Q: What date marks the first day of Spring?
A: March 21st, sort of.

You may have heard that March 20th marked this year’s equinox. If you’re like me, the difference caused mild confusion. Apparently, the shifting of Spring’s start is yesterday’s news for astronomers. Today, such knowledge effects most anyone.

Some of us feel like there is some loss when we modify tradition in favor of cosmic accuracy. Why should we adjust the tried and true? As it turns out, the institution of a March 21st Spring start may be tried, but it isn’t exactly true. There’s no getting around the fact that on March 20, 2008 at 5:48 GMT, the Sun was positioned directly over the Earth’s equator. In our information age, facts like this change the way we lives our lives.

For many, the wonders of Spring are attended by coughing, sneezing, congestion, a runny nose, and eye irritation. The information age allows us to reconsider our dealings with allergy season. An integrative approach to treating allergies implements a broader and more nuanced set of factors. These truths address how our bodies relate and respond to a springtime environment.

A holistic look at allergic reactions offers Spring healing that can be more effective than allergy drugs or shots and is sans side effects. We’re lucky to live in a time when these options are open to us.

What are Allergies?

Allergies are the immune system’s overreaction to an environmental irritant. Western doctors used to believe that people with allergies possessed super-powered immune systems. Irritants like pollen were cast as culprit and histamine sang, “Here I come to save the day!”

What is Histamine?

Let’s take a closer look at this hero. Histamine dilates blood vessels and makes their walls more permeable. Hence the redness, itching, oozing, et cetera. Since antihistamine was first used in the treatment of allergic disease in 1942, it’s become one of the most widely used medications around the world. Antihistamines were designed to calm overactive immune systems.

Originally, these were knock-out strength sedatives. Over the years, the chemistry of histamine-blocking drugs were improved to reduce side-effects like drowsiness. New generations of antihistamines were revved up. The sedation factor was limited, so higher doses could be administered.

Restricting the flow of histamine can cause harmful imbalances. Regular use of high dose histamine-blockers, like Singulair, comes with great risk. This week’s headlines report that the FDA is currently investigating a connection between Singulair and suicidal behavior in adults and children.

How does a drug meant to balance an overactive immune system produce this severe side-effect? Histamine performs all kinds of important jobs that aren’t limited to immune system function. It is also responsible for simulating gastric acid secretion, regulating neurotransmitters, and it’s psychological role is confirmed though the specifics are unknown.

Alternatives to Traditional Allergy Treatment

Thanks to the connectivity of our times, alternative ways of augmenting our bodies’ response to allergens is more accessible than ever. The more we learn, the more doctors and patients recognize that maintaining balance is an integrative process. Consultation with a naturopathic doctor is a great way to see that your diagnoses, treatment, and preventive course are geared toward facilitating balance. Next time, we’ll take a look at some alternative treatment options like using foods to heal, herbal supplements, homeopathy, acupuncture, hypnosis, and others. Reading over these will help you get a sense of what spring healing methods can relieve your allergy symptoms, because you know your body best.

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