10 simple ways to combat allergic reactions

By Katarina Cepinova, Corporate Nutritionist

It’s Allergy Awareness week from 18 – 24th April 2016 and I have been rounding up all the research around allergies and intolerances for my new seminar on this topic, about to be launched next month in time for the Awareness week. (Please get in touch if you would like to know more).

With Spring nearly upon us, many can’t wait for the sun and warm weather to set in and more greenery to flourish. For some this is a start of a dreaded season marred by feelings of drowsiness, itchy red eyes and continuous sneezing and coughing.

Sound familiar? Do you get frustrated with your non stop runny nose on a packed commuter train, feeling tired and lethargic and struggling to focus on your work? Or that stubborn skin rash that just won’t go away, or the uncomfortable bloating and irritation after lunch? You’re not alone.

Allergies are becoming increasingly more common, affecting approximately 1 in 2 people in the UK. It’s estimated that 21 million adults suffer with at least one allergy [1]. Year on year the number increases by 5%, expected to affect more than 50% of all Europeans in 10 years’ time [2].

Many organizations, charities and medical bodies such as the World Allergy organization, Allergy UK and Action Against Allergy focus their work on increasing the awareness and understanding of different allergies. As a Nutritional Therapist myself, improving the personal wellbeing of people experiencing allergies has always been my main focus. I help my clients to identify their allergy triggers, reduce their symptoms and improve their overall health and immunity.

Allergic reactions can take many forms and can range from severe, such as difficulty with breathing, swollen tongue & throat, drop in blood pressure, skin rash and even loss of consciousness, to moderate and mild including watery eyes, runny nose, eczema, asthma, bloating and digestive discomfort.

An allergic response happens when the body identifies a foreign particle as an invader and launches a protective reaction, causing immune cells to activate a release of chemicals known as antibodies. This response produces symptoms of what we see as an allergic reaction. In food allergies and intolerances, what people actually react to are particular types of small protein compounds found in food or allergens which the immune system mistakes for harmful toxins. In severe allergic reactions, which are actually quite rare, a person goes into a state called anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening [3].

Most common allergic reactions can be triggered by:

  • Food allergens: nuts (including peanuts), fish / shellfish, eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten, soya
  • Respiratory allergens: pollen (hayfever), dust mites, mold, pets
  • Skin allergens: additives and chemical components in cosmetics, hair dyes, personal care products, metals in jewelry
  • Drug allergens: medications (paracetamol, aspirin, penicillin).
  • Insect Bites: bee and wasp stings
  • Material allergens: rubber, latex

Living with an allergy can have a huge impact on a person’s energy levels, their concentration, mood & sleep patterns, affecting their daily work and performance. A report published by Allergy UK in 2015 revealed that 5.7 million people with allergies reported worse symptoms during their time spent at work. [4].

Here at Superwellness, as corporate nutritionists, our focus is to raise the understanding of different allergic reactions, triggers, symptom management & prevention and to introduce manageable steps to boost the wellbeing and performance of people at work. If you would like to know more details about our programmes, please do get in touch.

Simple steps can make a huge difference in combating allergies. You can support your body to reduce your symptoms and frequency of reactions. Here are my top tips to achieve this:

 

10 Top TIPS to combat the symptoms of allergies:

  1. Try to eliminate your exposure to allergens and potential triggers you suspect or have identified – in food, indoors, outdoors & in the workplace.
  2. Cleaning fluids & aerosols used indoors as well as for personal hygiene can irritate and add further toxic load on the body – have you tried swapping them for natural organic options?
  3. Highly polluted areas especially during peak times can be aggravating – an alternative route through the park or side streets might be more fun and peaceful.
  4. During high pollen count – try to stay indoors if possible, shutting the doors and windows in the house or office. This will help you to keep symptoms under control.
  5. Your darling pets can leave their hairy tracks everywhere – time to invest in a good lightweight hoover and funky floorboards to make the cleaning job easier.
  6. Dust mites are invisible to the naked eye – but a hot wash cycle and swapping to hypoallergenic pillows can help to eliminate these unwanted guests.
  7. Mold can occur in areas affected by dampness and lack of ventilation – try to scrub the mold off whilst airing the area well during and after.
  8. Food triggers are becoming very common – it helps to rotate different types of foods to give the body a variety of choices and nutrients whilst spotting the bad culprits to which you can react. Explore your local health store for great healthy alternatives to dairy and gluten – such as Almond and Coconut milk and Buckwheat and Millet.
  9. Drink at least 2L of water (6-8 glasses) every day to reduce the severity of reactions and help your body to eliminate allergens.
  10. It helps to check product labels when shopping as potential allergens can be hidden in processed and packed foods, toiletries and cosmetics. Be aware of possible cross contamination of food allergens when eating out.

Would you like to raise awareness of allergies in your organization? I am launching my brand new seminar on ‘Allergies and Intolerances – The rise of Free From’ for Allergy Awareness Week 18th – 24th April 2016. Click here to contact us for more information.

Katarina is an accredited Nutritional Therapist with a specialism in supporting clients with allergies, food sensitivities, digestive issues, immune-compromised and nutrient deficient developing tailor made nutritional and wellbeing plans.

As a Superwellness Corporate Associate she has a special interest in delivering wellbeing programs, subject talks and events within the Retail sector, amongst others, enabling employers to focus on optimizing employees’ health and wellbeing through manageable bite-sized steps.

Katarina is a graduate from the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London, a well-known college accredited to the Nutritional Therapy Council. She is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and is on a register of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

[1] Allergy UK (2015) ‘Mintel report 2010’. Available at: https://www.allergyuk.org/allergy-statistics/allergy-statisticsAccessed on: 23rd February 2016.

[2] Allergy UK (2015) ‘EAACI, 2011’ Available at: https://www.allergyuk.org/allergy-statistics/allergy-statistics Accessed on: 23rd February 2016.

[3] Allergy UK (2015) ‘Types of Allergic reaction’. Available at: https://www.allergyuk.org/severe-allergy-and-anaphylaxis/severe-allergy-and-anaphylaxis Accessed on: 25th February 2016.

[4] Allergy UK (2015) ‘Work Fever. A report on allergies in the workplace.’ Available at: https://www.allergyuk.org/downloads/Work-Fever—FINAL-VERSION—NOV-2012.pdf Accessed on 25th February 2016.