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Q. Talk to us about summer colds & allergies.

These days I'm getting a lot of patients coming in with fatigue from the recent heat spells, food poisoning, and other allergic symptoms such as aches and pains in the body.  Even though spring and autumn are the peak times for allergies, you'd be surprised how often people have allergies in the summer and do not suspect anything.  Allergies can include: frequent headaches (particularly those located over the nose and/or forehead), nasal stuffed-up feeling in the nose (with or without discharge), plugged-up feeling in the ears, itchy/scratchy throat, and/or inability to sleep well.


Q. What is a summer cold?

Contrary to the typical winter cold, which is caused by a viral infection, the "summer cold" is generally the result of an allergic reaction to airborne particles and usually involves an irritating inflammation of the nose (allergic rhinitis), as well as other symptoms including aches in joints, fever and fatigue.


This is due to the culprits vary from season to season. As summer approaches and conditions become dry, much of the vegetation dies.  This, along with high humidity levels, produces an excellent environment for the mold fungi, which grow on dead grass and leaves, straw and other plants (and which thrive in damp weather).  This is the main reason why there is an increase in food poisoning during the summer season as well.


Q. How can we prevent summer colds & allergies?  

Be kind to yourself.  There are a number of ways of taking care of the body during heat waves, such as the ones we've had lately.  Here are some tips:


1)     Stay indoors in dry/cool areas as much as possible

2)     Drinks lots of water - even when you're not thirsty!

3)     Stay away from huge meals: big protein-laden meals force your body to stoke its metabolic fires.  Break up your meals into smaller, more frequent eating times.

4)     Slow down: find a balance between physical activity that you would normally be fine with completing. 

5)     Take herbs.  In order to maintain a strong immune system, I recommend taking specific combinations of herbs at the beginning of a change of season to help the body protect itself against challenging climates. 


Q. What are other suggestions for preventing summer colds & allergies?

There are other environmental ways you can control summer colds & allergies, which include:


1) Keep doors and windows buttoned up during heavy pollen counts; and turn the air-conditioner to "re-circulate".

2) Change or clean air-conditioner filters at least monthly.  If using a room air-conditioner, keep it off when no one is at home.  Once it is turned on, keep the room vacated for at least thirty minutes as some window units emit short bursts of mold when they are first activated.

3) Stay out of fields of corn, grain and soybeans - places where ragweed loves to grow.

4) Avoid high diving.  The pressure changes that come with diving into water can aggravate ears that "pop" and/or are plugged due to the symptoms caused by allergens.

5) Be proactive.  Prevent autumn and winter indoor allergens by lowering indoor humidity in the summer months (with the help of a dehumidifier or air-conditioner).  Dust mites depend on a high humidity summer for their autumn population explosion.


Q. What herbs do you recommend in preventing summer colds & allergies?

0204: Revitalizing Tea (Powder)

0204C: Revitalizing Tea (Capsules)