Advice for Allergy Sufferers

By Carol Rudd, registered respiratory therapist, Healing Choices Oasis

Our nose drips, we sneeze and cough, people think we are sick, and the reality is we suffer with allergies. And I mean suffer! Our eyes itch and our ears and throat, even our skin itches. Those who don’t have allergies just don’t understand how irritating and distracting allergies can be. Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergic disease, and the number is increasing.

So, what is an allergy? An allergy is a physical response your body has to something that usually is not problematic, like pollen, grass, dogs, or cats. Allergens can be just about anything: foods, plants, animals, dust, molds—you name it. Our immune system is triggered by an allergen and creates a variety of responses to defend against what our body sees as a foreign invasion. According to the John Hopkins Medicine website, “That’s the job of the immune system, to defend our bodies from microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi and to destroy any infectious microorganism that does invade. The immune system is made up of a complex network of cells and organs (lymphoid organs) that are responsible for the growth and development of lymphocytes.”

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology states “your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.” It’s that allergic reaction that gets us in trouble! Those pesky symptoms can involve the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach, and the skin. The AAAAI further states “each type of IgE has specific ‘radar’ for each type of allergen, and that’s why some people are only allergic to cat dander while others with multiple allergens have many more types of IgE antibodies.”

So what’s to be done? Avoidance has been the first line of defense against allergens. Sometimes, especially with those who have multiple allergies, it’s extremely hard to avoid contact with an allergen.

So, an over-the-counter antihistamine, which helps suppress the allergic response, is the usual first treatment for allergies. Then allergy testing and shots can be used to decrease a person’s sensitivity to an allergen. If that fails, prescription medications, including nasal and oral steriod inhalers, can decrease inflammation and offer some relief. On the holistic spectrum, things like detoxing the body, especially the gut, can be beneficial, as well as adding anti-inflammatory foods. Green tea is a natural antihistamine and only 2 cups a day, two weeks before allergy season will help avoid congestion! Adding spices like cayenne pepper, hot ginger, or fenugreek can calm a sore nose and un-stuff your head. Also acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage can provide relief of symptoms.

Allergies can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. While allergies in children are more common, a first-time occurrence can happen at any age or recur after many years of remission. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to know your triggers and be prepared, be it a seasonal allergy or multiple all-year allergies.

Purr-fectly Purr-tect Baby from Allergies with Pets

By Margaret Meier Jones, Buffalo Valley Vet Clinic

 Bringing home your new baby is a time of great joy and celebration. As you’ve gone through your pregnancy, no doubt you have received countless tips, suggestions, and various opinions regarding raising your baby with pets in your home. From the old wives’ tale of cats smothering babies in their cribs to increased risks of vivacious dogs harming your baby; you may have been encouraged to re-home your pets before your baby’s arrival. The good news, however, is that children raised with pets have a stronger immune system and are actually less likely to be allergic to animals as adults!

In the study led by Ganesa Wegienka, PhD, and published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy,[1] researchers concluded “the first year of life is the critical period during childhood when indoor exposure to dogs or cats influences sensitization to these animals.” Wegienka went on to say, “Dirt is good. Your immune system, if it’s busy with exposures early on, stays away from the allergic immune profile.” Interestingly, the study did not show a substantial reduction in adult pet allergies if the children were first exposed to pets after the first year of life.

Raising your baby with pets has many other benefits for you and your child. As your children grow, having a pet in the household can also help to keep your child active; thereby preventing childhood obesity. Taking your dog for daily walks with your child helps to demonstrate the importance of getting outside and exercising on a regular basis. These early influences help to develop a lifetime habit of activity and provide priceless memories for you and your child.

As your child grows, pets also help develop self-confidence and allow children to become responsible adults. Going outside to play with the family pet encourages one’s imagination and creativity. I remember well watching my daughter, Emilia, develop games she and our dog, Sara Jane, would play for hours on end. She would also carry her favorite kitten, Toupe`, in a small pail telling us he was in his car seat and they were on their way to the grocery store to buy groceries. Finally, pets can also help our children learn how to deal with grief. Several studies have shown that the younger we are when we learn how to process the feelings of grief, the better equipped we are to deal with it throughout our lives.


So enjoy raising your baby WITH your pets. The benefits that will last your and your child’s lifetime are yours to create and share.


  1. “Lifetime Dog and Cat Exposure and Dog and Cat Specific Sensitization at Age 18 Years,” Journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 2011, Jul 41, (7) 979-986.

Natural Sinus Help

by Debbie Koteras, Owner, Mother Nature’s Food, Inc

“My nose is all stuffy so I cannot get a good night’s sleep and I feel awful!” At some point this has probably happened to you. This happens when the mucous membrane lining of the nasal cavity becomes swollen or inflamed due to cold or allergies. The channels can become blocked, making it difficult for the sinuses to drain correctly. This can lead to infection and inflammation of the mucous membrane. Below are some natural alternatives to try when you find yourself in this situation.

Essential oils have been around for many years and continue to be recognized more and more for their medicinal properties. Oils like eucalyptus, helichrysum, peppermint, melaleuca, and rosemary, to name a few, are all oils that may be helpful in opening up those sinus cavities. Knowing the quality of your essential oils is very important when deciding how to use them. Diffusing them into the air or inhaling directly from the bottle are both ways to enjoy these oils. With many oils, in order to apply them topically, they may need to be diluted in a carrier oil first so that it will not be too irritating to your skin.

Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol in a convenient vertical spray is another option to help clear out those passages. For thousands of years, silver has played an essential role in safeguarding human health. With the development of technologically advanced refinements in the production of silver colloids, the particle size is so small that it allows for easy absorption and excretion from the body.  I know people who get yearly sinus infections that have used this product and have been able to prevent a sinus infection from happening.

Xlear–you may be thinking I spelled something wrong, but I did not. This is a product that combines purified water, xylitol, and grapefruit seed extract in a nasal spray. Now some of you may use xylitol for your oral health, and you would be right to do so. But xylitol also helps ensure that beyond just cleansing the nasal cavity, it also moisturizes and protects the delicate tissues. Xlear Nasal Spray is gentle enough for infants but effective in adults as well.

Have you ever been swimming in the ocean and gotten salt water in your nose? If you think back to it, if you had a stuffy nose before that you probably felt better afterward. A neti pot is something that you can use in the privacy of your own home to give you the same effect. I recommend trying it the first time when in the shower because most people do not love the thought of putting salt water into their nose, but in the shower it does not seem as odd. By doing this it is obviously helping to flush those irritants out of your nasal passage.

Without getting into homeopathy and how it all works, I have to say that Sinus Relief by NatraBio was actually my first experience with sinus pressure and using a homeopathic blend to relieve that pressure. I have talked to my share of sceptics where homeopathy is concerned, but I have a handful of homeopathic products that I always keep in my home and would not be without because they have worked so well for me.

There are many more options out there, and I guess my hope is that after reading this, you will do your research, and if you find yourself or a loved one having sinus issues, that you will think about a natural alternative to relieve the symptoms and help rid yourselves of the irritant that is causing the problem. Getting to the root cause instead of just covering up the symptoms will ultimately leave a healthier you!


For more information, call 715-834-2341, or stop in at 2434 London Road, Eau Claire.

Sneezy, Itchy, Runny Spring Allergies

by Marybeth Buchele HMC

Sneezy, weepy eyes, runny nose, itchy eyes, nose or skin — does this sound like you in the spring?  Then read on for some suggestions that could help you feel better.

Spring allergies can be reactions to mold or to pollens.  With homeopathy, we don’t really care what you are reacting to, we just need to observe your reactions to find a remedy that matches those reactions — and then cancel out those reactions.
So your first task is to sit down and write out, as completely as possible, with lots and lots of details, what you experience when you have spring or other allergies.

For example, make sure you include what your weepy eyes feel like:  Do they sting, do they burn, do they itch, do they itch like crazy?  Do the tears make your eyelids and cheeks tender if the tears run down your cheeks?  Are your eyes gummy or crusty when you wake up in the morning?  Are there times of day you feel better or worse?

Do this with each area of your body that is bothered by your allergies.

If there are symptoms that seem to repeat from one part of the body to the other, that is particularly important.  For example, if your eyes really itch, your ears really itch and your skin really itches, pay close attention to the itchiness you experience.

Then look at the remedy statements below to find a remedy that most closely fits your symptoms.  You might want to buy the relevant remedies before allergy season so you have them on hand. Remedies can be purchased at Menomonie Market Food Co-op, Mother Nature’s Foods in Eau Claire or ordered from Main Street Market in Rice Lake and online.

Directions for taking remedies are at the end of this article.

Allium cepa:  the symptoms this remedy helps closely resemble the symptoms you might experience if you chopped up a lot of onions, which makes sense — this remedy is made from the common red onion.  So for this remedy to work, you would have to have weepy, sore eyes and a runny nose where under your nose is sore because the nasal mucus is irritating.  You might be sneezing too.

Euphrasia:  is another remedy that can work well for allergies. With this remedy, you need to have a runny nose where your nose does NOT get sore (the nasal mucus is bland or non-irritating) but your eyes are extremely sore, they may even be quite bloodshot. You may also wake with crusty eyes and have a tickling cough.

Gelsemium:  for this remedy to help your allergies, you would need to experience weakness and drowsiness with your symptoms even though you haven’t taken a decongestant. You may have really bad sneezing attacks in the morning and may be exhausted by your sneezing.

Natrum muriaticum:  with this remedy you would need to have thick mucus from your nose, almost like egg-whites. You may also have episodes of sneezing and chapped lips.

Nux vomica:  this remedy works on nasal mucus that is fluent and very runny in the morning and daytime with a very stuffy, raw nose at night. Terrible sneezing and coughing in the morning, generally worse in the morning and after eating.

Pulsatilla:  awful, itchy, drippy eyes that are better if you put a cool cloth on them. The person who does well on this remedy will prefer being chilly rather than warm and they may cough if they lie down.

To take a homeopathic remedy successfully, take two to three doses (check the label) separated by 60 to 90 minutes.  Make sure you haven’t eaten anything for at least 30 minutes before taking the remedy.  If your symptoms haven’t changed at all after these doses, stop this remedy and look for another one.

If the remedy works and then seems to wear off, if your symptoms are the same you can successfully repeat it. If the remedy wears off and your symptoms come back and are different, find a different remedy.

Repeating a remedy that no longer seems to work will not work — the remedy won’t “kick in” because it is now the wrong remedy.

Note:  many more homeopathic remedies help with allergies, if you don’t see a remedy that matches your symptoms, check out “The Complete Homeopathy Handbook” by Miranda Castro or other homeopathy books for more information.

One caution: the remedy you choose this year might not work next year, especially if your symptoms have changed even a little.  A completely different remedy might be needed each year, this is why you should write down your symptoms as completely as possible and then file that information so you can easily find it next year.  You could stop this cycle by finding the deeper constitutional remedy, working with a practitioner at a time when you aren’t in the middle of a bad attack.

Marybeth Buchele, HMC, is a professional homeopath who has been in practice 12 years and has offices in Menomonie and St. Louis Park, MN.  She works with adults, children, and the elderly, specializing in people with complex health problems. Her website is and she can be reached at 715-497-6068.