EASLEY, S.C. (WSPA) — With high grass and tree pollen counts in our area, it’s prime time for Spring allergies.
As part of our Ask the Expert series in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, we talked to a family medicine physician and a licensed and registered dietician for tips on managing symptoms.
According to Dr. Julie Dangler, a Family Practice Physician at Bon Secours St. Francis Family Practice of Easley, seasonal allergies are often genetic.
“It’ll cause an immune response in their body and it will release Immunoglobulin E., which is just one of our body’s defense mechanisms, and what that does is causes a histamine release,” she says.
That, she explains, is what causes swelling in the eyes and nose. To reduce symptoms, she recommends taking an antihistamine like Claritin or Allegra if you’re allergic to pollen and switching brands if you develop a tolerance. A natural remedy option is a saline nose rinse, which she recommends using twice a day.
“And if it does make you a little sleepy but does tend to work, I recommend taking it at night,” she says.
She also recommends showering before going to bed to rinse pollen and lower exposure to allergens. “I tell them to wash their sheets in hot water. If it’s bad enough i tell them wear a mask while working outside.”
In those extreme cases, prescription allergy medications are an option but it’s easy to confuse asthma and allergies.
“If you’re feeling like you can’t breathe, short of breath, you definitely need to see a doctor,” she says.
Research on natural remedies is limited, but licensed and registered dietician Debbie Milne believes a healthy diet could lower symptoms.
“Some foods help reduce your body’s production of histamines and they’re found in foods that contain quercetin,” Milne says. “That’s found in foods like cabbage and kale, apples, grapes is a good source, and onion.”
She also says foods rich in Vitamin C, like bell peppers and strawberries can lower inflammation.
“A good start would be aiming for 7-9 servings of non-starchy vegetables and fruit a day, which is recommended.”
For more information on seasonal allergies and other topics, listen every saturday morning at 10am on 106.3 WORD radio.