If your allergies flare up during certain times of the year, you may struggle with seasonal allergies, also called hay fever. Most seasonal allergies happen in the summer and fall when plants release pollen or outdoor molds to disperse their spores. A seasonal allergy means that your body’s immune system struggles to handle these particles.
Read this guide to learn about seasonal allergies and manage your symptoms with natural support strategies.
Pollen refers to the powdery grains that flowers release as part of their reproduction process. Tree pollen causes most springtime allergies, mainly from oak trees, cypress, walnut, maple, ash, elm, and sycamore trees.
These trees pollinate between January and April. When pollen lands in your eyes, skin, or nose or enters your lungs, you may experience the following symptoms:
Runny eyes and nose
Itchy nose and throat
Pollen is present in the air every day but in varying quantities. For example, there is more pollen in the early mornings than in the evenings, and greener parts of a city may have more pollen than others.
While spring allergies come mainly from trees, summer allergy causes are primarily from grass pollen. Unfortunately, you may experience grass allergies any time of the year if you mow your lawn or lie in the grass at home or in a park.
The most common northern grasses are bluegrass, redtop, timothy, and orchard grass. These grow in colder climates compared to southern grasses like Bermuda grass, which thrives in warmer conditions.
Note: Grass allergies also cause hives and itchy skin in addition to pollen allergy symptoms.
The leading cause of fall allergies is weeds such as tumbleweed, sagebrush, ragweed, and pigweed. Fall allergies can also be compounded by tree pollen if certain species bloom in autumn.
Apart from trees, weeds, and grass, other allergy triggers include:
Shedding pets (dander)
Since these allergens don’t change with the weather conditions, it’s best to avoid coming into contact with them in your everyday environment.
Many patients who suffer from lifelong allergies may have a malcoordinated immune system. This means that their bodies are more prone to allergic reactions due to:
Environmental issues in early life
A major trigger at any other point in life
The main reason for malcoordinated immunity is interference with the gut microbiota. Since 70% of our immune system depends on gut microflora, any change in it affects how we respond to the particles all around us.
Altered gut flora means that the immune system gets its trigger from good particles like pollen and harmful particles like mold.
The earlier the gut microflora disruption, the greater the chance of malcoordinated immunity throughout adult life. Over time, one becomes prone to seasonal allergies autoimmune diseases, and inflammatory illnesses like asthma.
Most environmental triggers to our immunity occur in early life, such as:
Use of antibiotics in mothers
Poor mother and child diets
Consuming genetically modified foods
You can prevent exposure to seasonal allergies early in life if parents are proactive about building healthy immunity in their children. The best strategy is to incorporate vitamin D, probiotics, and omega-three during pregnancy. You can do this by adding the following to the diet:
Vitamin D3 and K2 supplements
Fish oil supplements
Raw fruits and vegetables
A mother’s milk supports an infant’s immunity through lauric acid and probiotics. These line the baby’s gut and encourage healthy microbiota growth. It is also rich in healthy immunoglobins. This is why mothers should exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, ideally up to 12 to 18 months.
Since vaccines should strengthen antibodies, they can overstimulate the immune system and lead to allergies. In a 2010 study, 11% of vaccinated children had seasonal allergies, while only 2.5% of unvaccinated children reported these allergies.
Patients can tackle seasonal allergies through an anti-inflammatory diet that maximizes probiotics to rebuild the gut microbiota. Anti-inflammatory foods also include antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Here is a list of foods to eat or avoid on an anti-inflammatory diet:
Green leafy vegetables
While the following supplements are not FDA-approved, they are a valuable addition to natural support strategies to manage seasonal allergies:
Vitamin D3 to reduce chronic inflammation and allergies.
Probiotics to reduce allergy symptoms.
Quercetin and bioflavonoids are natural antioxidants that protect body tissues from inflammation during allergic reactions.
Bromelain enzyme complex from pineapples, which combats hypersensitive allergic reactions.
Stinging nettle leaf to manage histamine action and regulate inflammation.
Neck injuries can impact a child’s immune system. These include injuries to the upper cervical spine through falls, accidents, poor posture, or even bad sleeping habits. These injuries put pressure on the brain stem and lead to an uncoordinated immunity.
If this is the underlying cause of allergies, chiropractic care is a worthwhile solution to restore the spine and nervous system. Specific adjustments to the spine, alongside physical exercises, can correct the posture and release the pressure on the brain stem.
If you struggle to manage the symptoms of seasonal allergies, speak to your local Kansas City physician to explore your options. A holistic approach to seasonal allergies requires balancing your conventional allergy medications and natural support strategies.
Consider making diet changes, lifestyle adjustments, and taking healthy supplements as part of your wellness routine. Discuss these options with LifeWorks today.