It’s story time…

Lars had a sneezing problem. Once he started it was almost impossible for him to stop. On several occasions his co-workers sent him home because his constant sneezing was disrupting. None of the common anti-allergy medicines did any good – and their side effects were intolerable.

After talking with a kind compounding pharmacist, Lars started using a Sinus Rinse device twice daily. It’s a simple squeeze bottle with a special nozzle that directs a saline solution into the sinus cavities – up one nostril and out the other. The sneezing spells stopped and Lars reported that he reduced his rinsing to once daily. If he missed a couple of days, the attacks began again.

Lars has been sneezing-fit free for almost ten years. The worst sinus related effect seems to now only be mild headaches, especially in the morning. Lars discovered that the headaches stopped shortly after he did the rinse in the morning. Then one of the “aha moments” struck and the decision was made to return to twice daily use, especially when the environment is particularly dusty or laden with pollen (springtime in the Midwest, for example). Headaches? Gone. Sneezing? Gone.

Not everyone obtains the same results from doing the sinus rinses. It may be related to their individual environment or even a physical difference. Some sinus cavities may be harder to cleanse than others and some people may have a more innate sensitivity to dust and pollen.

Is there something else that can help that doesn’t require drugs? Fortunately, the answer is yes.

Quercetin is a substance found in many fruits, vegetables, leaves and grains, which has been shown to strengthen the cell membranes on mast cells. Those are the cells that contain histamine and other chemicals our body uses to attack invading allergens.

In a typical allergy attack from pollen or dust, the mast cells rupture and pour out histamine, which is blocked by antihistamine drugs (but not without side effects). A better way to reduce sensitivity to airborne allergens is to strengthen the mast cells and reduce their reaction to seasonal allergens.

That’s what quercetin has been found to do. Stronger mast cell walls means less allergic reaction, and improved immune system function.

Quercetin is readily available in supplements, usually combined with bromelain (an enzyme common in pineapples). Orthomolecular Products offers D-HIST, specifically marketed for controlling seasonal allergies. It contains quercetin, bromelain, vitamin C, stinging nettles, and N-acetyl-cysteine.NOW Foods has a simpler combination of just quercetin and bromelain. Both are excellent products – and available at The Compounder, as well as supplement outlets.

Lars is taking quercetin during the seasonal allergy months along with twice daily sinus rinse.

If you suffer from the itchy, runny symptoms of seasonal allergies, you will want to copy Lars’ plan. Chances are great you’ll get lasting relief without the nasty side effects from antihistamines.