Dr. JoAnn Yanez, Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (right), joins KCAAs “On the Brink” hosts, Erin Brinker (left) and Tobin Brinker (middle) to discuss naturopathic approaches to managing seasonal allergies.
Full Transcript of Interview Below.
- Inflammation as the body’s defense to allergies
- Natural therapies to manage and mitigate inflammation
- Your body’s natural eliminatory processes
- Ways to reduce home allergens
- Upcoming webinars and webinar archive
- And More…
Erin Brinker: Dr. Yanez, welcome back to the show.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning, Erin.
Erin Brinker: You know, I’m just stumbling this morning. I don’t know what … I just … Maybe I haven’t had enough caffeine.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, well (sneeze). What are we talking about today?
Erin Brinker: Oh, my! Seasonal allergies. Maybe I’ll blame it on allergies. My allergies are just raging right now.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I just came back from the greater Washington, DC area two days ago and there was a yellow coat of pollen dust over everything.
Erin Brinker: Oh, my goodness.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It was so intense, so I was thinking … What am I going to do for myself? Oh, yeah, we’re talking about allergies. This is very timely. Yes, there was this thick coating of yellow pollen everywhere and you could just feel it in your throat. You felt it in your nose, and this is the season. Here in California we’ve got lots of things blooming right now; grasses, trees, you name it. Folks are struggling.
Erin Brinker: How do you … Because for me, I get the seasonal allergies. I’m allergic to the pollens and things. The times where I have lived in areas where they get a lot more rain and therefore a lot more flowers, I’m miserable. I love the flowers, they’re beautiful, but I can’t breathe.
How do you protect yourself?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Okay, well, it’s a little complicated and it’s going to depend a bit on what you’re allergic to. Allergies are this thing of total load. The more you’re exposed to and for how long of a time, for the amount of time, really is going to indicate your body’s response, because over time your body recognizes the allergen and builds the response… What is an allergy? It’s basically, here’s something in my environment, whether it’s food or something in the air, that your body is seeing as something to attack, and so now it sets up an inflammatory response. Inflammatory response leads to your red, itchy eyes, your runny nose, your itchy skin, your constricted airways. All of that is part of the body’s ability to protect itself from something it sees as no good.
What do you do? Well, you limit the things that your body sees as no good to the best of your ability. Now, you can change what you eat. You can increase your water. You can’t stop breathing, though.
Erin Brinker: No, you can’t.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That’s the tricky part. You really can’t just hold your breath until allergy season is over. What are some other options? Well, there are nasal rinses that you can do. I definitely tell people with seasonal allergies to stay indoors during that high pollen time, which is about 10:00 to 4:00. Pollen is highest during the hottest part of the day. That heat and the dust and wind mobilize pollen, so stay inside if you can during that high pollen time, number one.
Number two, if you have been outside and you come back home, take a shower. Wash it out of your hair. Wash it out of your nose and nasal passages. Do not just go straight into bed, because guess what you’re doing? You’re taking all that pollen that was on your body, and where are you putting it?
Erin Brinker: Oh, in your sheets.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes, ma’am.
Erin Brinker: Oh, okay.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Then what are you doing? You’re rolling around in it all night, so-
Erin Brinker: Yes, and wheezing and probably snoring.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, so I always tell folks if you are really sensitive, take a shower. Wash off before you … when you come back home. Rinse it out of your nose. Rinse it out of your hair and your clothes. Change your clothes, because that pollen is in there. Like if you’re allergic to cats and you go to somebody’s house and they have cats, what do you do? You’re going to take that clothing off, you’re going to wash up, so the same thing is true with these seasonal allergies. Remove your shoes. Do not wear shoes in the home.
Erin Brinker: You know, so many cultures take their shoes off when they enter a home or a business. That’s just what you do. Germans, for example, they would never dream of walking around somebody’s home, including their own, with their shoes on. Here, we don’t think twice about it.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, and what are you doing? You’re tracking in all of the pollen, everything that you’ve walked through, through your home.
Erin Brinker: I’m looking at … There’s an article about seasonal allergies on the AANMC.org website which is great. There’s always a great blog post. The one thing on here that really surprised me was apple cider vinegar.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are a number of natural therapies that can be used to help manage inflammation, help to balance your digestive system. All of those, I think probably the most studied ones are going to be turmeric, curcumin, ginger, butterbur has some research out there. The research is still developing on a lot of these supplements, but there are a number of different ways that you can help manage and mitigate some of that inflammation that’s happening in your body.
Honestly, the number one rule with allergies is avoidance. Like I said, if you can avoid those allergies in the first place, aside from not breathing, lower those by avoiding foods that you may be sensitive to. Dairy, citrus, gluten, wheat can be some of the higher offending foods for a lot of people. Keep your body as clean and functioning well. Keep your organs of elimination going; that’s pee and poop and sweat. If you can continue to eliminate and use your body’s natural eliminatory processes, get whatever stuff is out of you, that is really the root of naturopathic approach.
A good air filter in your home is also really, really vital. Vacuuming with a HEPA filter can help. If any of that pollen has come inside, making sure that you’re cleaning your home environment, changing your sheets regularly. All of those things, just keep your house as clean and clear of the pollen as you can. I personally sleep with an air filter going on in my bedroom 24/7.
Erin Brinker: Yeah, we just changed the filter in our HVAC system this weekend. First of all, it made the air conditioner work better, more efficiently, but stuff gets captured in that filter that you need to get out of the house.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, I’ve even seen … Folks who are sensitive, I recommend additional air filters, an air purifier for them that pull out a bit more than just your home’s HVAC system would.
Erin Brinker: There’s a supplement on here that I’ve never heard of. Quercetin?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Quercetin.
Erin Brinker: What is that?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Quercetin is a supplement that has anti-inflammatory properties. It can be useful, oftentimes taken with vitamin C to decrease and mitigate the inflammatory response that’s associated with allergies. There’s been a number of studies demonstrating, both in humans and in animals, demonstrating mitigation of the inflammatory process. It’s one of those things, again, when used in concert with other anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric and ginger, that may be helpful for some people in managing the immune response that’s associated with allergies.
Erin Brinker: Back to the apple cider vinegar, which I, again, I found that very interesting. If you drink it three times a day, you can clean out your lymphatic system. Will you feel … When you go and get a really deep tissue massage and they focus on the lymphatic system, you might feel ill for the next couple of days until all that stuff is cleared out. Is that true with the apple cider vinegar?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, I am not up on the current research and literature on ACV. I know that there are a lot of pros and cons to using apple cider vinegar. Some folks swear by a little bit in the morning with some water and really just kind of setting the tone for their system, setting the tone for the digestive tract and stimulating digestive juices to start flowing so that it improves the overall digestion for you during the course of the day. But again, I think, each one of these is going to be individual. There are going to be some folks who needs things. None of this is a substitute for talking to your doctor and finding out what is right in your situation and your condition.
Erin Brinker: You all have an event coming up on May 15th. I’m totally putting you on the spot. It’s listed on your AANMC website titled “Is It My Hormones? Combating PMS and Irregular Periods Naturally.” It’s a webinar. Can you talk about that?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I sure can. Every month we host a webinar series on all different types of topics. I think we’ve covered the Virtual Fair that we had last month. This month we’ve got Dr. Ellen Lewis who’s going to be talking about women’s health. I think many folks suffer in silence. They think PMS and irritability and bloating and pain with their periods is a normal thing. There are a lot of things that you can do naturally to manage your hormones and to really mitigate some of the issues that folks can have with their menstrual cycle. She’ll be talking a little bit about fertility, but mostly about the hormonal management of the monthly cycle.
Erin Brinker: That is on May 15th. It’s 12:00 to 1:00 Eastern Time, which would mean 9:00 to 10:00 Pacific Time. Will it be available … and all of your webinars, are they available in archive form if you can’t be there for the webinar?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We record all of our webinars, so there is an archive for all of our past webinars. I always tell folks, it’s a really great repository. We have topics spanning everything from diabetes to depression. I think that it’s really a great resource. We have wealth of information from naturopathic doctors, faculty from our naturopathic schools, all talking about all different types of topics. It’s a great place if you’re just starting to figure out the natural health industry? How does a naturopathic doctor work with patients? What do they do? It’s a really great resource that we have available for people to understand some of the basics. All of our doctors will cover a case and how that case was managed with that disease with naturopathic medicine. They’ll also usually give some tips for folks who are considering this as a career.
Erin Brinker: Wonderful. As always, this has been a treat. How do people get a hold of you, follow you? Are you on social media, et cetera?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We’re everywhere and on AANMC.org! You can find whole lots of stuff there, and all the social media handles that we’re available on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, et cetera.
Erin Brinker: Well, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, thank you so much for joining us. We look forward to our next conversation.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Awesome. Thank you and have a great day.
Erin Brinker: Thank you, you too. Now it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.
Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: We’ll be right back.
Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor
Receive information from one of our 7 accredited schools in 8 locations across the U.S. & Canada.