Allergy season is upon us in full force, and there is only so much torturously itchy eyes and perpetually sneezy noses that anyone can take before completely losing all faith in holistic health. I personally don’t suffer from seasonal allergies, although I do react to dust/dust mites while cleaning, but one of my daughters, however, has eyes that swell up like a balloon once this time of year hits. Last year was the first year this happened to her, so this year I was expecting it and have been trying quite a few methods of counteracting her seasonal allergies, and I would like to share them with you today.
As most of our gut health-obsessed experts would agree on, since more than 80% of your immune system exists in your gut, the #1 way to prevent allergies is by rebalancing your gut microbiome and working on achieving optimal gut health. As someone who has been working with the GAPS diet for more than a year now, I can confidently say that this is much easier said than done. But as Dr. Amy Myers, holistic physician and Medical Director at the infamous Texas Functional Medicine and Nutrition Clinic, Austin UltraHealth, notes, “Allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion, are caused by your immune system responding to something in the environment, such as pollen in the air. The reason your responses to these environmental allergens is heightened is often because your immune system is on high alert due to chronic inflammation. Your overactive, overstimulated immune system becomes hypersensitive to seasonal allergens, and the response manifests in symptoms such as congestion, coughing, itchy eyes, and sneezing.” This is basically why the key to reducing seasonal allergies is to calm the inflammation in your gut in order to restore your immune system’s balance.
But healing your leaky gut can take months, even years, and we all know doing this major of a diet overhaul with a preschooler is not easy— so what the heck is a mom to do in this present moment with a child that is just inconsolably suffering from seasonal allergies? Doctors will tell you to take the Claritin or Zyrtec (I’m not saying don’t take your doctor’s advice), because sure they may help for a temporary fix, but not only do allergy medications carry a slew of adverse side effects (I can’t with the side effects!), they really, at-best, only mask symptoms. You can treat the symptoms as naturally as possible, but most importantly, attempt at trying to prevent the symptoms from even manifesting in the first place. This is why controlling the source of allergens is a critical step to reducing allergic response. Source control includes keeping your child inside during high pollen count days, regular vacuuming, hypoallergenic sheets and pillowcases, minimizing carpets, and (IMO, most importantly) air filtration. THE most important thing you can do is ensure that you are breathing clean air.
“Indoor air is rated by the EPA, and all our research indicates that it’s five times worse than outdoor air,” says Max Kirk, Ph.D., an associate professor at Washington State University who researches indoor air quality. “As we tighten up our homes for energy efficiency, we live in more of a soup than we ever have before.” The ingredients in that unsavory soup include chemical gases emitted by furniture, household cleaning products, obvious allergens like dust, but also outside pollution that makes its way in and stays there. Of course, there can be less flagrant invaders when it comes to indoor air quality, as Julie Kuriakose, M.D., of the Tribeca branch of Hudson Allergy notes. Come spring—and the tree pollen that arrives with it—her offices are flooded with people seeking relief. Among the top indoor offenders are pet dander, irritants like scented candles and air fresheners, and microscopic dust mites, which are found in bedding, fabric-covered furniture, and feather-filled items like down jackets and comforters. Kuriakose recommends an array of commonsense tips including investing in dust-mite covers for pillows, frequent vacuuming, and showering at night to wash off any pollen that has hitched a ride indoors.
I wanted to share this awesome list of NASA-approved house plants that have been tested for their superior air-purifying qualities regarding other (in most cases, even chemical) indoor air pollutants:
“Of course, blooming trees and walks around the city can exacerbate your allergies; but when these allergens follow you home–and they will–your body is robbed of the time it needs to rest and recover, meaning you wake up feeling even worse,” says Jaya Rao, COO of Molekule. “With Molekule, you can offer yourself that room to breathe and allow your body recuperate, even in the thick of allergy season.” I decided that I had to test this new-age air purifier and be the judge for myself. And let me tell you, my daughter now sleeps with it by her bed side.
Air purification is no new invention—people have been trying to filter the air in their homes for decades now. But I’ve learned that even the most state-of-the-art-claiming HEPA-certified air filters can only do so much: in fact, HEPA’s World War II-era tech solely collects particulates and can even allow allergy-exacerbating pollutants like mold to live and breed on the filter, making the initial problem worse. Unlike all other air purifiers to date, Molekule’s Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) technology does not just capture, but completely destroys the full spectrum of indoor pollutants, including those 1000x smaller than a HEPA filter can catch. This means that the Molekule air purifier is literally the world’s first purifier that completely eliminates and destroys airborne mold.
The unit itself is sleek and stylish—you can’t even hear it when it is in silent mode, and almost has a decorative vibe about it in the room. It works by means of two filters: a Pre-Filter and a Nano-Filter. The Pre-Filter captures larger particles such as dust and pet hair, while the Nano-Filter is coated by a proprietary catalyst that breaks down pollutants at a molecular level when activated by light. It is able to completely replace the air in a 600 square foot room (which is a space bigger than our living room) once an hour. So if you are having an allergy attack, rest assured that once you enter the room with this 360° air intake, pulling in pollutants from all sides, you can smell the difference in that clean air evenly across the entire room. It’s almost like a fresh-air-after-the-rain type clean feeling to the air. Seriously impressive.
To really top things off, my research leads me into the direction of not only reducing indoor air pollution with regards to allergies, but what about the dreaded cold and flu season? This air purifier is proven to have successfully created the technology that actually remove and destroys viruses floating around in the air too. I mean, every classroom in the world needs one of these units, along with a little Thieves diffusing in the background—amiright? So despite the price tag, would I recommend the Molekule air purifier? WITHOUT A DOUBT.
After playing outside and coming in with swollen, itchy, red eyes, I give my daughter a dose of Hyland’s Allergy Relief 4 Kids homeopathic tablets, a few Similasan Kids Allergy Eye Relief Drops and throw her into a detox bath (with Epsom salts, apple cider vinegar and baking soda) to let her rinse herself, especially rinsing her eyes, thoroughly. The Molekule unit is on in her bedroom and with it, she sleeps soundly all night long, waking up looking nothing short of a Sleeping Beauty commercial. Her snoring is non-existent because she is able to breathe easily through her nose. Even if I can’t keep her indoors all day during this high pollen season, at least I rest assured that she is getting the most restorative sleep she can in order to combat these allergies thanks so this protocol. I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about what else has been working for us. But for now– we are still working on her gut-health, FOR SURE!
Be well my friends.