"One of the most surprising things that people are shocked to learn is that many chronic sinus problems are caused by fungi," she says. "The issues commonly flare up in because heat and humidity create the ideal conditions for a fungus to thrive. Antibiotics, steroids and anti-inflammatories won't help your body to fight off this kind of infection."
Torkos outlines some natural ways to get through allergy season without putting yourself in harm's way.
Tactics for your body:
1. Add allergy-fighting foods to your diet. Fish provides omega-3s that help reduce inflammation. Apples, red onions, tomatoes and green tea contain quercetin, a natural antihistamine.
2. Try butterbur. This is an herb that has antihistamine properties, and can help combat the notorious allergy symptoms of sneezing and itchy nose.
3. Avoid using decongestant nasal sprays for more than three days. " Most people with chronic sinus issues are looking for long-term relief. But if you use these sprays for more than three days, they can actually worsen your congestion. Instead, try a saline-based nasal wash that also contains essential oils of wild oregano, sage, bay leaf and clove in a sea salt-water base. That's safer to use every day to cleanse polluted nasal cavities."
4. Be cautious when using decongestant tablets. "The active ingredient in most of these can cause insomnia and a racing heart. Instead consider spring cleaning your sinuses with medicinal wild oregano oil. It helps support your natural defenses against fungal infections, and offers many other beneficial properties. Look for a product that contains P73, a unique type of medicinal wild oregano that is super concentrated. Just put a couple drops directly under your tongue or into your morning juice, daily."
5. Use a high-quality probiotic supplement. "Most people think of probiotics as useful if you have diarrhea. But healthy gut flora also helps your body put up a good defensive fight against allergies. Plus probiotics are also safe for kids to take."
Tactics for your home:
1. Clean the filter on your vaporizer . "If you use a vaporizer to ease congestion, clean it regularly, especially if you're concerned about fungi. The individual spores can be microscopic. If you wait until the colony is big enough to see with the naked eye, you may already have inhaled some of them."
2. Close your windows. "As tempting as it might be to let in some fresh air on a beautiful spring day, you will also be letting in airborne allergens."
3. Shower before you go to bed. "Even a slight breeze can blow microscopic fungal spores onto your skin and into your hair. So be sure to wash your hair, or at least rinse it thoroughly."
4. Change your sheets frequently. "Once fungal spores get into your home, your air conditioning and heating system may carry them from one room to another. It's very easy to inhale spores that land on your pillow case."
5. Use a non-toxic germ-killing spray to keep sinusitis-causing germs at bay. "There is a germ-killing spray that contains the active ingredient in medicinal oregano plus other natural plant ingredients. Keep one in your purse, backpack or first aid kit because it's also great to spray on burns and cuts to help prevent secondary infections. You can even spray it directly onto fruit and vegetables."
By supporting your body's ability to fight the fungi that may be living in your sinuses and causing you such misery each spring, Torkos says you may be getting to the root of your problem. And that means you may have fewer sinus issues in the future.
Biography: Sherry Torkos
Sherry Torkos is a pharmacist, author, and certified fitness instructor. As a leading health expert, she has delivered hundreds of lectures to medical professionals, and is frequently interviewed on radio and TV talk shows throughout North America and abroad. Sherry has authored 18 books, including Saving Women's Hearts, The Canadian Encyclopedia for Natural Medicine, The Glycemic Index Made Simple,Winning at Weight Loss and Breaking the Age Barrier.
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