With the mild winter, this year is shaping up to be a particularly bad one for seasonal allergies in Northwest Arkansas. Even one of my four cats has been sneezing a lot recently. Though his sneezing could from a viral infection, I suspect it has to do with the thick layers of pollen coating everything outside.
As a naturopathic doctor, one of my primary goals is to treat the cause of any discomfort versus just alleviating symptoms. Initially, this goal seems hard to accomplish with pollen allergies unless you want to move away from our beautiful region with its wealth of pollen-producing plants, but there are allergy solutions that can keep you rooted in the Ozarks. For instance, you can have air filters in the house to reduce exposure to pollen and other allergens when inside. Another option is using a neti pot for nasal irrigation. With a neti pot, you pour a warm saline solution into one nostril. As the water comes out the other nostril, pollen and other irritants are removed from the nasal passages before they can cause trouble.
When working to address the cause of seasonal allergies, I also have to consider why is a particular person is predisposed to allergies. Many of my patients with allergies need immune support. The immune system has several different branches with some that work to fight cancer cells and others that produce antibodies. These antibodies mainly work by neutralizing pathogenic microorganisms, but they also play a crucial role in allergic reactions. Some allergy sufferers have an imbalance immune system that is overact in the antibody producing aspect and underactive in the other areas. To rebalance the immune system, some well-known immune boosting supplements like Echinacea, zinc, and vitamin D can help. While many people might choose these supplements to help fight a cold, few realize that they can also be important allies for seasonal allergy sufferers.
I would love to hear if any of you have noticed your cat sneezing.