Seasonal and perennial allergies can really impact the quality of your life depending on the severity. Before coming for treatment some patients reported breathing through the mouth is the only option they have as they are constantly stuffed up, while some report completely avoiding social event for fear of being exposed to a natural or artificial aggravant. This can really dampen your ability to enjoy various seasons and or social gatherings, and ultimately limit your ability to enjoy yourself and partake in your community.
The most common treatment for chronic allergic rhinitis or congestion related to allergies is the use of cortiosteroids; these immediately resolve acute symptoms but can leave you more prone to infection if used long term. Up to 70% of our immune function comes from our first line of defense, the mucous membrane in the nasal and alimentary canal (intestines/gi tract). The use of corticosteroids and other nasal sprays can thin this lining, leaving us without our barrier to infection. Netti Pot has often been heralded for it’s benefits with congestion/sinus issues, but for the same reason should not be used long term. If your congestion does not subside after 1-2 days, it’s time to look for better options that wont leave you at a deficit / more vulnerable to infection!
Conventional Treatments Available & their risks:
Intranasal Corticosteroids: increased vulnerability to infection, thinning of skin and mucous membrane, diabetes, weight gain, hypertension, osteoperosis, fungal infection (thrush), nosebleed.
Intranasal/Oral Antihistamines: Drowsiness or sleepiness, dizziness, dry mouth, nose, or throat, weight gain, stomach upset, changes in vision, feeling irritable or nervous.
Decongestants: irritation of the lining of your nose, headaches, feeling sick or irritable, dry mouth, rash, uncontrollable shaking (tremor), problems sleeping (insomnia).
NettiPot: thins and dry’s the mucous membrane in the nasal passage leaving you prone to infection if continued for too long.
Alternatives & some of their risks - Research Below:
Acupuncture: contraindicated if a patient has a bleeding disorder or takes blood thinners, Bleeding, bruising, and soreness may occur at the insertion sites, Unsterilized needles may infect the patient, In rare cases, a needle may break and damage an internal organ. - These risks are extremely rare and avoidable with good practice and a qualified practitioner.
Stinging Nettle Tea: Occasional side effects include mild stomach upset, fluid retention, sweating, diarrhea, and hives or rash (mainly from topical use). It is important to be careful when handling the nettle plant because touching it can cause an allergic rash.
Pre-Histamine Elimination Diet: If unguided risks of creating a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
STINGING NETTLE TEA [1-2X DAY AS NEEDED]
"The leaves of the plant contain histamine, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine), and acetylcholine. Although it may seem inconsistent to use an extract that contains histamine to treat allergic rhinitis, subcutaneous and intravenous injections of histamine have been previously used to treat several allergic conditions such as cold urticaria with associated anaphylaxis, migraine, cluster headache associated with vasomotor rhinitis, penicillin reaction, and allergic arthritis . It is also known that during allergen exposure, low plasma histamine levels, and not high plasma histamine levels, are associated with severe reactions . A prospective, double-blind, comparative study of 69 allergic arthritis patients noted a significant benefit with UD versus placebo . A more recent study also showed that UD inhibited proinflammatory pathways related to allergic rhinitis by antagonizing histamine 1 receptor, inhibiting prostaglandin (PG) formation and inhibiting degranulation ." Read the full review here [article link]
ACUPUNCTURE FOR SINUS [DISCUSS TREATMENT PLAN WITH YOUR PRACTITIONER]
Acupuncture has also shown very promising results for allergic rhinits; something I have discussed and confirmed with allergists who often recommend acupuncture for allergic rhinitis:
"The ACUSAR study (“Acupuncture in seasonal allergic rhinitis”) in Germany, a multi-center study on acupuncture in seasonal allergic rhinitis with 422 patients, has already been concluded. This study examined the efficacy of acupuncture on symptom reduction and improvement of quality of life in comparison to symptomatic therapy with antihistamines and “sham” acupuncture. The results of this study show a statistically significant improvement of quality of life in the verum acupuncture patients . A second study currently being performed in Korea and China with 238 patients and a comparable study design examines the effects of acupuncture on perennial allergic rhinitis . Here already results in the sense of a significant improvement of the rhinitis complaints and the quality of life have been observed . A final evaluation must also first take place.” Read the full article here [link].
PRE-HISTAMINE ELIMINATION DIET:
Eliminating Foods that contain Histamine or mediate its release; this elimination type of diet is sometimes employed by allergists, but there is some dispute on whether it helps reduce symptoms as the amount of histamines or pre-histamines in these foods are often negligible.
•All fermented foods (soy sauce, soy products, miso etc)
•Seafood (fish, shrimp, lobster, crabs, oyster, mussel, clams etc)
•Fruits sources of histamine: (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, cherries, strawberries, raspberry, cranberry, currants, nectarine, apricot, dates, pineapple, raisins, prunes, papaya, peach, plum, fruit jams/jellies)
•Vegetable sources of histamine (tomatoes, eggplant/aubergine, spinach, pumpkin)
•Alcohol (beer, wine, cider, spirits etc. Including foods prepared with alcohol) •Vinegars (include ketchup, mustard, relish, salad dressing and vinegar prepared foods like sauerkraut & pickled foods)
•Tea (herbal and regular)
•Chocolate, cocoa, cola drinks
•Raw egg white (eggnog, hollandaise sauce, milkshake)
•Process, smoked and fermented meats (luncheon meat sausage, weiner, bologna, salami, pepperoni etc.)
•Left over meat (histamine levels build as meat ages. Eat fresh cooked meat) •Fermented cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir
•Seasoning (cinnamon, chili, cloves, anise, nutmeg, curry powder, paprika, cayenne, food labels that say spice mixes, baking mixes)
•Preservatives (benzoates, sulfites, BHA, BHT)
•Food colorings (Azo dyes). Food coloring can be present in butter/margarine, vitamin/supplement pills etc.
Ask your nutritionist and doctor on how to properly begin an elimination diet program to help you identify the foods that may or may not contribute to your rhinitis.