Written by Dr. Stephanie Johnson and Darren Johnson, M.Ac, L.Ac.
Crisp, fresh and cool. Fall is in the air. For some this is a great time of the year, with cooler temps and decreased humidity. A time for hand picked apples, warm outdoor fires and warm apple cider. Along with the earthy and rich smells of Fall come the pollens, mold spores, and increased animal dander. All of which can cause an increase in symptoms for those who experience seasonal allergies.
For MaryAnne K. of Chevy Chase, “The Fall season comes with a dichotomy of feelings. I love the colors and the cool air, however I live with red, swollen, itchy eyes almost daily. I look forward to the rain to wash away the pollen, until it increases the mold spores in the fallen leaves.” The most common symptom of an allergic attack is seasonal allergies rhinitis or “runny nose”, often called “hay fever.”
According to the Asthma and Allergies Foundation of America, allergies are a major health concern. Allergic conditions are among the most common medical conditions affecting people in the United States. According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, “More than 50 million Americans suffer from various types of allergies every year.” People with allergies need to know what allergens trigger their symptoms, find ways to reduce their exposure to those allergens, and have access to the right treatments for their needs.
When it comes to fall pollen allergies, ragweed pollen is the most common and worst offender. One ragweed plant can produce billions of light, dry pollen grains, which can then travel for hundreds of miles. Other weed pollens can cause symptoms as well. According to the Asthma and Allergies Foundation of America, “These plants are responsible for causing most pollen allergy symptoms in the fall: Burning bus, Ragweed, Cocklebur, Russian thistle, Lamb’s-quarters, Sagebrush, Mugwort, Tumbleweed, Pigweed.”
MaryAnne K. used to check the pollen indicator on her Weather App daily to determine which medications to take for the day. Most days she’s going with a full regimen. “That's when I found Dr. Stephanie Johnson and Darren Johnson, L.Ac., at MD AcuMed Integrative Health. I went in for an evaluation, was provided with a clear treatment plan, and before I realized it my symptoms were improving to the point that I was able to cut my medication use down significantly. It’s gotten to the point that I went from using my inhaler daily to 1-3 times a month. That was enough to make it worth my time!”
Allergies can be managed with prevention and treatment. A good allergy treatment plan is based on medical history, the results of allergy tests, and symptom severity. Another way to prepare and address Fall allergies is to revamp your diet. You can start by eliminating some of the major contributors like dairy, sugar, gluten, saturated fat, and processed foods that make allergies worse while improving your immune system. Many people observe fairly quickly within a week of giving up these foods that the congestion, runny nose and sneezing subsides.
You can also consider eating foods that are in season. It’s the perfect time to transition to a diet that strengthens your immune system AND helps to resolve inflammation that is triggered by allergens. Eating seasonal food varieties such as root vegetables, avocado, peaches, apricots, apples, cherries, plums, chicken, beans, potato, cucumber, mushrooms, spinach, squash, asparagus, cabbage, carrots, and green tea all support the body’s immune response. This is the season to transition away from cold, uncooked foods like salads and smoothies that contribute mucus, to warming and nourishing soups and stews that boost your immune system while reducing allergies and preventing colds. Seasonal teas that practitioners at MD AcuMed enjoy include chrysanthemum, jasmine, oolong tea, and nettle tea; all aimed at supporting the immune system.
While you are at it, consider getting an acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture sessions can provide seasonal, immune boosting support and eliminate allergies. When acupuncture is paired with frequency specific microcurrent and ozone therapy, it will help reduce inflammation, promote circulation, boost your immune system and balance out your body, helping it to more effectively deal with allergic responses. Plus, you will feel better all around with fewer aches and pains. Who doesn’t love the sound of that?!
MaryAnne K., added that over the years she was instructed to come in prior to the season to start her acupuncture regimen. “I started coming in the late summer, early fall, and found I could handle the toughest part of the season with much more ease and fewer bothersome symptoms. I am delighted to say it makes my life so much easier. I no longer dread the seasonal changes. I let Dr. Johnson and Johnson be my guides, to provide me with a newfound enjoyment of the season.”
As you transition into Fall, keep listening to your body. If you need a little extra help dealing with allergies, getting rid of that nasty cold or cough, call MD AcuMed Integrative Health (301)592-9355 today. We want to help you feel and be well again!