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Natural Allergy Relief

Seasonal Allergies From the Inside Out continued...

"Acupuncture can be particularly useful if you are suffering from multiple allergies, since it works to quiet the areas of the immune system that are overstimulated by exposure to multiple irritating factors," Dillard tells WebMD.

Though many nontraditional treatments can be extremely helpful, allergist Marianne Frieri, MD, cautions that natural doesn't always mean better -- or safer. She points out that it's possible to overdose on even the most seemingly mild preparations, and it's important to remember that almost anything in nature's pharmacy could cause a toxic reaction if you use too much.

More important, she says, is never to mix alternative treatments with traditional drugs without your doctor's approval.

"If, for example, you are taking the allergy drug Allegra -- an antihistamine -- at the same time you decide to try a natural substance with antihistaminic properties, you can end up with far too much antihistaminic activity -- which can result in some significant problems," says Frieri, chairwoman of the department of allergy and immunology at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, N.Y.

In addition, both Hardy and Frieri caution that if allergies are moderate to severe, you should not self-treat -- even with seemingly benign natural products -- without checking with your allergist first. When you are ready to try some alternative care, Hardy says one key to success is starting treatment before allergy symptoms kick in. The ideal time to begin, she says, is "three weeks before allergy season is scheduled to start."

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WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on December 29, 2008

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