Combating Allergies with Essential Oils
What Are Allergies?
An allergy is the body’s immune systems rejection of a substance or foreign invader. In reaction to the foreign invasion of allergens, the body sends out a group of white blood cells called T-cells to fight off the invaders. In skin allergic reactions, this causes redness and irritation. Your risk of developing an allergy isn’t necessarily related to something being natural or chemical, but instead it can be related to your family’s health history. Seasonal allergies and their related symptoms are different. The signs and symptoms can include runny nose, sneezing, itchy, red or irritated (may seem dry) eyes and notably can include skin reactions. Allergies can make you feel drained and unable to participate in outdoor activities and, when severe enough, can break down our immune system and play havoc on our lymphatic system. By preparing ahead of time, you can help to combat the symptoms associated with allergies. Seasonal allergies start in the spring, for some states as early as February and continue through early summer. Our first concern is tree pollination, which begins yearly in the spring. We get a little reprieve before the late spring to early summer grass pollination begins. Then in late summer and early fall, we are fighting ragweed. In the more tropical climates grass may continue to pollinate throughout most of the year. When plants pollinate can also vary depending on changes in usual temperatures or an unusually rainy season. Ragweed can grow almost anywhere and most heavily in the Midwest and the Eastern Coast and it is the biggest for allergies. Once it ragweed starts blooming, it will release pollen from August through November. In many areas of the country, ragweed pollen levels are highest in early to mid-September. Aside from Ragweed, other concerns include underbrush burning, Cockleburs xanthium, Lamb’s quarters Chenopodium album (delicious and nutritious), Pigweed Amaranthus retroflexus (another edible and nutritional food), Sagebrush Asteraceae, Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris, and Russian thistle Echinops exaltatus, or commonly known as Tumbleweed. There are many other factors, such as high humidity or heat that may heighten your symptoms. Ways to help control your allergies may include checking the weather channel or on the internet for the pollen that day in your area, keeping windows and doors closed, moisture level down to avoid mold and mildew growth which are contributors and, although rain washes away pollen (all that yellow is gone, after all), pollen counts can sky rocket after rain. When possible, avoid outside activities on dry windy days. On pollen days, take a shower to wash away any possible pollen on you or in your hair. It’s not a good sleeping partner. If you are like me and work outside often, where protective gear such as a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask, especially if mowing or other activities that stir up the pollen.
Essential Oils' Role in Fighting Allergies