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Seasonal Allergy Suffering is on the Rise

March 31, 2017

The number of seasonal allergy sufferers have been on the rise in recent years. There are only so many nasal sprays and decongestants that can be taken to mitigate symptoms and considering the root cause of these increasing allergies is important. The following are some speculated causes for increased allergies.

Toxic Burden
We accumulate toxins from a variety of sources including pollution, pesticides, plastics and beauty products. The more we ask our body to detoxify these contaminants the more burdened that it becomes. Think of our body as a bucket with a tiny hole in the bottom. The tiny hole is our liver and other detoxifying organs and the bucket is our body. It doesn’t matter how much we add to the bucket, the hole in the bottom is only so big, and cannot filter any faster than it is meant to.

This is one reason as to why we can develop allergies and sensitivities after a lifetime of being free and clear. When our body is overburdened we begin to have annoying symptoms that we seek to suppress. The good news is, there is a lot you can do to help your body detoxify. From diet changes and detoxification programs to supplements and advanced testing, there are many ways to improve your bodies’ ability to detox and reduce your allergy symptoms.

1. Purchase quality food and water.
Aim to purchase organic produce when able and meat that is free of antibiotics and hormones. Avoid water that has been chemically treated and if possible consider filtering water to remove impurities. Also, be careful what you drink from, as plastic bottles have been proven to leach chemicals into the water.

2. Learn about medication side effects.
Some medications lead to nutrient deficiencies which can bog down liver detoxification causing a burden on the body. If appropriate, supplementation of specific nutrients can help to improve detox.
3. Consider a detoxification protocol. At its foundation, a detox is about manipulating your diet. Adhering to a balanced organic diet with plenty of water which may or may not include supplements, is the best way to give your body a break from the stress of extra sugar, alcohol and pesticides.

Reduced Microbial Diversity
One thought is the overuse of antibiotic interventions early on in life, mainly under the age or 2, will hinder the development of healthy microbes, probiotics, in the digestive tract. During this early time in life, the digestive tract microbiome, probiotic flora, is developing and when antibiotics are introduced there can be alterations in the naturally developing digestive flora. A healthy balanced digestive flora improves your immune system which reduces the chance your immune system will over react to the environment causing allergy symptoms. This does not mean you should avoid antibiotic intervention for your child when necessary, however, use prudence. While we cannot go back in time and undo antibiotic use early in life, there is advanced digestive testing available to determine the ecosystem of your digestion which can guide interventions.

1. Avoid overusing antibiotics.
When it comes to long term antibiotic use in treating acne, consider finding a more permanent solution than temporary antibiotic use. When antibiotic use is needed, speak to your naturopathic doctor about probiotic supplementation to protect your digestion.

2. Consider supplementing with probiotics that you lack.
There are tests available to help guide the navigation process into finding the appropriate probiotic for you.

3. Avoid sugar.
Sugar feeds pathogens and hinders the growth of the good health probiotics. Getting off the sugar wheel is always a good idea especially when it comes to the digestive tract.

Being too clean is not always a good thing. Our entire body is covered in healthy bacteria that fights infection and illness constantly. Frequent showering, using antibacterial soaps and bleaching surfaces can cause our immune system to become lazy. When our immune system is not exercised, it can lead to overreacting to non-noxious stimuli like dander, pollen, and dust. The over-sterilization idea goes along with the idea that “sterilizing” the digestive system with antibiotics too early in life can lead to immune dysregulation later in life. Research has referenced children who grow up in a household without a dishwasher, where dishes were washed by hand, develop less allergies later in life. I’m certainly not willing to ditch the dishwasher but it does lend itself to the idea that the OCD cleanliness we strive for may not be best.

1. Switch all hand soaps from anti-bacterial to regular soap.
Scrubbing with warm water and plain soap is all you need for clean hands!

2. Avoid the use of bleach on surfaces.
Consider using white vinegar with essential oils or other natural products offered on the market. They work just as well to cleanse while not sterilizing.

3. Limit showers.
Aim for no more than one shower per day unless necessary due to exercise or work.

From prevention to treatment there are an array of options for allergy sufferers. Look beyond the decongestants and banish them for good!

Dr. Ashley Burkman ND, is a naturopathic physician at Connecticut Natural Health Specialists, LLC. She is an in network provider for most insurance companies and is accepting new patients. For more information, please call: (860) 533-0179 or visit:

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