Managing Seasonal Allergies

Season 1 | Episode 52
13m | May 4, 2024

In this insightful episode of The Tonic, we welcome back Dr. Colleen Hartwick, a licensed naturopathic physician with a special interest in trauma as it pertains to physical illness. Broadcasting from Campbell River, BC, Dr. Hartwick brings a wealth of experience in mental health and has been a part-time instructor at the Canadian School of Nutrition since 2015. She also contributes educational articles to Naturopathic Currents.

As allergy season looms, many of us find ourselves grappling with sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes. Dr. Hartwick begins by discussing the cyclical nature of health and wellness, particularly focusing on the early onset of allergy symptoms this year due to a mild winter. She explains how an overreactive immune system perceives harmless pollen as a threat, leading to the release of histamines that cause classic allergy symptoms.

Dr. Hartwick explores conventional treatments, such as antihistamines, nasal sprays, and allergy shots, emphasizing their importance in managing symptoms. However, she also introduces natural health approaches that can complement these traditional methods. From reducing exposure to allergens by using HEPA filters and keeping windows closed to maintaining a clean environment, these lifestyle adjustments can significantly minimize allergy triggers.

One of the highlights of the discussion is the role of diet in managing allergies. Dr. Hartwick advises reducing intake of inflammatory foods, particularly dairy and sugar, which can exacerbate symptoms. Instead, she recommends incorporating brightly colored fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These dietary changes can help stabilize mast cells and reduce histamine release.

In addition to dietary adjustments, Dr. Hartwick suggests various supplements and herbs that can alleviate allergy symptoms. Vitamin C and quercetin are highlighted for their mast cell-stabilizing properties, while Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and algae reduce inflammation. Spirulina, a blue-green algae, and probiotics also play a crucial role in modulating the immune system and reducing histamine levels.

Dr. Hartwick stresses the importance of managing stress, which can exacerbate allergy symptoms. She recommends activities like deep breathing, yoga, and even rock climbing to stay present and reduce anxiety.

As the conversation wraps up, Dr. Hartwick summarizes practical daily practices to minimize allergy discomfort. These include good hygiene, regular hand and face washing, using a neti pot or saline rinse for the sinuses, and showering to remove pollen. She also reiterates the significance of a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and mindful of potential allergens like dairy and fermented products.

Join us for an enlightening discussion with Dr. Colleen Hartwick as she shares her expertise on managing seasonal allergies naturally and effectively. Learn how to navigate allergy season with fewer symptoms and a healthier approach to wellness. For more episodes of The Tonic, visit

This detailed guide covers all aspects of managing seasonal allergies, offering listeners a comprehensive toolkit to alleviate their symptoms and improve their overall health and well-being.

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