Monday, April 23, 2012

Hay Fever Season is Here

As our friends on the East Coast dry off and dig out from under a foot of snow, it's a beautiful 80-degree evening here in Denver, Colorado. Truth to tell, though, I wish it were snowing here too: it would stop my hay fever in its tracks. If you have pain in your upper teeth, in your face, and behind your eyes, a runny nose, and itchy eyes, you may have allergies, too. Some say that this has been one of the worst years for allergy sufferers.

I've had allergies most of my life and I've tried a number of different things for relief. Here's what has and has not worked for me:

  • Allergy shots. They worked--but they're inconvenient and expensive.
  • Antihistamines. They work, but they make you drowsy.
  • Avoiding dairy. This doesn't necessarily prevent allergies, but it may keep you from getting even more congested. (Milk, whey and certain brands of cream bother me.) For alternatives, try coconut milk or almond milk, or even another brand of cream.
  • Avoiding wheat. Here we have a winner. In the two years since I stopped eating wheat, I haven't had allergies until now. Many others say the same thing. If you want wheat-free recipes, Dr. Davis has several on the Wheat Belly Blog; the book Cooking with Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife has recipes for baked goods that are even better than you'd get at a bakery. (The honey muffins are as moist, fluffy and tasty as anything I've ever tried. All paleo, too.)
  • Mucinex. A godsend. Cheaper store brands have less active ingredient (guaifenesin, a mucus thinner) by one-third, but it may be enough for you. Doesn't cause drowsiness.
  • Sudafed. This works, but you may have to take it as frequently as the directions allow to get any relief.
  • Nasal irrigation. Some people swear by it, but it doesn't do anything for me.
  • Think about something else. This really has helped keep me from going on sneezing, wheezing, eye-watering jags amidst pollen, dust and dander.

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