezed
In a chronic, seasonal allergy, the body’s immune system is overreacting to a non-harmful “invader” (tree pollen, ragweed, etc). Once triggered, the immune system rallies the troops and releases histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins which triggers inflammation that manifests as symptoms.
Source: Nature Reviews (http://images.slideplayer.com/8/2291056/slides/slide_14.jpg)
Just like in my bathtub analogy for migraines, my hypothesis is that the severity of your symptoms is related not just to how much pollen is in the air, but what else is going on in your body at the same time. How many other stressors are present?
Back in my early 20’s when my migraines were at their worst, I was working as an engineer and on my master’s program at the same time and was frequently seeking treatment for various rashes and infections, I had to take an antihistamine all spring because my allergies were just terrible. Once I reduced my inflammation and saw my health improve dramatically, I almost forgot what it was like to have watery eyes and a stuffy nose every year. Then this year… when I was moving apartments (i.e. I was extra stressed) right in the middle of cherry tree season, I could feel the pollen a bit more than usual!
Can you think back and notice year-to-year variances like that?
IF my hypothesis about severity being related to your stress-level is true, then the sinus and migraine headaches, the itchy eyes and stuffy noses may be seen as your body putting up a distress flag and begging for mercy (e.g. lifestyle changes that balance the immune system and lower your inflammatory threshold).
The logic here is that if your baseline inflammation is already very high, an external trigger like seasonal allergies will put you over the edge and make you suffer….so let’s lower the baseline.
Mira Dessy, The Ingredient Guru and I discuss this often missed root cause of allergies in this video interview:
Cutting inflammatory triggers to improve health is not a new idea and my suggestions here are part of general health building…that may happen to be especially useful for seasonal allergy headache sufferers.
Let’s just go through them very briefly:
5 natural ways to REALLY beat seasonal allergy headaches:
1 Think anti-inflammatory diet: Cut back on processed foods, refined oils, processed dairy, wheat, soy, alcohol, and sweets, ESPECIALLY during allergy season. Think of this as your emergency fire extinguisher, because dietary changes can have dramatic impacts on your inflammation levels.
2. Consider high-quality anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric, fish oil, or quercetin.
3. Reduce your exposure to toxins from home & beauty products or cooking methods. If we have worked 1:1, then I have likely sent you two nifty checklists called “blocking factors” and “program enhancers” that will help you step through all of these environmental factors one at a time so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. The lower your toxin burden, the more efficiently your body can function and react in a healthy way to pollen and other potential allergens.
4. Take care of your gut flora. Some gut bacteria that overgrow in an imbalanced environment produce histamine as a toxic by-product (why add fuel to the fire?).
5. If seasonal allergy headaches are an annual or ongoing event for you, evaluate internal stressors. Identifying and eliminating an internal stressor like a parasite or bacterial overgrowth, for example, makes it easier for your body to cope with external stressors. Schedule your 90-min in depth Case Review to customize your toolbox of natural allergy headache relief methods and find out if an in-depth functional investigation and personalized health-building protocol is a good fit for you!
Don't spend another allergy season suffering!
Let’s get to the bottom of why your body is over-reactive to seasonal threats!
In your first call we can help you switch to natural remedies that work and shed light on which underlying issues you need to focus on.
Further resources on seasonal allergies and allergy headaches:
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Nothing on this site or in this article is intended to diagnose, treat or cure disease.