Could your winter colds be an allergy?
See how Kinesiology can help you deal with them without the use of drugs
Guest post by Loretta Quinn one of our therapists in residence
Do you suffer one cold after another during the winter? Or maybe you have one cold that you can’t seem to get rid of? Have you considered you might not have a cold at all but an allergy?
Allergies are usually thought of as a spring or summer complaint caused by pollen, but winter brings a different set of triggers that produce the same symptoms as pollen and those of a cold:
- Blocked or a runny nose
- Painful sinuses and headache
- Watery eyes
- Itchy or a sore throat
- A cough
- Wheezy chest or asthma
If your symptoms do not include a fever or muscle aches and they last longer than a week, then it may be a winter allergy and not a cold.
With a cold, the symptoms are your body fighting off a virus whereas, with an allergy, the symptoms are your body trying to flush out an irritant or allergen.
But what are these winter allergens that trigger these symptoms?
Common winter allergens
Pet hair or dander is a common culprit of allergy symptoms. The effects are made worse over winter because you and your pet are likely to spend longer periods of time indoors than you do in the summer. You are also likely to open your doors and windows less because of the cold, so your home is not as well ventilated as in warmer months.
Dust mites are another allergen present in the home all year round but made worse by the reduced ventilation in the winter months. Unpacking winter clothes and extra bedding can also release dust mites if they were not stored carefully.
Moulds are another common allergen. They grow in warm, damp spaces such as bathrooms, washing machines, on indoor plants and surfaces where condensation forms. Spores are released and are invisible to the naked eye but float in the air, much like pollen, so can travel all over the home. The extra warmth from having the heating on for longer periods, coupled with the lack of ventilation, provide a perfect breeding environment for moulds to multiply.
Winter also brings Christmas and with Christmas comes trees. Unfortunately, real Christmas trees have dust and moulds that can often trigger allergy symptoms. Less commonly, their pollen, sap and terpenes; a compound that gives pine trees their characteristic scent, can also cause problems.
So, what can you do if you are sensitive to any of these winter allergens?
Avoiding winter allergens
Prevention is always the best option and, fortunately, there are several steps you can take to avoid or reduce your exposure to these winter allergens.
Dusting and vacuuming your home more often in winter to remove pet hair or dander and dust will reduce the allergens in your home. For best results, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, as it will clean the air more effectively, and use a dusting method that collects the dust rather than just moves it around.
Try to keep pets off the chairs and beds you use and groom them more often, preferably outdoors, to reduce shedding indoors.
Ideally, machine wash unpacked winter clothes and bedding on a 60-degree cycle before you use them or, if that’s impractical, give them a good shake and air outdoors for a few hours.
In the colder months, improve ventilation and freshen the air by opening windows during the day and closing them at night.
Reduce potential sources of mould in your home by limiting the number of indoor plants you keep and avoid drying damp laundry in warm unventilated spaces. To remove black mould in damp spots, spray with a weak solution of water and bleach (10:1), wipe off, dry and ventilate the space.
Buy an artificial Christmas tree rather than a real one. If you really want an authentic pine tree, before bringing it into your home, give it a thorough shake outdoors to remove the dust and pollen. Additionally, you can hose down the tree thoroughly to remove mould and then, importantly, dry it thoroughly – a leaf blower can help here if you have one. If you don’t have pets that are likely to chew parts of the tree, then spraying it with a mild water and bleach solution (10:1) will remove the mould and reduce the scent of the terpenes. Dry thoroughly before taking the tree inside the warmth of your home to avoid growing more mould on the damp branches.
Avoiding or reducing your exposure is the best defence against these winter allergens but what can you do if you are still experiencing symptoms?
Dealing with the symptoms of winter allergens
Temporary relief can be gained from taking antihistamines and nasal sprays. These either shield the body from the allergen or block the body’s response to it. Neither approach is a lasting solution without having to take the drugs continuously.
Fortunately, there is an alternative. Health Kinesiology offers drug-free short term and long term solutions to allergens.
Health Kinesiologists believe that our bodies are comprised of a complex mass of energies in our cells, organs and tissues. Everything around us has its own unique pattern of energy with which our bodies interact. If we are irritated or allergic to a substance, it is because our body does not recognise its energy pattern, so the energy flow in our body becomes disturbed and unbalanced. Consequently, the body reacts inappropriately, producing symptoms (such as sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, etc.).
For short-term relief from allergens, you can do The Balance Tap followed by the Reaction Tap, described below. Tapping specific points on certain meridians offers a natural way to neutralise your body’s allergic reaction as it happens.
The Balance Tap:
You will be tapping yourself on the chest in an anticlockwise
circle around the thymus. The circle is about 3
inches in diameter.
Your thymus is 2 – 3 inches (5 – 7.5 cm) down from
the notch between your collar bones.
There is often a bump in the sternum bone right
over the thymus.
- Start with your fingertips 1.5 inches to your left of your thymus.
- Tap up and continue around for 30 seconds.
- Tap firmly – you should be able to hear it – but do not hurt yourself.
The Reaction Tap:
Tap gently but firmly for about 30 seconds in the following places:
- Either side of your nose at eye level
- Outsides of the little toenails – at the base of each nail
- Just below each collarbone, either side of the sternum
- Balls of each foot
- Just below your eyes directly below your pupils when looking straight ahead – you may feel a little notch in the bone here
- Outsides of the 2nd toes (counting the big toe as the 1st), again at the base of each toenail.
- On either side of your body about halfway between your armpits and the level of your elbows – this is often a slightly tender spot
- Big toe at the base of each toenail on the sides away from the little toes
Health Kinesiology also provides lasting relief from allergens by addressing the cause of the symptoms. It offers techniques that correct the body’s inability to recognise an allergen, so the body no longer responds to it in a disturbed manner.
To find out more about how these techniques could help you, contact Loretta Quinn, Health Kinesiologist, at The Wellness Centre, Moss End Village Garden Centre, Maidenhead Road, Warfield, RG42 6EJ Tel. 01344 531629 Mob 07710 722615 .
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