I’ve been a moderate to severe allergy sufferer all of my life. When I was little, I was the kid who always had a stuffy nose, but I guess mom and I both chalked it up to kids passing germs around and generally being a kid. It wasn’t until our cat passed away, and we went to visit a family member who had several that we realized how severe my allergy to cats is. I remember on that visit, my entire face swelled up, I started sneezing uncontrollably, and couldn’t breathe well again for hours afterward. We had to leave early because my reaction was so bad and I wasn’t prepared for it. I think I was about 9 or 10 when that happened.
Since then, I have kept a respectful distance from cats whenever possible (except for that stint in college when my roommate sold me on this adorably cute kitten, for which I paid dearly). And I always carry or take allergy medicine before I visit people with cats, just to be on the safe side. Generally, these simple precautions have been enough to keep me clear – except for springtime (pine pollen, anyone?) and a week or so in the fall when the fronts blow through ragweed and other nasty things in the air.
Invariably, I have always suffered horrible nasal congestion in early March, both because of the pollens, and because I find the need to brave the outdoors for a few weekends to do yard work in the spring – cutting back overgrowth, weeding, trimming, and planting spring flowers and herbs. I have always assumed that the discomfort and sleepless nights were a necessary evil for enjoying the outdoors this time of year….until this one.
I’m not sure exactly why, but after doing all of my annual trimming & planting, and even hanging out on patios with friends, I’m actually breathing pretty well this year without medication. Yesterday I had a minor sniffle, for which I took Benedryl (which typically wouldn’t make a dent in my congestion. Normally I had to have pseudoephedrin or nasal spray to get any relief at all) and it cleared right up.
So what’s different? There are really only 2 things I can point to that are happening this year. One, I’ve lost 55 lbs (made it official this morning) and I know I’ve lost a lot of that weight in my face, which probably also translates to clearer nasal and sinus passages in general. And two, I’ve added a whole lot of local raw honey to my diet as a part of our paleo eating. Oddly enough, another allergy-related problem has also magically cleared up – my dry, scaly elbows. I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I didn’t have rough elbows, and they were always worse in the spring and fall along with my other allergies. They’ve both cleared up to the point that they only feel a little dry.
I know they “say” that honey fights allergies, but wow, I didn’t know it could practically eliminate them! Yay for Paleo!