We are exposed to pollen, spores and dust mites regularly. While these allergens can be harmless to many people, they may cause allergic reactions in those who are not immune. Air-borne pollen and mold spores are the main sources of inhalant allergens. Grass pollen is the most abundant pollen found in Kuala Lumpur and their counts peak in March and September. The most prevalent air-borne allergens are mold spores. Cladosporium, the most abundant mold spores, counts peak in February and August.
Other allergens are certain chemicals, foods, dust, pet dander, insect stings, etc.
Dust mites, grass pollen and mold spores
Some children (and adults) who are allergic to substances such as pollen and spores develop allergic rhinitis which is also known as hay fever, where they may sneeze, cough, have stuffy nose, watery or itchy eyes. Other allergic reactions are eczema or asthma attack if the inflamed airway is constricted due swelling or spasm.
Most of the treatments for allergies target the symptoms rather than the prevention of them. Antihistamines and salt water/ decongestant nasal sprays or drops are among the more common prescriptions to relieve allergic symptoms of rhinitis.
Studies show that kids who grew up in filthier living conditions, and had early exposure to parasites and other microorganisms were less likely to develop certain allergies when they were older due to their more efficient maturation of immune system.
Sources: Allergies – Scientific Malaysian | Seasonal Prevalence of Air Borne Pollen and Spores in Kuala Lumpur
How to Reduce Allergic Reactions and Combat Allergies Naturally
Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction that results in the inflammation of the nasal airways. This happens when your immune system overreacts to something harmless and causes the allergy symptoms.
My 7 year old son would be agonised by horrible nasal congestion and runny nose from time to time and we din’t know what triggered it. The doctor told us that it was allergic rhinitis, prescribed antihistamine and nasal decongestant. I looked it up, consulted other mommies and found a couple of natural remedies to strengthen his immune system regulation and reduce the symptoms instead of being too dependent on medication.
Take Probiotics and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
This study suggests that probiotics are a useful therapeutic remedy in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. They can help produce the right immune response to allergens. Probiotics could regulate the production of cytokines which are essentially proteins that modulate the immune system response. Besides the probiotic supplements, you can also consume food like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, natto, sauerkraut which are not only high in probiotics, these fermented food/ drink are also very healthy.
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can therefore alleviate the symptoms.
Probiotic foods. Photos: Kimchi | Pickles | Kombucha | Kefir
Probiotic Supplements: Lacto-5 (10 billion CFU) – 90+90+30 caps | 30caps. 21st Century Probiotics (8 billion CFU) – 90 caps | 30 caps
Tresor Wholesome Plant-based nutrition with 22 types of fruits and vegetables concentrate, avocado, tiger milk mushroom. 28 types of Vitamin and minerals, omega 3 & 6, prebiotic & probiotics, and lutein. It is high in fibre & protein with no added sugar suitable for 6 years and above – RM69.90.
Use a HEPA Air Purifier
HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) is a type of air filtration that can remove 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns (µm) such as pollen, dust, mold, bacteria, pet dander and cotton fibre to keep the air fresh and healthy. All air purifiers require cleaning and filter replacement according to the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines.
Xiaomi Smart Air Purifier 4 – RM299 – RM849 (different specifications like coverage area, noise range, etc)
Use Essential Oil
- This Study: concludes that Lavender Essential Oil affects inflammatory response and exerts anti-inflammatory effects at low doses but has an irritant effect at higher doses.
- This Study‘s randomized controlled trial showed that the inhalation of blended oil from Ravensara, frankincense, and sandalwood alleviated subjective symptoms, improved the disease-specific quality of life, and reduced fatigue among adult patients with Perennial Allergic Rhinitis (PAR). These findings indicate that aromatherapy oil inhalation can be used as a safe and effective complementary intervention to reduce PAR symptoms and improve quality of life among the patients.
- Peppermint Essential oil extract can inhibited nasal symptoms induced by antigen challenge.
Various essential oil brands produce their own blend of oil that targets allergy explicitly. They have been proven effective by many users. Follow the instructions provided by the essential oil company on how to use the oils for your specific needs.
[List of Essential Oil Brands]
Take natural antihistamines:
- Vitamin C – Supplements or fruits like guava, kiwi, bell peppers, strawberry, orange, papaya (myfooddata)
- Quercetin – broccoli, cauliflower, green tea, red wine, apple, citrus fruits, blueberry (Source: Food high in Quercetin)
- Bromelain – papaya and pineapple
Get Rid of Dust Mites
- Wash your bedsheets, pillow cases regularly in hot water 56 °C and above using a washing machine with hot water function to kill the allergens and bacteria.
- Use a dust mite remover vacuum with UV-C lamp and HEPA filter on the mattress, pillows, sofa, etc. This Study indicates that dust mites can be killed by direct exposure to UV-C. While a normal vacuum can lift dust and debris from your mattress, dust mites are more difficult to be removed, you will need a specialised vacuum cleaner, for example with UV-C lamp, HEPA filter, more powerful motor.
- Use mite allergen–proof mattress, pillow cases, dust mite proof pillow protector.
Source: nih.gov: Control of Dust Mites
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