I have seasonal allergies (had sinus surgery two years ago) which I treat with sinus saline rinses everyday. I also took steroid nasal sprays daily (a lot - for years) until doing my first whole30 a couple months ago. Going diary free greatly reduced my ear and nasal swelling and enabled me to give up the nasal steroid a month ago. (I still use a pepper/capsaicin nasal spray - on especially stuffy days, some of which seem to follow even the slightest amount of sugar.) I don't get the whole runny nose and itchy eyes thing, I just get stuffed up and grumpy. (my poor kids) I don't want to take cortisone spray anymore but I am trying this stuff and it seems to help
Rhinaris-CS Anti-Allergic (sodium cromoglycate) binds to the mast cell and indirectly blocks the entry of calcium ions, thereby preventing the release of histamine.
Now spring is in full force. I am still dairy free but I feel my usual reactions increasing. I know I can't rake - due to the earth molds - and I am not suggesting I should be able to do stuff like that (although I want to), I just don't want to feel crappy. Usually I would take Reactin or Claritin for a couple months. This year my doc gave me a prescription for Singulair as well and told me to take it with reactin at night. I did once, woke up tired and decided to try whole30 instead. :)
But it seems counter intuitive to my paleo lifestyle. (I went low carb a year ago and adjusted it to paleo last october). My thinking has been that I will improve my overall immunity by cleaning up my whole system which includes avoiding meds, but as spring progresses and the familiar symptoms return, this year I am questioning the long term negative effects of using anti-histamines.
what do you think?
I would appreciate any suggestions. thank you so much. Lisa
PS I live in the woods. I take Q10, natural calm, fish oil, black cumin seed oil and B complex. My father had extreme seasonal allergies and I have always had food sensitivities and chemical sensitivities (ie - I clean with vinegar, have pillow and bed covers for mites and don't hang with perfume) and I'm not into having lots of local honey as it will mess up my sugar cravings. I tied homeopathic drops last year - did nothing.
Honestly? Probably not, but for now, I take them. I like to be able to bike to work during haying season and be able to see at the end of the trip. I like to be able to ride a horse without getting an asthma attack. I like to sit on the grass without immediately breaking out into hives. Going paleo may have strengthened my immune system to allow me to get colds and flus less often, but my immune system still believes that pollens and grasses are the devil incarnate. My father also has really bad seasonal allergies, and both him and I grew up on farms, were breast fed forever, raised eating food we grew, the whole works.
An alternative is doing de-sensitivity shots, which my boyfriend started last year. It's not always covered with insurance I don't think, but it can be worth it if your allergen is one that is unavoidable. Here is an article describing it (it's called "immunotherapy"): http://www.emedicinehealth.com/allergy_shots/article_em.htm It's a big commitment, 3-5 years, but you don't need to get the shots too frequently. For my boyfriend, he couldn't go outside or sit on the grass or sweep or clean because his allergies were so bad, and he also has food allergies, asthma, eczema, and celiac going on, so his immune system wasn't just going to sort this out on it's own, it didn't seem like. It is pretty permanently messed up, which does seem to run in his family as well (lots of immuno-related diseases in the females of his family).
It sounds like you've got so many of your bases covered- the mite protectors (so important!), no chemicals, no perfumes, etc, that it might be worth looking into the immunotherapy as the next step to really get on top of your allergies and train your immune system for life. I studied microbiology for a bit, and there is such enormous variability with allergies- sometimes when you move they will disappear entirely (I tried that, didn't work), dietary changes can make a massive difference, sometimes you age "into" or "out of" them, but at the end of the day it seems like some allergies follow people wherever they go once they were developed. Ideally, preventing allergies is best, because dealing with them once you have them is the tricky part. There are some people here who have completely eliminated their allergies just by cutting out gluten- I've been paleo/primal for a while now, and literally moved across the country to try to shake our allergies. It just doesn't happen for some people once they develop them.
I wish you luck in your treatment adventures! Update if there's anything new you find as a treatment option, I am pretty much where you are at now- still need anti-histamines for management, and not sure if I should take the leap to something more intensive!