a statewide queer people of color organization

Dealing With Allergies

It’s almost that time of year again, where the leaves begin to change color, the weather gets colder, and where fall allergies come back to haunt us. Some people spend all year waiting and wishing for this time of year, while others look to this time of year with displeasure. I think we can all agree that allergies are not fun. They can give you headaches, stuffy noses, and make it difficult to breathe, which can complicate existing conditions. Studies have shown that POC are not only at higher risk for having conditions that lead to difficult breathing such as asthma and COPD, but that those chances are increasing. It’s important to know how we might reduce the effects allergies have on us so that we do not complicate existing conditions and so that we can live more comfortably.

Here are some things you can do this season to help reduce the effect these allergens have on you. These things can be done year-round to help with other seasonal allergies as well.

Know what you are allergic to:

The first place to start is to know what allergies are affecting you. Some allergens are seasonal, some are year round. It’s a good idea to know what is in the air and what you are sensitive to. Of course, there are always outliers, but a quick breakdown looks something like this: trees tend to be spring, grasses in the summer, weeds in the fall, and mold is pretty much all year. But as leaves fall and decompose, the amount of mold in the air increases. Other year-round allergies can be caused by dust mites, pets, and bugs.

By knowing what you are allergic to, we can better focus on what might help alleviate your symptoms. First, recognize when you are experiencing the worst allergies. Then, you can check local news sources to see what allergens are particularly high at that time or if there is a new allergen in the air.

Bed, clothes, and pets:

Change your pillowcase and your bedsheets often! Many places recommend that you change your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week. And if you are someone with particularly strong allergies it might be a good idea to change your pillowcase more often than that, depending on what allergens are around. Think of your bed and pillow as large sponges that hold onto the things they come into contact with. It might be worthwhile to get a pillow cover that will go between your pillow and pillowcase to keep your pillow from absorbing as much while you sleep. If possible don’t hang bedsheets and pillowcases outside to dry where they will be covered in allergens.

Take off clothes you wore outside and, if possible, rinse your body or shower before laying in bed. This will help remove some of the allergens off your skin and ensure that you are not transferring those allergens onto your bed from your clothes and body.

As much as we may love sleeping next to our fur friends, their fur is like an allergen magnet. If we take our pets outside and they run around, then come in and jump on the bed, they are covering your bed in not just allergens, but all types of things they might have picked up outside. It may not be possible or recommended to wash your pets too often, but it might be a good idea to give your pet a quick brushing after coming home from being outside, just to knock off all the things that might be stuck in their fur. By keeping our beds as allergen-free as possible, we allow our bodies to take better advantage of the time we are asleep or resting.

Food:

It is important when we are talking about allergies that we also talk about food. There are some foods that can increase your bodies response to allergens such as processed sugar, dairy products, gluten, and trans fats/partially hydrogenated oils. Many people think that if they are not feeling discomfort after eating these items then that means that they do not have an allergy or reaction to these foods. But often times these foods can cause slight inflammation within the body, that can be exacerbated and be attributed to other allergens. It may be a good idea when trying to look at reducing symptoms of allergies to also look into the types of foods that you are eating.

There are some foods that might help with relieving allergies.

Local honey and bee pollen can help your body build up immunities and may reduce your reaction to local allergens. You can use honey as a sweetener, and bee pollen can be added to smoothies or shakes. Be aware that if you have severe allergies, eating honey and bee pollen can cause you to have an allergic reaction. Also, people who are pregnant, or breastfeeding, should not consume bee pollen, and children under the age of 1 should not be given honey. It is best to check with your local healer or health care provider beforehand and to begin with a small amount first.

Peppers, onions, and garlic can help you open the sinuses and provide some relief from symptoms. Garlic and peppers especially have been shown to assist in relieving symptoms of allergies. And foods high in Vitamin C, such as peppers, pineapple, and kiwi, can help your body to better deal with allergies.

These are just a few things that we can do to help alleviate some allergies. Hopefully, these things will help you! Do you have any suggestions about how to help with allergies? Let us know! To read more content like this, and to hear about what we are doing follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.