As cold and flu season winds down, don’t abandon that vitamin C—one in four of us will need it as allergy season revs up. If you suffer from allergic rhinitis, better known as hay fever, one of the most effective and safest ways to prepare for allergy season is to bolster your immune system to prevent or lessen the symptoms.
What is Hay Fever?
Allergic rhinitis is an allergy to proteins in the pollen of trees, grasses, weeds, or mold. It affects the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and lungs. When these symptoms are inhaled, the immune system overreacts by releasing immunoglobin E (IgE) and inflammatory chemicals such as histamines into the nasal passages. This triggers a wide variety of unpleasant symptoms.
Many symptoms are similar to those of the common cold—a stuffy, runny nose; sneezing; red, itchy, watery eyes and swollen lids; itchy mouth, throat, and ears; sore throat; headaches or facial pain and pressure; partial hearing loss; fatigue; and dark under-eye circles. But unlike a cold, which is typically caused by a virus and gone within a week, allergies can drag on for weeks or even months.
There are two important factors for lessening hay fever symptoms and preventing allergy attacks: strengthen the immune system and control inflammation. And just as we did for cold and flu season, we should first look to one of the biggest immunity superstars of them all: vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a powerful stimulator of the immune system and is essential for anyone who suffers from allergic rhinitis. In addition to being an immunostimulant, vitamin C (along with vitamin E, which enhances immune response) has potent anti-inflammatory benefits.
In addition to vitamin C, several other natural remedies may prove helpful. Many of the B vitamins help ward off allergy attacks and relieve respiratory symptoms such as wheezing. Rather than individual supplements, look for the full range of B vitamins in a high-quality multivitamin/mineral formula or a B-complex supplement.
© 2014 Living Naturally
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