Allergies got you down?

Have you noticed lately that EVERY season seems to be bad for allergies?  It’s no coincidence, and it might not necessarily be seasonal…

This 50 years old has suffered from allergies her entire life.  For most of the last 45 years, I have been a continuous consumer of some type antihistamine or other (i.e. Zyrtec, Claritin, Alegra). At my worst (the last 15 years), I have double dipped and taken BOTH Claritin and Zyrtec daily. (Note: Each of these is supposed to be a 24-hour medication, so clearly, I was going above and beyond the recommended dosage.) The problem was that I was not getting relief.  I would wake up with puffy, watery eyes.  Sometimes, the first thing I needed to do was grab my inhaler. Every time this happened, I just chalked it up to it being a “bad allergy day”.  I always assumed that something in the environment was to blame…

My allergies are better than they ever have been, and I have, to date, been without need of and have not taken ANY antihistamines or allergy meds since March 15, 2018. This is no coincidence.  The last 5 years has taught me an incredible amount.  I realized that there are many more pieces to this allergy puzzle, but the good news is that there are a few SIMPLE steps you can take to limit your exposure to allergens.

Fragrance: The Bad Guy in the Room

Fragrance is the term manufacturers use in their ingredient’s list.  Most of the chemicals in synthetic fragrance are derived from petrochemicals and contain harmful phthalates which are linked to liver and breast cancers, allergies, hormone disruption, reduced sperm count, reproductive malformation, diabetes, obesity and nervous system disorders. The unfortunate thing is that the FDA does not require manufacturers to disclose these chemicals because manufacturers claim it is “proprietary information” –in other words, a trade secret.  Frankly said, the FDA is now protecting these manufacturers and giving them a license to, “…poison the American public with more than 3,000 chemicals that are being absorbed, inhaled, and ingested daily.” (Huffington Post Blog, Dec 06, 2017)  Many countries have banned phthalates and the other chemicals that fall under that “fragrance” umbrella. The US, however, has been incredibly slow to move on legislation that will ban these chemicals.  If you are truly motivated, I would recommend calling your state Senators and Representatives and mention your concern about the lack of legislation in this area…

But I digress…What can you do NOW to eliminate fragrance in your personal arsenal to DECREASE your allergic reactions?  Here are three suggestions.

1) Eliminate Commercial Perfume

I know this is super sad…It was, frankly, the LAST thing I was able to get rid of, but if I had known then what I know now, I would have gotten rid of it FIRST!  Perfume (unless it is made strictly from completely natural ingredients) is chock full of allergens AND hormone disruptors.  It can also contain carcinogens. When I finally decided to throw away the perfume (oh, it was SO hard!) I noticed within DAYS that I did not wake up with those puffy and runny eyes.  No breathing issues first thing in the morning. It was incredible.  I make my own perfume, now, using essential oils and other completely natural ingredients. I have also incorporated some critical supplements (more on that another time) that are helping me stay antihistamine free.  This is huge, folks!

2) GET RID of the Scented Candles

I know, I know.  You paid good money for those Yankee, Colonial or Bath and Body Works Candles.  And you THINK they smell so good.  But the fragrances reek havoc on your allergies.  Also, most candles are made from paraffin wax, a product of petroleum refining.  Nothing about petroleum is good for you, except when you put it into your car! Just close your eyes and pitch those candles! Don’t look back.  Don’t think about how much you paid for them. Don’t cry!  There are MUCH safer alternatives.  (I’ll talk about those in another post.) If you LOVE candles, the ONLY kinds I recommend are those that are UNSCENTED and made of beeswax or soy.  Also, check out the wick, as you don’t want a wick with lead in it, duh!!  A bamboo or cotton wick is my preferred type of wick because it will not be polluting your house or adding other additional chemicals that will aggravate allergies.

3) Check the Labels of Your Personal Care Products and TOSS the one with Fragrance

I said these were three simple steps, but I didn’t say it was going to be cheap, as least at the beginning.  But can you put a definitive price on your health? It’s priceless, and you know it.  Feeling good is KING and experiencing allergies is no fun.  Until you can rid your bathroom cabinets from ALL items that contain fragrance, you will not eliminate the chemicals that are assaulting you and contributing to your allergies.

Take is slow.  You may want to just use up what you have of one particular product and do your research in the meantime, looking for a replacement without the dreaded “F” word. I recommend starting with your shampoo and conditioner, as they often contain a whole slew of chemicals that contribute to allergies.  Your bath and shower gel or your bar of soap should be next.  And then you should move on to toothpaste, lotions and, finally, makeup.  I have found MANY safe alternatives, however, MY opinion of the most comprehensive site/company for SAFE products can be found by clicking HERE.

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed or depressed at all of the work you need to do, DON’T.  This is a process.  Pick one of these three items to start out with and move on from there.  If you feel like you need help, feel free to comment below and I will try to help you get going.

You gained some knowledge here, and you know better. Now go out and DO better…

Be well,

Maria Graft