Allergies: how to get rid
What is allergy?
An allergy is a reaction of the body to an allergen. These allergens are harmless visitors (a cat hair, a dust, a grain of pollen, a mite…) that trigger allergic manifestations in us. But they do not want to harm us!
But sometimes the immune system, disoriented by internal factors (disturbing emotions for example) and external elements (an environment carrying allergens), takes this visitor for an enemy, just like a microbe or a virus. Unnecessary immune reactions are triggered.
Major allergens: pollen, dust, animals…
In the spring, the air becomes a pollen-laden aggressor. These tiny particles are highly volatile. They spread through the air and enter the body through the respiratory tract. Pollens are spread at different times of the year and their concentration in the air is different depending on the time of day.
Tree pollens are the first to appear, in early spring, and their presence lasts about six weeks. Grass pollens follow from late spring to early summer. Then, certain herbaceous plants take over: nettles, mugwort, plantain… Depending on your sensitivity to one or other of these allergens, you should avoid contact with them at specific times of the year.
Do allergies to pollen or dust really get better?
Before going into the practical advice, one last question arises: is there ever a cure for the allergy? The answer is not simple. For an allergy to manifest itself, you first need a sensitive subject, a carrier of a vulnerable terrain, with a genetic predisposition to the disease. This person must also be in the presence of an allergen that is likely to make him or her react.
There are many medical treatments available. First of all, antihistamine drugs: they aim to block the useless immune response, but they have painful side effects, such as a strong drowsiness that makes it impossible to take them when working, or worse when driving.
Pollen and dust mite allergies: the right steps to take
Try to identify the allergens to which you are sensitive, it will be all the easier to protect yourself from them. This won’t stop you from paying attention to other things that are known to cause allergies so that your immune system can really get some rest.
To protect yourself from pollens
The air is mostly saturated with pollen in the early morning (before 10 a.m.) and late afternoon (between 5 and 7 p.m.). Avoid going out at these times of the day. And when you get home, take a shower and wash your hair to get rid of the pollen you brought with you!
To protect you from animal hair
If you have violent reactions to certain animals, the simplest thing is not to have any. But if you don’t want to deprive the whole household of its favourite animal, all you have to do is take precautions. Don’t let the animal enter the room where you sleep, and especially don’t let it get on your bed.
To protect yourself against dust mites
They are small, microscopic, spider-like arthropods that live in our homes. They are the real enemies of allergic people! 60 to 90% of allergic asthma, for example, is linked to their droppings. So we have to get rid of them. Dust mites reproduce at a dizzying rate: it only takes ten couples of dust mites for the colony to grow to several thousand individuals after six weeks!
To protect yourself against mould and mildew
Most of our domestic activities generate moisture. Moisture promotes the presence of moulds whose spores, which are highly allergenic, spread throughout the house. Of course, they are concentrated in damp areas, (edges of showers or bathtubs, kitchen furniture, around pipes, porous walls, cracks…). Older houses are more exposed because they are less well ventilated than newer houses.
Natural methods that help
To these essential precautions, you can add a few daily gestures that will help to improve your allergic symptoms.
Learn how to better manage your stress
Allergic reactions are more violent in periods of great tension (see Dr Rougier’s interview below), when we are going through a period of conflict, problems, annoyances… Regular practice of breathing exercises and/or relaxation helps to limit the impact of stress on the immune response, which slows down the symptoms. Yoga gives good results, as does Qi gong.
Nourish your immune system
It needs a wide variety of nutrients, which you can get from a varied, fresh and balanced daily diet. Focus on certain types of nutrients that are particularly important for the quality of our immune response. Omega 3 helps to maintain the permeability of our cell membranes, and thus to improve the quality of exchanges between cells (in vegetable oils, fatty fish, nuts, almonds…). The vitamins of the B group are involved in immune function (in animal products, whole grains, certain green vegetables). Minerals are also indispensable: zinc, copper, magnesium…
Turn to natural medicines
Plants and essential oils are effective in local treatment. The essential oil of Roman chamomile, for example, alleviates cutaneous manifestations. The diffusion in the house of essential oil of niaouli, lemon and eucalyptus radiata helps to limit respiratory symptoms. Just to mention a few examples.
A special mention for homeopathy. This infinitesimal medicine treats with extremely diluted products, to the point that sometimes not a single molecule of the initial product remains in the final preparation.
Allergies, however painful they may be on a daily basis, are not inevitable. Even if there is no miracle drug capable of eradicating them, you can put in place a series of gestures that, together, will give results and help you live better with your allergies. A way to take charge of your health to ensure your well-being!