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GREEN WAYS
TO RELIEVE ALLERGIES

As the number of allergy, asthma and MCS sufferers increases in the U.S., more and more people are turning to over the counter and prescription pharmaceuticals to relieve their symptoms. For many these work well, but few think of one of the unintended consequences of an overmedicated society. One very harmful side effect of the increase in prescription and OTC drug use is that while they may relieve symptoms, many of the chemicals in them end up in our water supply.

The human body simply cannot process all of the chemicals and compounds found in modern pharmaceuticals. After they pass through the body, they typically enter your local water treatment system. There are very few, in any, water treatment facilities that are equipped to remove the residual chemicals commonly found in modern drugs. And as such, they most often simply pass through the system and back in to the water supply as a whole. The effects of this are only now being examined from this unintended consequence, and at the rate that federal and state governments move, followed by action by local municipalities, changes to water treatment systems are likely years, if not decades, away.

While you cannot eliminate certain critical medications from your daily regimen, there are some that can be greatly reduced or replaced with a more environmentally friendly solution. Down this path, there are a few ways that allergy sufferers can reduce reactions and hopefully cut medication usage.

A significant portion of those with allergies suffer from respiratory allergies. Things like pollen, pet dander, mold spores, dust and chemical vapors can trigger reactions, and one of the easiest ways to prevent this is avoid the allergens that are causing your reactions. As simple as it sounds, allergen avoidance is comprised of simple measures that many people do not even consider.

When working or spending time outdoors, cleaning or being in any area where you know your allergens are present, an allergy mask is a simple yet effective solution. While raking fall leaves or mowing the grass, a mask can shield you from allergens. There are a variety of types available, from simple and inexpensive dust masks to masks with replaceable filters that target specific chemicals, odors or particles.

Nasal sprays are a common type of allergy relief product that come in both OTC and prescription form. Again, for some it may not be possible to eliminate this type of medication, but for many, a greener alternative to consider would be simple nasal irrigation.

There are traditional Neti pots, inexpensive rinse kits, and even electronic hydrating/rinsing devices that can effectively and safely remove allergens from sinuses and nasal passages. In each of these rinses, the common ingredients are either a mix of medical grade sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sodium chloride (table salt) or a simple saline solution.

By varying the amounts of salt you change an isotonic solution (tonic neutral to your sinuses), that simply rinses your sinuses, into a hypertonic solution (where the tonicity is such that it draws moisture out of your nasal passages. Aside from rinsing away allergens, these types of solutions can clear blocked nasal passages without using chemicals to desensitize the nerves or artificially constricting the blood vessels in your nasal passages. Variations of these solutions can be mixed from ingredients that you likely already have in your cupboard or refrigerator.

Both allergy masks and sinus rinses can be purchased online and in a variety of big box retailers, but regardless where you get these items, they are both examples of products that can relieve or prevent allergies without putting chemicals back in to the water table. These are just two solutions, but there are a variety of products and practices that can effectively reduce allergic, asthmatic and MCS reactions without the use of pharmaceuticals.

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Written by: Kevin Gilmore, Achoo Allergy


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