Maybe you would like to take a trip and get away from the pollution of the cities. You think that going to the Shenandoah Valley would be a nice refreshing experience. The Shenandoah Valley has the Allegheny Mountains as the western border, the Blue Ridge Mountains as the eastern border, and the Massanutten Mountain range in the middle. These mountain ranges are stunningly beautiful. So, you hop in your car and off you go.
As you are driving down I-81, you notice that when you reach a certain point in your trip, your eyes start itching and burning, you start sneezing and coughing. Why? The soil in The Valley is difficult to work, so the primary industry in the Shenandoah Valley is poultry farming.
As of 2019, the Shenandoah Valley is one of the top poultry producing and processing regions in the United States with over 800 poultry farms and growing. Poultry pollution is a major allergen in The Valley. Feathers, bedding, and manure all contribute to pollution. Poultry manure contains high levels of sulfur and nitrous oxide. These compounds react with air to form acid compounds and eventually acid rain. Poultry farmers report respiratory issues due to their occupational exposure to poultry dust.
The months of May through September (warmer, sunnier months) are usually when the ground-level ozone levels are extremely high, which can lead to more noticeable effects.
Ground-level ozone is when nitrogen and volatile organic compounds chemically react in sunlight. Since poultry manure contains high levels of nitrogen, ground-level ozone levels can be high. Why does this matter? If you have allergies or breathing difficulties, the high levels of ozone can aggravate these conditions. If you have lower levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin E you may be at greater risk from ozone exposure. Ozone exposure can cause coughing, sore throat, and irritation of the airway, aggravating any breathing difficulties.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Other than ground ozone in the Valley, a common spring allergy trigger is pollen. During late winter and early spring, dormant plants become active and start releasing pollen into the air. The pollen that is released is supposed to act as a fertilizer for other plants, but oftentimes it also enters into the nostrils of humans. If an individual is allergic to pollen and it enters their nose, it can trigger the body’s defense system.
Some other causes of seasonal spring allergies are the increase in mold growth and dust mites. Throughout the winter, mold will stop growing and remain dormant until the weather warms. As people venture out into the damp outdoors, they’re more likely to encounter mold. Lastly, an increased presence of dust mites can trigger seasonal allergies too.
Seasonal allergies affect everyone differently. One of the most common symptoms reported is nasal congestion. Some other commonly reported symptoms of seasonal allergies include:
- Stuffy Nose
- Sinus drainage
- Sinus pain from pressure
- Ear pain from sinus pressure
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Itchy, watery, burning eyes
- Skin irritation
How to Deal With Spring Allergies
Here are some things you can do to manage your allergy symptoms:
Keep an Eye on the Pollen Count
If the pollen count is high, try to remain indoors as most as you can. If you do venture outside the house when the pollen count is high, be sure to keep your car windows closed and wash yourself and your clothes once you return home.
Take the time to limit your exposure to dust mites in your home. Start the spring off by cleaning your home and continue to do so throughout the spring.
Treat Your Symptoms
Talk to your doctor about the best ways to treat your allergy symptoms. They may suggest allergy drugs, decongestants, corticosteroid sprays, or something different.
Build Up Your Immune System
- Much of your immune system is in your digestive tract, so healthy eating and drink can have a great impact.
- Healthy eating
- Healthy drinks
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Local honey to build up your immune system (Use honey before allergy season starts.)
Reduce milk and cheese consumption (Dairy thickens mucus secretions)
Apple Cider Vinegar
I like to make what I call my “Morning Elixir Recipe”
Ingredients: 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon or more of honey, teaspoon of coconut oil, pinch of cayenne pepper, teaspoon of powdered cocoa
Mix and heat in microwave
Saline nasal spray
Face masks (keep in your car to use in your car or outside)
Swimming goggles !! (especially when you are surrounded by many irritants)
Allergy eye drops
See ENT or asthma/allergy specialist for medications that may help
Blood draw ordered by a doctor
Topical testing done by a doctor
Generalized hair testing
Tackle Spring Allergies with Spotswood Trail
Did you know that Massage Therapy can help with spring allergies? Let Spotswood Trail show you how! Kathy is a Licensed Massage Therapist who specializes in massage therapy in Virginia. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you tackle your allergies this spring.
Some of the areas we may target include, but are not limited to:
- Acupressure points
- QiGong techniques
- Sinus work
- Throat work