It’s cedar fever time again, and I want to share this story because it may help someone to suffer less.
Many years ago, I took prescription allergy medicine (Seldane and later Claritin) daily, all year round, and could count on getting at least one sinus infection each year. Austin is known for its allergens, so much so that the weather reports include the pollen and mold counts. We’re especially known for “cedar fever,” which comes on after the first freeze in the Hill Country, which is laden with Ashe juniper trees commonly called cedars here. The male trees release clouds of pollen, which some people are so sensitive to, they stay sick for weeks.
It’s not uncommon to see people wearing surgical masks when they’re outdoors in winter. In fact, I carry one with me.
There’s something about Austin being located against the southeast edge of the Hill Country and the prevailing winds being from the southeast that seems to make the pollen pile up here. I’ve heard that the original inhabitants called this area “beautiful place with bad air.”
When I moved from Austin to Dallas in 1997, I didn’t need to take allergy medicine any more. Sweet. When I moved back to Austin in 2000, the sneezing, sniffling, watery eyes, and sore throats started up again.
I sought help from an acupuncturist who was trained in NAET, a series of treatments that uses muscle testing for allergens along with needling. Although I still carried my allergy medicine with me at all times, I didn’t need to use it and threw it away after a year.
After NAET, I had no sinus infections and took no allergy medication for 10 years while living in Austin. That’s almost miraculous. I also worked on improving my diet during that time (eliminating gluten and eating way less processed food) and did multiple liver-gallbladder flushes.
Then one day in late spring 2010, I decided to walk a mile and a half to work. It was windy with a lot of pollen in the air. I’d gotten a few blocks when I began to sneeze, and my nose began to run. I ended up with a full-blown sinus infection by the end of the day. It happened again the following year.
After acupuncture treatments (“too much wind”) and herbs helped me get over the sinus infections, someone (I wish I could remember who, so I could thank them) recommended taking a homeopathic remedy called histaminum hydrochloricum, made by Boiron in the little blue tube. (Place 5 pellets under your tongue and let them melt.)
What I’ve learned: when there’s a lot of pollen being stirred up by the wind, if I’m outside in it for very long, my immune system gets overwhelmed and my body has a histamine response. The first sign is when I sneeze several times in a row.
That’s exactly when I’ve learned to take histaminum. If I wait for even an hour, it’s usually too late. Timing is everything. I carry histiminum with me at all times, and I also carry that surgical mask as backup, just in case I can’t avoid being outside. I would love to never have a sinus infection again.
Homeopathic remedies don’t seem to work for everyone. I believe it helps to have a healthy liver and to not stress your body by eating unhealthy food, which is something to work on all the time and not just during allergy season. Getting my gut into good shape is something I’ve been working on since 2007. Gluten, sugars, and processed foods are out, and eating something fermented like sauerkraut every day is in. We know now that 70-80 percent of the immune system is in the gut, and allergies are an auto-immune response.
If you want to try this and you’re new to homeopathics, you can get them at Whole Foods, Central Market, Sprouts, People’s Pharmacy, and I believe some mainstream stores like HEB might even be carrying them now. Good luck!