Natural Solutions for Allergy Sufferers in This Outbreak Season
“I have a cough and running nose lately, does it mean I am infected by the new coronavirus Covid-19?” At this moment of winter to spring transition, we are facing allergy season along with a high incidence of influenza and the new type of coronavirus outbreak across the country, which is inevitably causing anxiety and fear among the general public.
What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus Covid-19?
According to the guidelines, symptoms of infection with the new coronavirus may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure and can include: fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. It may be associated with running nose, sore throat, body pain and diarrhea. So far, infections have been associated with a travel history to affected areas or close contact with someone who has new coronavirus.
For most of the people who are not medical professionals, they likely cannot distinguish between allergic rhinitis symptoms, and one caused by other conditions, such as a cold or flu.
What is allergic rhinitis?
Patients experience allergy symptoms when the body’s immune system overreacts to irritants in the environment such as pollen and dust mites. The inflammatory response leads to nasal congestion, drainage, sneezing, itchy nose, irritating cough, dry throat, itchy, watery eyes etc.
The common traits of the symptoms are:
- A duration of longer than 2 weeks or exposure under a certain allergen
- Worsens at certain times of the year, usually in the spring and fall
- Relief with the use of antihistamines or decongestants
Allergic rhinitis is one of the most common diseases affecting adults and the most common chronic disease in children in the U.S.
Natural Treatment Alternatives for Allergies
About 20% of allergy sufferers currently seek alternative treatment. Many don’t want to take medications long-term and don’t like side effects such as drowsiness caused by antihistamines. In 2015, the American Clinical Guidelines for Otolaryngology (or ENT, Ear Nose and Throat) added acupuncture as a treatment choice. They based this on controlled studies, observational studies and the preponderance of benefit over harm. With increased awareness, more patients will use natural alternatives like acupuncture.
TCM Evaluation and Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis
When a patient comes in with allergy symptoms, the TCM doctor does a comprehensive diagnosis. The process includes gathering symptoms from the patient and TCM diagnostic techniques such as pulse taking and tongue reading. This helps identify the patient’s condition and possible deficiencies. For example, allergic rhinitis may be related to a deficiency of the spleen and stomach. This shows in symptoms like water retention, tiredness and runny nose. Allergies are often related to a lung deficiency as well.
The evaluation guides the treatment, such as which acupuncture points should be used. Acupuncture is highly effective in relieving allergy symptoms and rebalancing these deficiencies. There are particular points that have significant effects for allergy sufferers. For example, one point triggers a nerve that regulates the blood vessels and increases blood flow, thus alleviating congestion.
Some patients have an immediate effect, while acupuncture often resolves allergy symptoms in 2-3 sessions. For more complex cases, the patient may need up to 10 sessions for full relief.
Many patients will benefit from herbal medicine combined with acupuncture to address both symptoms and the underlying deficiencies.
Joe Teh offers TCM evaluation and allergy treatment, including herbal medicine and acupuncture, at the Downtown (Xintiandi), Hongmei Road (Minhang), and Century Park (Pudong) clinics. If you’re tired of suffering from allergy symptoms, click here to make an appointment with him.