- Environment toxins are increasing our likelihood of developing allergies over time.
- Now, more than ever, children are being born with life-threatening allergies.
- Here are some ways to combat the worsening allergy season, and how to keep yourself healthy.
We’ve been told time and time again that engaging with the earth and being outside is good for us, and even provides physical stimulation to different functional systems in the human body. However, it seems that year after year, more people are born with allergies and sensitivities that make them susceptible to negative reactions, and unable to enjoy time outside or within certain environments. In fact, research suggests that allergic disease has increased, affecting as much as 35% of children. When you are diagnosed with an allergy, that means that a specific level of that item could throw you into conditions such as sneezing, asthma, itching or skin break-outs. It is estimated that only 4-6% of children have a food allergy, which makes differentiating between the two types of allergies important, and incredibly relevant to expecting families and parents. So, what are the conditions for developing allergies?
Allergies are relegated to two categories: dietary and environmental. In essence, dietary allergies include any foods and processing chemicals that may cause irritation to the body. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reports that top food allergens for children include cow’s milk, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, soy, egg, fish, and shellfish. The number of children with peanut allergies has more than tripled over the last two decades as well. So, children are already starting out with natural elements working against them. Developing food sensitivities as an adult can be a complicated issue. Common developed sensitivities include cow’s milk, gluten, and dairy, and are often due to chemical or reactionary ingredient levels associated with those products over time.
Food allergies are often identified by several common symptoms. Runny or itchy nose, congestion, dizziness or lightheadedness, rapid or decelerated heart rate, tingling of the mouth or face, itching and swelling of the lips, tongue, and mouth, or the feeling of your throat swelling are all identifiers of an allergic reaction. Being well-versed with these symptoms – particularly if you don’t have vast experience with dietary allergies yourself – can be super helpful. This is especially true when exploring symptoms with a child or someone who is non-verbal.
Avoiding dietary allergies can be pretty straightforward. Identifying the symptom causes and evaluating restaurant menus and dietary restrictions before ordering, cooking, or serving food is a must. Having backup options like Benadryl, a prescribed inhaler, or epinephrine may be suggested by a medical professional depending on the severity of the allergy.
Environmental allergies are caused by the wildlife, vegetation, and domestic creatures within your immediate environment. One of the biggest offenders is pollen, which is a top allergen in the spring and summer months. You may experience symptoms like sneezing, red and watery eyes, congestion, eye swelling, itchiness, and mucus production when pollen that you are sensitive to is present in the air. Even regular deep breathing exercises can be difficult when facing seasonal allergies. In order to correctly diagnose a pollen allergy, a skin prick test (SPT) or blood test are required.
The internet said it best when it identified millennials as the least lucky generation in existence. Because of the “mess around and find out” mentality of generations prior to this one – particularly regarding our ecosystem and the environmental damage our industrious efforts have created – millennials and those younger than them are experiencing heightened, disastrous effects. The chemicals thrown into the air endlessly are at least in part directly responsible for the heightened food and ecosystem allergies in the first place.
Help fight climate change
Unfortunately, anthropogenic climate change is making North American pollen seasons worse over time. This is what has led to a general uptick in seasonal allergy aggravations, and could make it almost impossible to leave your house. COVID-19 threw this fact into the spotlight, and more of a focus on global climate change has been identified in recent months.
Learn about and evaluate your own personal carbon emissions. Using a calculator like the one provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can help you to assess your usage, and identify ways to cut down. Writing letters to your representatives about supporting climate action plans to drastically change consumption and reduce waste is a small, easy, and sociable action item. Every day actions like (safely) carpooling and taking public transit, combining errands, and turning off lights also come highly suggested. If you have the resources to switch to greener energy sources, that is a powerful place to start as well.
Invest in probiotics for preventative health
An unhealthy digestive system can wreak havoc on the rest of your body. An overgrowth of yeast and negative bacteria can quickly cause issues, as it stops food from being properly broken down. Because of this, essential nutrients cannot be adequately absorbed, compromising the immune system. Not only can this be the cause of fatigue and an uninspired mind, but existence of negative bacteria can lead to a higher risk of infections, allergies, and inflammation.
All of this to say, a good, natural, highly-rated probiotic can work wonders to reduce the effects of allergens on your body. Probiotics consist of good bacteria that enact with your body to balance out an excess of bad bacteria. They can help everything enter a stage of balance, and are beneficial to many core functions. A few of our favorites include Microbiome Labs’ MegaSporeBiotic and Nordic Flora Probiotic Comfort. Check out our full list of curated probiotic options right here.
Maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine
Oral hygiene plays a huge role in the overall health of our bodies. Not only does it keep your gums and teeth healthy, but it can prevent certain disease like arthritis and stroke. It helps reduce respiratory issues and asthma symptoms as well. A healthy oral hygiene routine consists of twice daily brushing, and daily flossing and rinsing. Though many of us count ourselves as adequate brushers, flossing and extra mouth rinse can be a little more invasive when it comes to our nightly regimen. That said, if seasonal allergies are of concern, oral hygiene can play a key role in your health.
Not only can a subpar oral hygiene routine aggravate respiratory function, but people who are experiencing allergies often breathe with open mouths, causing dry mouth. According to University of Kentucky Dentistry, “Dry mouth can also occur as a side effect of many antihistamines. Not only is a dry mouth uncomfortable, it is the perfect environment for cavity-causing bacteria to multiply. A lack of saliva leaves the teeth susceptible to bad breath, cavities, and even gingivitis.” Having good oral hygiene is great for lung function, and vice versa. What a great, simple cycle of health to focus on!
Consider investing in an air purifying system for your household
If you’re looking to fend off symptoms of seasonal allergies, an air purifier just might be a necessity in your future. Even if you’re safely limiting your time outside when pollen counts are high, outdoor irritants can be brought in quite easily. These devices were created to help sanitize the air, to help cut down on the pollutants, allergens, and toxins breathed in by humans on a daily basis. Air filtration has proven its contribution to success with improved lung function in patients with allergic respiratory disease and asthma.
Our favorite air purifier is made by Enviroklenz. Promising to rid the air of chemical odors, allergens, and malodors, you can smell the difference in the air within minutes of turning it on. We’re also big believers in the Allergy Machine by Austin Air Systems.
Other ways to help reduce the pain of seasonal allergies involve wearing sunglasses and a hat or scarf when it is appropriate. (You may have a handy mask or two laying around that can almost eliminate particle inhalation.) Drying your clothes in a clothes drying machine or on an indoor line instead of allowing them to hang outside will stop allergens from sticking to them. Regular rotation of clothing and overall hygiene will act the same, preventing particles from sticking to the skin and hair by all means necessary.
Check out The Swell Score store for curated products that lead to allergy prevention and relief, and many more health solutions.