Being Healthy: Allergy Alert!
Allergies are the body’s response to a seemingly harmless substance because the body’s immune system is not strong enough to ignore these
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While setting up a new clinic and healing centre, amidst workers and paint jobs, I experienced what my patients experience round the year often: allergic rhinitis. Dust, pollution, paint smells, saw dust, pollen, any of these can cause allergies. For me this was a very new experience since my immune system doesn’t react to allergens normally, but a lot of my patients in Bangalore face this seemingly harmless, yet sapping condition.
Allergies are the body’s response to a seemingly harmless substance because the body’s immune system is not strong enough to ignore these. The symptoms are similar to a common cold, with a stuffy nose, sneezing, itching, a sore throat and a feeling of being awfully miserable. The treatment is usually popping antihistamines till reactions subside. Recurrence is very common as the cause of the allergies hasn’t been eliminated, but only been suppressed. So, how can we stop getting allergies? Listed below are a few tips to get you to reduce your incidents of allergic reactions, hence reducing the number of allergic incidents over a period of time.
Understand why allergic reactions happen. An allergic reaction, like sneezing, runny nose, itching, runny stomach, are all our body’s reaction to keep us safe from histamines like dust and pollen. Doctors prescribe drug-based antihistamines to help reduce the body’s reaction to allergens, hence helping us cope with allergies better.
Up your natural antihistamines. To reduce the body’s reaction to allergens, consumption of natural antihistamines like nettle, vitamin C, quercetin and bromelain help reduce the body’s reaction to histamines. Foods with natural antihistamines include apples, berries, green and leafy vegetables, red wine, pineapples and citrus fruits. When you’re not having an allergic reaction, upping the consumption of these helps control the incidents of allergies.
Up your immunity with exercise. People who don’t exercise have higher cases of allergic reactions. Moderate exercise like a 40- minute walks four or five days a week and gentle Yoga, can increase immunity and reduce your allergic reactions.
During an allergic reaction, don’t try only home remedies. Even though I am a natural healer, I recommend taking antihistamines as prescribed by your allergy doctor during an attack. This is because the body can go into anaphylactic shock and affect breathing, which can be life threatening. After you have taken the right treatment, recovered, then work out a holistic nutrition and exercise based plan to strengthen your body’s immunity so that you will have fewer incidents in the future.
Alongside treatment, do these. While you are on antihistamines, you can implement home remedies to reduce discomfort and aid faster recovery. If your nose and throat are affected, you will cough due to a post-nasal drip. Gargling four to five times a day helps. Use saline drops to clear a stuffy nose. If you have itchy skin, apply aloe vera gel or calamine lotion to soothe it.
Stay calm. Stress aggravates allergies. Stress compromises your immune system. Stress causes disease. Aren’t these enough reasons to let go of stress? Work with a therapist to bring down your stress levels consistently so that you can up your immunity. Stress isn’t worth the importance you give it. Let it go.
Ultimately, allergies, flus etc. are all signs that we are neglecting our bodies and emotional state. Keeping the right physical and emotional balance and reducing stress is the only way to strengthen your immune system and keep any illness at bay. So, start off by devising your own unique plan to stay free of illnesses and allergies by feeding your mind and body what it needs – the right nutrition, exercise and happiness.
This article was published in BW Businessworld issue dated 'March 8, 2017' with cover story titled 'India’s Most Valuable CEOs 2017'
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