Posted by & filed under Allergies.

If you answered “yes,” believe me, I sympathize with your discomfort. I buy extra Kleenex for myself every spring, too. When patients come in looking for relief from allergy symptoms, we always start with the basics. Here are the questions we most often address. I know something in this will help you, too.

Is it an allergy or a cold? For some people, the first bud in spring (or falling leaves in autumn) regularly triggers a cascade of allergic symptoms. Do you start to sneeze and sniffle? Do your eyes and throat itch? Do you wake up with sinus congestion or pressure? Do you have a tired, heavy feeling that seems to characterize this allergy season? If that sounds like you for more than a week (and that’s a BIG hint), then most likely you have seasonal allergies. If you have a fever, or if congestion and other symptoms last for only about a week, then chances are that you’ve had a cold. If you’re not sure, check with your doctor.

So, what are allergies anyway?
I call it a case of a misguided but well-meaning immune system, whose mission is to protect you from foreign invaders. Generally, allergies are caused by your body’s immune reaction to substances that aren’t inherently harmful to you. Specifically, seasonal allergies are caused by pollen released into the air by trees, grass, and flowers. Tree pollen, the most predominant, causes the worst of our reactions.

What are the most common symptoms I see in the office?
Itchy throat and eyes are often combined with congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. If not handled diligently and right away, these symptoms can turn into more involved conditions, such as sinus infections, asthma, or other respiratory ailments, so it’s important to take action at once. Also, check with your doctor to be sure you aren’t at risk for serious conditions and don’t need monitoring.

Can you get help from the natural, holistic world?
You bet! There are many steps you can take as well as things you can avoid during this period that will help you be comfortable despite all the signs of spring in the air.

Spring is a time of new potential, growth, and vibrancy. In Chinese medicine, spring is also the season of the liver and gallbladder and their meridians. I think a great way to recognize and celebrate this season and all it symbolizes is acupuncture and a liver cleanse. It’s a safe, easy, effective way to eliminate toxins, recalibrate your body after the winter, and lay the foundation for the active months ahead. (Take note that when you use my super cleanse, you eat nutritious, filling meals, and the cleanse requires just 10 days.) For more information, please send an email to with Liver Cleanse in the subject line, and we’ll get you started right away.

Another way you can mobilize your resources is to use my highly effective 3R System—Recognize, Reframe, Reclaim—to improve your health and well-being during this annual time of challenge. In the next newsletter, we’ll take a closer look at how the 3Rs relate to allergy relief, and we’ll identify five specific suggestions that have helped my patients get through the allergy season with ease and comfort.

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