Aside from food allergies (gluten/dairy), I am also allergic to animals such as dogs, cats, birds, and most furry animals (doesn't help that we have a dog and a cat) along various trees/grasses/weeds, dust and mold. I pretty much ALWAYS have a stuffy nose no matter what take.
Does this mean my immune system is always in overdrive, which results in a lot of inflammation? Or do those types of allergies affect your body differently than food allergies?
Aside from over the counter stuff like allegra, claritin, etc, what do you use to help with allergies?
Going gluten-free and healing my gut helped a lot with my asthma (which is exercise induced as well as cat and pollen induced).
When I get stuffy, I like to use a Neti pot with sea salt, baking soda, and a few drops of Dr Bronner's baby wash. I started doing that after listening to a Chris Kresser podcast where he talked about a research study showing that a solution of 1% Johnson's baby shampoo twice a day for 2 weeks broke down biofilms in the sinuses. I tried the Johnson's baby shampoo and just about died from the perfumes, but Dr Bronner's is lovely for it.
Quercetin with bromelain. It is a natural supplement that has done wonders for me. I am a florist, so I am surrounded by pollen from all parts of the world and have had no problems since taking it.
I used to have horrendous hayfever right through the early spring. As in, daily antihistamine and steroid nasal spray for at least three months, and even then it was still like having a permanent cold. Since going gluten free primal I have virtually no hayfever. This spring there was only one day when I took an antihistamine. Having said that, I was already looking for treatment alternatives well before going paleo and I came across intranasal phototherapy - basically a couple of LED probes you stick up your nose for a few minutes a day. Sounds crazy but it really did work, at least as well as the antihistamine/steroid combo and without the side effects. If you're still suffering despite a paleo diet it might be worth looking into?
A friend of mine who is crazy allergic to cats married someone with cats and the one thing she said that worked for her was to hose off her partner's cats with water once a week. Apparently the cat spit (that cats use to clean themselves) was her problem. Not sure how accurate that is but it's worth a shot! The cats aren't too thrilled by it, though, obviously.
I use a Chinese herbal concoction called "Breathe Natural" which contains xanthium (whole plant), fragrant angelica (root), silver (root), and magnolia (flower bud) I get it from my acupuncturist. It is contraindicated in pregnant women.
I used to take Sudafed and an anti-histamine daily, sometimes every 4 hours. Since eliminating grains and eating more veggies, I can get by with only using the Breathe Natural about once a week most of the time. Certain times of the year I have to take them 3 times a day. My almost 8-year-old also uses them. We only keep Benedryl on hand now as a just-in-case because my husband is allergic to fish and shellfish.
I have two cats and two dogs. I am pretty tolerant of them, but the cats especially bother me if there are other allergens heavily present. I live in an agricultural area and when they are shaking the almond or pistachio trees, defoliating the cotton, or picking apples, I go through a box of Kleenex a day. The Breathe Natural helps reduce this and I don't get nearly the number of sinus headaches I used to.
When my sinuses are full or swollen, I also use a Neti pot with sea salt. It took me a few times using it to get the hang of it, but it really helps keep everything flowing.
After going paleo, my cat allergies diminished considerably. Which is good considering we have 2 cats. I am also allegic to dust, pollen, dogs, horses - but I don't suffer even 20% of what I used to. And by paleo, I mean primal/PHD/archevore - or the loosest possible definition.
I do take Claritin during the worst of the pollen season in DC/N.Virginia. I take it every other day for most of April and May.