North Valley Allergies Create Sneezy, Sticky Misery: How to Fight Back Against the Histamines

By ROBIN EPLEY | | Chico Enterprise-Record

April 25, 2019 at 4:01 AM

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CHICO — The sun is finally out, the baby birds are singing, the flowers and trees are in full bloom — and you’re stuck inside with a puffy face and mounds of tissues growing by the minute.

It’s allergy season in Chico: That coughing, sneezing, runny nose, upset stomach, itchy eyes time of year, and it’s not going away any time soon. For many, those miserable seasonal allergies can seem practically traitorous when it’s so beautiful outside.

This week’s forecast at place Chico firmly in the “medium-high” pollen count, which will “affect a large number of individuals.”

The site also notes the top allergens right now are coming from oak and mulberry trees and various grasses.

Allergies are “an abnormal, exaggerated response by the body’s immune system against a specific substance that is inhaled, ingested or otherwise contacted,” according to the website for local allergists, Allergy Associates, located on Mission Ranch Boulevard in Chico.

“The immune system serves as the body’s defense mechanism against countless substances present in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the things we touch,” the website said. “Sometimes, that recognition system goes haywire and an over-stimulated or hypersensitive allergic reaction can occur.”

Typical over-the-counter allergy drugs can include antihistamines and decongestants with trade names like Allegra, Zyrtec, Claritin or Benadryl. Another long-term option for allergy relief is now over-the-counter nasal sprays, like Flonase or Nasacort, according to

Doctors can also prescribe corticosteroids like Prednisone for people who need more than the relief over-the-counter medications provide.

Some allergy sufferers also undergo immunotherapy treatment such as allergy shots, which can gradually increase the body’s ability to tolerate allergens.

Other Options

“With all these late spring rains, we’re just going to have a heck of a time this season,” said Patrick Giammarise, a licensed chiropractor who runs the Chico Digestion Relief Center. One of his specialties is helping to treat allergies using a natural and holistic approach.

“The standard advice is to stay inside and turn on your air conditioning,” Giammarise said. He says his natural practice helps desensitize patients to their allergens, especially when they don’t know where the allergy is coming from.

“I look at an allergy as an unusual reaction to a usual substance,” he said. “The body, the immune system and the brain see it as attacking the body.”

For those who seek a non-pharmaceutical option, Giammarise suggested some natural approaches might be drinking apple cider vinegar, using a Neti pot to clear sinuses, taking probiotics, swallowing a daily dose of local honey or using the natural herb supplement Quercetin to help stabilize the cells that release histamine.

He also suggests taking nettle leaf, another natural antihistamine. Both Quercetin and nettle leaf supplements can be found at local natural food stores.

It’s also important to stay away from sugars and milk, which can exacerbate symptoms, particularly mucus production. So if you’re feeling like a snot factory, you might skip your usual morning latte, Giammarise advised.

Pollen peak

According to a release from Allergy Associates, allergens in March, April and May are exacerbated by a “symphony of tree pollens,” including cedar, pine, mulberry, sycamore, sweet gum, poplar, birch, ash and willow trees, and particularly walnut, olive and oak trees.

Grasses reach their spring peak in May, and more weeds can also start to pollinate, depending on where in the valley you live. Molds and other indoor allergens, like pets, dust mites and cockroaches can be a “perennial allergen,” they said.

“People really need to take care of their allergies because it can lead to other respiratory problems,” Giammarise said. “If you’re getting more and more allergies, it’s a sign that the body is being weakened, and it’s a major stressor.”

Seasonal allergies can exacerbate or lead to more severe respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma or pneumonia.

“It’s important to get your allergies taken care of,” Giammarise said. “You don’t have to feel this way.”

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Digestion Relief Center 

2639 Forest Avenue, Suite 120 Chico, CA 95928