Fairfield County Integrative Family Medicine, Trumbull, CT
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Relieve Your Seasonal Allergies with Acupuncture

Relieve Your Seasonal Allergies with Acupuncture, April 2013The cold and flu season is winding down and that means you’ll be in the clear for a while from sniffling, sneezing and congestion. Not so fast! If you’re one of the millions of seasonal allergy sufferers, your sneezing, sniffling and congestion days are far from over. Spring is a time of budding flowers and blooming trees and for allergy sufferers it’s also a time to be plagued by uncomfortable symptoms. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is an allergic response to outdoor allergens such as tree pollen, weeds and grasses.

In allergies, airborne pollen enters the body through the eyes, nose, or throat, and triggers an allergic reaction. Normally, the immune system does not respond to mild substances like pollen. But in sensitive individuals, the body's defense mechanism views these allergens as it would an infectious agent and mounts an attack. Once the immune system has detected the "invader," it unleashes a slew of chemicals such as histamine resulting in inflammation that leads to discomfort and irritation.

While antihistamines and decongestants are the usual course of treatment for seasonal allergies, a new study published in February in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals that acupuncture can also relieve some symptoms. Acupuncture is a treatment in which tiny needles are inserted just under the skin at specific points in the body as to reduce certain symptoms. In the case of allergies, acupuncture can bring relief to allergy sufferers.

The study, of 422 people with grass and pollen allergies, found that those randomly assigned to a dozen acupuncture sessions fared better than patients who did not receive the procedure. On average, they reported greater symptom improvements and were able to use less antihistamine medication over eight weeks.

Acupuncture is an alternative for patients who are not satisfied with allergy medication — either because it’s not working or because of the side effects.

In addition to using acupuncture to relieve your allergy symptoms, the following are preventative strategies you can take to naturally avoid allergy triggers.

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days — the best time to go outside is after a soaking rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Visit The National Allergy Bureau’s website (Aaaai.org) for a daily ranking of allergens, including seasonal tree pollens, grasses, weeds, and outdoor molds. Stay indoors when levels are high or very high for those that you’re sensitive to.
  • Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
  • Wear a dust mask if you do outside chores.
  • Remove clothes you’ve worn outside; you may also want to shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Don’t hang laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
  • Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
  • Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.

Schedule a consultation with our doctor to learn if acupuncture is right for you and how it can relieve your seasonal allergy symptoms.

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