Spring is in full bloom. Coming off of the hormonal upswing of pregnancy and now nursing, Yasmine has been hit with the proverbial Mack truck of seasonal allergies. She’s not alone: experts are calling this allergy season a record-setter, and we are all sneezing, wiping, and rubbing our way into what may be a long spring. Rather than rely upon traditional medicine alone to bring us some relief, we have turned to our personal experts, pediatrician and UCLA Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Jay Gordon and Lotus Center for Integrative Medicine acupuncturist and herbalist Wendy Yu for kid-friendly alternative remedies. Here’s what they suggest:
Raw Locally Sourced Honey
For those over the age of one, local raw honey is believed to offer a little dose of the very pollen that makes noses tickle and eyes run, slowly building up the body’s tolerance and desensitizing it to the pollen. It’s the bees knees: delicious and nutritious to boot. Grabbing a bottle of the traditional sweet stuff won’t suffice. For this medicinal purpose the honey needs to be local because bees pollinate flowers and carry that pollen back to the hive and raw so that the good stuff isn’t killed by heat. For specific neighborhood varieties, we like the too-quick-to-sell-out Kirk’s Urban Bees versions, named by origin like "Studio City", "Los Feliz" and "Bel Air." The next batches are being harvested for availability at Silverlake Wine and Lindy & Grundy. For the greater L.A. basin, most local farmer's markets boast Klausesbees and Bill's Bees.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in sweet potatoes, apples, and dark green vegetables and available as a supplement for children and adults. According to Dr. Gordon,“Quercetin is safe for children in small doses” in supplemental form. He regards fruits and vegetables rich in Quercetin as more than safe for kids in very large doses!
Stinging Nettle Tea and Milk Thistle
Yu suggests giving your little ones small amounts of Stinging Nettle tea throughout the day and even mixing it into your local raw honey to make it more palatable.
"Milk Thistle is an anti-inflammatory herb,” says Dr. Gordon, “and a prescription medication for allergies is actually based on this category of chemicals called 'silymarins'."
Both Dr. Gordon and Yu recommend running an air filter all day long to remove airborne pollen. A good one that has consistently helped Wendy’s patients is the IQ Air. (Just be sure to offset your energy use by using other appliances in moderation.)
A Few More Basics
On high pollen count days keep your children indoors with the windows shut and the air filter running. Having them shower and change their clothes upon entering the house could help as well. No use tracking it all into your house and beds!
Dr. Gordon also suggests flushing allergens out of your children’s eyes and noses with a mild saline solution. And if you happen to be breastfeeding, he says there's no better nose or eye drop.
Consult your own pediatrician before administering any of the remedies above. If your child’s allergies are too severe for these options, ask to see a specialist regarding treatment.
With five children and two stepchildren ranging in age from four months to sixteen years between them, sisters Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Soraya Delawari Dancsecs are experts at parenting in L.A. They take a break from PTA board meetings, cooking, and producing films to blog at CityThink each Thursday.