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How to Stop Pesky Seasonal Allergies at Their Root

Aug 29, 2022 | The Healthy Way Newsletter archive

Tired of carrying Benadryl everywhere?

Weren’t allergies supposed to be over after spring? Not really.

Sinus congestion, watery eyes, and uncontrollable itchiness may be unwanted guests through your summer and fall adventures. But, there are ways to keep them at bay while minimizing the need for medication.
 

What Are Seasonal Allergies?

Allergies are your body’s response to environmental elements, foods, and other substances perceived as threats. These are known as allergens

When your immune system detects an allergen, you produce antibodies to get rid of it. This process releases the hormone histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream, causing inflammation of tissues and irritating symptoms.

Seasonal allergies refer to respiratory allergies, also called allergic rhinitis or hay fever, that tend to occur during specific seasons (mainly through spring, summer, and fall). According to Asthma Canada, 1 in every 5 Canadians deals with seasonal allergies, so natural ways to fend off unpleasant symptoms can help 1 in 5 Canadians leave the Benadryl at home!

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies

  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Post nasal drip
  • Itchy, red, and watery eyes
  • Scratchy nose, ears, and throat
  • Sinus pressure
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Unstoppable Sneezing

Seasonal allergies can also spark asthma-related symptoms like shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and wheezing.

 

Causes of Seasonal Allergies

These allergies are seasonal because they may be caused by increased exposure to seasonal allergens, such as:
  • Pollen – Tiny airborne grains from trees, grass, flowers, and weeds.
  • Mould – Fungi spores that thrive in damp indoor and outdoor areas.

Tree pollen is typical in the spring, and grass pollen in the summer. Ragweed pollen and mould generally spike during late summer and fall. However, seasonal allergens may vary depending on your location and weather.

Environmental allergens that may be present all year long include:
  • Animal dander
  • Dust mites
  • Pollutants and irritants (e.g., smoke, gases)
  • Scents or fragrances

Most Canadians have reported being allergic to pollen or grass, followed by animals and dust mites, so it’s not just you!

 

What allergens are in Toronto right now?

This summer, Toronto is seeing moderate levels of mould and pollen from ragweed and grass. Air pollution remains within low-risk levels, though it may fluctuate. 

If you’re planning a weekend camping trip or an afternoon in the park, check Toronto’s Allergy Outlook.

Weather conditions can trigger seasonal allergy symptoms, particularly if combined with other risk factors.


Risk Factors of Seasonal Allergies

  • Genetics and family history: If you have a genetic predisposition or a family history of allergic diseases like allergic rhinitis or asthma, you might be prone to seasonal allergies.

     

  • Infections: A decrease in viral and bacterial infections may impact your immune system’s sensitivity and response to allergens.

     

  • Pollution: Air pollution may increase pollen’s strength and compromise your defences. Smoke, for example, can worsen allergy symptoms like wheezing.

     

  • Weather conditions:
    • Temperature: Pollen levels rise during warm days and cool evenings. Mould is fueled by hot weather.
    • Humidity: Mould grows faster in humid environments.
    • Wind: Airborne allergens easily float and transport in windy conditions. 
    • Rain: Showers might wash pollen out, yet pollen levels may rise again once the rain is over.
  • Hormone imbalance: Your body is comprised of specialized interconnected systems. What happens in one system affects the others and vice versa. Hormone imbalances occur when you have too much or too little of a hormone, resulting in severe disruptions.

Do Hormones Affect Allergies? 

Hormone imbalances can affect your immune’s system response to allergies:
  • Histamine is the hormone released when your body detects an allergen, causing inflammation and allergy symptoms.
  • Estrogen boosts histamine production. 
  • Progesterone breaks down histamine or inhibits it. 

Hormonal imbalances such as excess estrogen and progesterone deficiency might increase histamine levels, thus causing intense allergic reactions. 

Allergy symptoms may also worsen in women right before ovulation (when estrogen is at its peak), after childbirth, or during menopause (when hormone levels fluctuate).


Do Allergies Affect Hormones?

Allergies can also change your hormones in a few ways:
  • While estrogen raises histamine, histamine can also promote estrogen production, starting a tricky cycle.

     

  • Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is an anti-inflammatory hormone produced in the adrenal glands. The more allergies you experience, the more cortisol is needed to relieve the inflammation. Suppose your adrenal glands cannot produce enough cortisol to keep up. In that case, you may experience adrenal fatigue and deplete your immune system, making it even more sensitive to allergies.
As you can see, the relationship between allergies and hormones is an intricate feedback loop which can either hurt you or help you.


3 Natural Ways to Balance Hormones and Stop Seasonal Allergies

While antihistamines and other over-the-counter medications may be your go-to, they focus on plastering over allergy symptoms instead of addressing the source. As soon as you stop taking them, symptoms may come rushing back.

Understanding the hormone-allergy connection and balancing your hormones can help you prevent seasonal allergies before they become a problem.

Without understanding your unique health condition, the best I can do is provide a general understanding of steps you can take to hopefully ease symptoms of seasonal allergies.


1. Reduce Exposure to Environmental Toxins

Reduce your contact with environmental toxins or endocrine-disrupting chemicals that may mimic estrogen.

These toxins can be found in processed foods, beauty products, packaging, and other industrial materials. Common examples include pesticides, plastics, parabens, and phthalates.


2. Opt For a High-Fiber and Low-Histamine Diet

Eating fresh and unprocessed foods replenishes your body with nutrients and regulates your estrogen load.
 

Add more fibre to your diet with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (especially veggies from the cabbage family) to reduce estrogen levels and support its metabolism.

 

Avoid consuming high-histamine foods or foods that may trigger histamine release, such as:
  • Aged cheese
  • Citrus fruits
  • Cured meats
  • Dried fruits
  • Fermented products (e.g., alcohol, vinegar, yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut)
  • Packaged foods or food additives

For allergy symptoms and overall wellbeing, it’s best to keep your gut healthy.


3. Relieve Stress

Soaring stress prompts high levels of cortisol and low levels of progesterone, creating the risk of increasing histamine and allergy symptoms. 

Find strategies to manage stress by scheduling daily breaks, spending time outdoors, interacting with loved ones, moving your body, or doing something fun. 

 

There is no silver bullet for stress. Opt for an activity or a combination of practices that fit your lifestyle and help you navigate challenges.


Seasonal Allergies and Hormone Balance Treatment in Toronto

If you’ve tried these three practices but still find that allergies disrupt your life, I can help.

 

Balancing your hormones and mitigating allergy symptoms may require a holistic approach, looking into your health history, environment, nutrition, lifestyle, and other components. With this approach, you may notice improvements in your health above and beyond the taming of allergy symptoms.

Take a deeper look into your health and create a plan that supports your well-being while curbing those pesky seasonal allergies. Book a Naturopathic Assessment today.

Yours in good health,
Dr. Elena Krasnov, N.D.

This content is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Even though we are doctors, we are not your doctorsTalk to your doctor first if you have serious concerns.

Recipes

These easy summer recipes are packed with antihistamines. While they most likely won’t stop your allergy symptoms for good, they may ease the severity of those symptoms.

Pineapple smoothie

Fruit Smoothie

Quick, delicious, and healthy!

Cauliflower salad

Caramelized Cauliflower

A simple dish of complex flavours

Salmon en Papillote

Easier to make than fancy looks.

About Me

I'm Dr. Elena Krasnov, N.D and I've been healing people for over 20 years with my holistic and comprehensive approach to health.

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