MORRIS – Each spring, allergies leave sufferers with sinus pressure, a cough, itchy watery eyes, and a scratchy throat. The temperatures vary from day to day and there are bouts of rain, which makes this unpredictable weather a breeding ground for allergens.
Morris Hospital allergist Dr. Hetal Amin said that in the spring, this area sees allergens such as tree pollen, grass pollen and then with rain and warmer temperatures, molds arise.
Also in the spring, farmers begin to plow the fields to plant, which can bring up dust and spores from the ground.
Amin said people with seasonal allergies have many options of over-the-counter medications to take for specific symptoms. She said a nondrowsy antihistamine and nasal sprays seem to be the most common over-the-counter treatments.
If over-the-counter medications have not provided relief or someone has noticed a pattern of the same symptoms each season, Amin said it may be time to visit the allergist.
She takes patients 6 years of age and older. She said children under 6 years of age do not have a mature immune system and at times can have sensitive skin or for other reasons show a false positive allergic reaction.
“Once the patient comes to me, they can be allergy-tested clinically, and then offer allergy shots of the things they are allergic to. There is also sublingual immunotherapy, which is a small dose of the allergen under the tongue that the patient can do at home,” Amin said.
Jen Easton of Channahon said she suffers with allergies and asthma and in the past has been in and out of the hospital with her seasonal outbreaks and has taken steroids for years.
She said she has taken a different approach to her allergy treatments and tries to stay away from medications if possible.
“If we are having a really bad pollen season, I may have to take medications, but not every day. I use essential oils and probiotics for my everyday maintenance,” Easton said.
Easton said for six years she has used essential oils to maintain her allergies. She diffuses oils and also applies the oils to her skin to be absorbed into the body.
She diffuses lemon as she said it cleans the air in her home, she applies lavender for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, peppermints as a decongestant and tea tree oil for her sinuses. She also found that gut health was key to her allergy relief.
“I started taking probiotics because everything is tied to the gut. That is the biggest thing I have done for my allergies beside the oils; it’s been a lifesaver for me,” Easton said.
Rick Eddy, owner of Rick’s Body and Soul in downtown Morris, said pharmaceuticals tend to mask symptoms but give instant relief. His store offers many nutraceutical products, which can heal symptoms opposed to mask.
What’s the No. 1 way to start to combat allergies?
“Local, raw honey. Bees pollinate the flowers and trees: this is a homeopathic treatment which treats likes with likes,” Eddy said.
He suggested one to two tablespoons of local raw honey per day and noted that this was not an instant remedy, but something to make the person less sensitive to the pollen.
Eddy said his store offers a variety of products to help with allergies. Along with Easton, Eddy said probiotics help with allergies by keeping the good bacteria in the intestines to ward off the bad.
“Probiotics leave the good bacteria in the intestines and fight off the bad things in the intestines from what we breathe and eat,” Eddy said.
Also, Neti pots keep the sinuses clean and flush out the irritants that enter the body through the sinus cavity. Eddy also has a large blue case along one of his walls with products for a variety of symptoms.
Along with the case comes a pull chart where customers can find their specific symptoms and which of the products can be most beneficial.
He also has a variety of throat and nasal sprays and Colloidal Silver, which in small doses can act as a natural antibiotic and can be taken every day or as symptoms arise.
To reduce allergy symptoms, Amin said to limit exposure to the outside during times of high pollen counts, shower after being outside and try over-the-counter remedies unless relief does not come or a pattern happens, which was when she suggested allergy tests.