Family Forum: Dealing With Seasonal Allergies

Ah, ah ah chooo!!

Yep, spring has sprung. The evidence is all around us, the flowers are cropping up as are the pile of tissues in the garbage from overworked sinuses. It seems we’ve emerged from hibernation this winter all excited to breathe the fresh air and totally forgot about the one two punch mother nature can bring in spring.

One week’s Family Forum discussed how best to prepare for catastrophic natural and man made elements, this week we’ll explore how to protect your families from the basic seasonal elements – allergies!!

Allergies only seem to be getting worse and there’s great debate about whether the reasons are attributed to diet, environmental factors or other stressors. I’d bet it’s a combination of all three.

I had a conversation with my children’s pediatrician, Dr. Arnold Goldman, whose practiced for over 30 years in Roslyn, who basically confirmed that there is an allergy for all seasons.

Dr. Goldman explained how the seasonal allergy chart looks like this “in late January early Feb the tree allergies begin. Even when the trees are covered with snow, they are still budding. Then with April begins the grass allergies which overlap the tee allergies and by the end of May, all of the beautiful May Flowers brings the pollen to last the summer. Then the fall brings on the ragweed allergies typically through October.” You may think you’re safe when the weather gets cold, but then you “face the indoor allergies such as dust and mold.”

We are constantly battling indoor and outdoor allergies and praying that our filters are clear.  Dr. Arnold mentioned the medical jargon for shadows under the eyes are called “allergic shiners” and when you’re child is rubbing his eyes it’s the “allergic salute”.

Oh how we love our lawns, flowers and beautiful trees here in Port Washington, and flying all the windows open to welcome in the spring air we’ve been waiting all winter for. All major contributors to the allergy factors.  

Ever try to work when your head feels like a bowling ball? Not fun.  Our kids feel the same way – a big challenge for kids sitting in school, trying to pay attention to the teacher.  Typical signs of allergies  are – “coughing, sneezing, sleepless nights, stuffy or runny nose, wiping face (manic allergic saluting)”.

About two weeks ago, I was so stuffed up my usually reliable Neti Pot went on strike. I was desperate, my nasal spray just seemed to bounce out, my allergy medication, kind of helped. I grabbed the vitamin C, downed green tea, and hot water with lemon by the gallon, busted out the spicy mustard and went straight to Bonsai for gobs of wasabi. I literally couldn’t even taste the wasabi, it was bad, real bad.  I came home utterly defeated, head still swollen. Cold compress, not helping, warm compress, nope.

I was about to throw in the towel until I remembered aromatherapy. I heated up some water and dropped some peppermint oil in it and inhaled (lamely) but it worked! It finally broke through, for a whole solid minute!  It took quite a few days for my sinuses to clear up, break through, drain, and then drain some more and return to normal.

So while you are gearing up your family to head outdoors and do some planting in your garden, what are your best protective measures for seasonal allergies?

Cindy Springsteen April 13, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Vicks vapor patches are also good on those really bad nights. Also we were told to use a humidifer to keep moisture in the air for major congestion.
Adina Genn (Editor) April 13, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Yes, Cindy, agreed, when things get bad, it's time to see an allergist. With all the breathing tests etc., they are able to see a problem coming – especially when there's a virus – before it actually makes its presence known.
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 05:45 PM
I think it's getting worse everywhere! Everyone I speak to whether on the west coast, east coast or in the middle seem impacted lately by allergies. I've been downing green (ish) juice which is up & coming as more than just a fad but a really great way to filter out and alkanize the body (have no clue what/if there's any hard core science behind it but I've been liking it!! just not really helping my nose right now.)
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 05:46 PM
when they get a bit older and not so skiddish about it, I'll ask their doctor. Friends of mine use it with their 9+ year olds... the other thing is to be sure the water drains out, if you aren't angled properly you can feel literally like there is a pool in your head!!
Adina Genn (Editor) April 13, 2011 at 05:46 PM
JC, that is interesting! That may be why I had a positive effect from taking bee pollen when I was suffering. It seemed a curious thing to try, but it did work.
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Wow! That's not fun, Cindy! Parents definitely need to keep an eye on their kids and what they are reacting to and ask when their regular blood work is done to check for allergies. Also it sounds like you need to communicate with your kids and really have them be aware of what's happening or could be happening if they are running around outside so they are not scared but aware.
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 05:49 PM
damn mutts! just kidding, but that's a great point. throw them in the tub with the kids!!
Joe Dowd (Editor) April 13, 2011 at 05:49 PM
Wow: Great stuff: Both my daughters seem to have avoided the seasonal allergies. But I grew up in a house where all four kids had one version or another. I had chronic bronchitis until I was about 20, and it just went away. It left when my father retired from the FDNY. They simply disappeared. Not for my younger siblings, two of which still have them. But mine disappeared when he left The Job.
Adina Genn (Editor) April 13, 2011 at 05:49 PM
Massage, gotta try that...this makes sense
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 05:52 PM
That makes sense!! I always go for honey when my throat hurts (with a squeeze of lemon) but never thought about that connection. Bees get such a bad wrap!!
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 05:53 PM
I'd love to outgrow mine!!
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 05:54 PM
Does the farmers market in port carry local honey?? anyone know the "local" honey brands??
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 05:57 PM
gotta run back to the drug store!! Humidifier is key.... be sure to wash out the humidifier so it doesn't get moldy (which brings a whole host of other issues!!)
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Would also suggest minimizing the exposure time, so if you have a dog, cat, or other pet or know you're having a play date at a friends house who has a pet, perhaps limit the time spent there, then outside, then frolicking in flowers...
Adina Genn (Editor) April 13, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Joe: Sounds like the allergies were either smoke-related or stress-related from worrying about your dad on the job. Either way, a challenge.
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 06:01 PM
I also tend to eat gobs of garlic, onion, mustard, pepper (ANYTHING SPICY!!) and lots of lemon when my nose is stuffy and keep hydrated!!
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Stress is the body's worst enemy!
Joe Dowd (Editor) April 13, 2011 at 06:04 PM
It was stressful as a boy, waiting for him to come home from a tour. And at the time, the city was in chaos. He's have upwards of 20 runs a night, often to fully-inolved fires in tenements. I was old enough to understand. I wanted to go with him.
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 06:07 PM
And I'm wiped! Allergies can definitely wipe you out and be sure to communicate with your health care providers about your best course of action!! (THIS ARTICLE & OUR COMMENTS ARE HOPEFULLY HELPFUL & INFORMATIVE BUT ARE NOT MEANT TO OFFER OR BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE) In the meantime, enjoy spring and the flowers in bloom & be well!!!
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Thank god for people like your father!! must have taken its toll on you as a child, very sweet Joe!!
Cynthia Litman April 13, 2011 at 06:12 PM
In perfect timing, this article was just posted on the PATCH about how to handle seasonal allergies... http://portwashington.patch.com/announcements/tips-to-fight-spring-allergies
Ronny Bergman April 13, 2011 at 06:20 PM
Hey thats my post ! As a local chiropractor and allergy sufferer I know how my life was changed. At age 13 I start seeing a chiropractor and since then i've been almost allergy free. Feel free to read my story: http://goldcoastchirony.com/custom_content/c_102648_meet_the_doctor.html And if I can help in anyway to help you and your children get healthy, please feel free to contact me.
Alexandra Zendrian April 13, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Cynthia, I hope you feel better. This allergy season must be particularly bad because my eight-year-old yellow labrador had difficulty breathing about a week ago and it turns out now she has allergies for the first time. Everyone be careful.
JC April 13, 2011 at 07:51 PM
I buy honey that comes from south hampton Long Island from the organic section of King Kullen you can also find it in North Shore farms or Whole Foods. For help with coughs try giving kids Buckwheat honey instead of cough syrup. The darker the honey the more anti-oxidents.
Ronny Bergman April 13, 2011 at 09:25 PM
Just a thought.. but what do you think would happen if your nervous system was functioning at optimal capacity? Wouldn't it make sense that your body would be able to fight off these allergens? Chiropractors help optimize the function of your nervous system Just a thought.. and also.. Lynn Keating at AcuPort is fabulous..
Cynthia Litman April 14, 2011 at 09:51 PM
Thanks Ronny!! I thought of acupuncture for treating allergies & aligning the body's energy but wouldn't have thought of seeing a chiropractor to help with allergies!!
Cynthia Litman April 14, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Great to know, thank you!
Cynthia Litman April 14, 2011 at 09:54 PM
Thanks Alexandra! Awe poor doggy!! is the doggy allergic to cats??
Lynn Keating, Acupuncturist May 24, 2011 at 01:34 PM
Thank you Dr Ronny. I believe body alignment through chiropractic (with Dr Ronny), as well balancing the body's energy with acupuncture is a great way to support and heal the body through allergy season


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