I have been living in the valley of the sun since the mid 1990s, and I can say that the winter of 2022-2023 was the coldest, longest, and had the most rainfall that I can remember. The wildflowers, trees, and basically all plant matter are blooming as I write this, and the sneezing is in full force. With all of the rainfall we have had, the desert bloom is spectacular, and there is more of it which can make for more allergies.
Allergy symptoms of a full and congested head, watery eyes and nose, multiple sneezes, and a feeling of fatigue is what spring allergies in the Sonoran desert can look like. Some adults can also experience a fever during allergy season, and children may be more prone to fevers as the pollen blows in the wind. Body aches and a reduced appetite can also prevail. The body’s immune system can become overcharged and overworked during allergy season. The nose hairs and mucus are doing their best to “catch” the pollen, and the body will cough and sneeze out the pollen to “expel” it, but the pollen count in the air can be so high that the body can not recover in time.
But, there is hope.
It is a good time to clean up the diet, and consider how much sugar, dairy, and processed foods are in your diet. Perhaps it is time to do a spring cleaning of food and drink choices and do a little cleanse. The process of reducing or totally eliminating the consumption of sugar, soda, alcohol, processed foods, dairy, and red meat can greatly help with allergies. All of these foods can put extra work on the digestive system because these substances are more difficult to digest for many people. If the digestive system is more “cleared” and “cleaned” up, then the immune system may not be so reactive to what the body eats or what the body is exposed to: Valley of the Sun Spring Pollen.
Getting more rest during the allergy season is important. Whenever there is a transition in seasons, more rest may be needed as the body is acclimating to the changes in outside temperature, changes to the angle of the sun, and changes as to what plants are now growing up from the earth. Getting enough sleep can be a game changer.
Citrus season and allergy season are happening at the same time in the Sonoran desert, and that is great timing. The vitamin C, limonene terpene, and other antioxidants found in citrus fruits all aid the immune system. Eating local honey can also help with preventing and treating allergies. The key is that it has to be LOCAL honey, which is full of the terpenes and pollen that we live amongst. Eating honey from another state or country will not yield the same results. Many dispensaries carry local honey medicated with either THC or CBD. This would be a good choice to add to green tea or put in coffee, or even to put on a spoon with some fresh lemon juice… down the hatch!
Taking a probiotic supplement to strengthen the digestive and immune systems can also reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. Eating yogurt or kefir (fermented dairy or dairy-free alternatives) also helps. Sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented veggies will also supply the body with probiotics.
So, enjoy the burst of color this spring in the desert, and relax by drinking some tea with local honey, maybe take an edible gummy with some CBD and THC to get some good sleep, eat the citrus that so bountifully grows amongst us, and breathe in the change of it all.