Alternative Options for Treating Allergic Rhinitis

by: Stacey M Kerr MD

Allergies.
Image by Monalicious in Carbsland via Flickr

Here in northern California, allergies are a significant health problem leading to fatigue, sick days from work and school, and secondary infections. Allergic rhinitis is a reaction to seasonal airborne allergens. It affects about 7 percent of the population of North America and is a risk factor for 88 percent of asthma patients. We have some excellent prescription medications for treating this, and there are many over-the-counter medications available also. However, BEWARE of the sedating effects of those nonprescription medications!!! Recent studies have shown that an individual on a therapeutic dose of diphenhydramine (Benedryl) is a more dangerous driver than one who is legally drunk on alcohol.

Fortunately, there are also some effective alternative therapies for allergic rhinitis.

Remember: no matter what method you use to treat your allergies, nasal rinsing to clear the mucus membranes of trapped allergens is essential. It only takes about 30 seconds, doesn’t hurt a bit when done correctly, and makes all the difference. I recommend Nasopure┬«, a product developed by Dr. Hana Solomon, a pediatrician who has put together in one simple kit all you need for successful nasal rinsing. There is an excellent article about this on the Nasopure website (www.nasopure.com). If you are regularly using your Nasopure┬«, and still having difficulties, you can try some of the following remedies without significant side effects.

Vitamin and mineral supplements:

  • Vitamin A – 10,000 IU/day
  • Vitamin B6 – 50-100 mg/day
  • Vitamin B5 – 50-75 mg/day
  • Vitamin C – 1,000 mg/day in 3 divided doses
  • Vitamin E – 400 IU/day
  • Zinc – 20-30 mg/day
Urtica dioica subsp. gracilis, American Stingi...

Stinging Nettles Plant

In addition some herbs and nutrients can help:

Quercetin has anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory effects if you take it 250mg two or three times a day.

Freeze-dried stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) can relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis at a dosage of 300mg twice a day.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), also called fish oil, can help asthma patients with allergies by stabilizing the airways. They come in capsules and the total dose of the combination should be 2-4 g/day.

Acupuncture has given many patients significant relief. The Chinese medicine paradigm is very different than Western medicine, so I can not explain the mechanism of action. But I know that it is effective!

See your doctor about allergy symptoms if you are unable to manage them on your own – the nonsedating antihistamines and anti-inflammatory nasal sprays available today are excellent in treating this significant health problem!

Stacey Marie Kerr, M.D. graduated from the University of California Davis Medical School in 1989 and is currently a board certified family physician. Dr. Kerr is a member of the California and American Academy of Family Physicians. She holds a B.S. in Education/Special Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia Missouri. She hosts a website the-doctors-inn.com that provides personalized answers to medical questions.

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