We all love our summers here in Vancouver, but for many reasons, summers can be a challenge. Whether you have environmental allergies, asthma, or are just sensitive to the smoke from the forest fires we are experiencing, summer weather can trigger a variety of immune disorders.
What increases our susceptibility to allergies and other immune disturbances? Our immune system can be thought of as a bucket. Every day, this bucket gets filled with different things that require immune processing. As this bucket becomes full, it no longer is able to manage the workload efficiently and starts to become dysregulated. Our immune system may then start to overreact (think inflammation, physical pain, environmental allergies, food sensitivities, etc), or not be able to wage a proper immune response in order to fight the common cold.
There are several factors that affect how efficiently our immune system is able to work. Some things will directly inhibit immune function, some will deplete nutrients needed for optimal function, and others simply negatively contribute to our toxic burden. Here are some of the exposures that we can consider in our daily lives, that weigh down our immune system, and fill the bucket:
Physical and emotional stress
Environmental exposures (dust, mold, smoke, water contamination, industrial pollutants)
Toxicity (drugs, alcohol, prescriptions)
Chronic infections (bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic)
Diet (pesticides, food sensitivities, sugar, nutrient deficiencies)
All of these triggers contribute to rising levels of inflammation in the body, which the immune system then has to clean up. In reducing these triggers, we lower inflammation in the body and strengthen our immune response. A healthy immune system has the ability to better adapt to, and overcome exposures to external pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, food sensitivities, dust, pollen, smoke, etc.
Many conditions are inflammatory in nature. Arthritis in the joints, chronic pain, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns and colitis, eczema and psoriasis affecting the skin, sinusitis, bronchitis or COPD, food and environmental allergies, amongst many others. Any triggers for inflammation will in turn, worsen these conditions.
Beyond limiting exposures, we can also support the immune system in reducing current toxic burden. Regular detoxification and liver support can help our bodies to respond appropriately to pathogens and triggers by emptying our buckets. Through diet and supplementation we can also address the specific demands on the immune system that each particular condition requires.
For the summer specifically, we can also make our home into more of a safe space free from triggers such as environmental allergens and particulate matter from smoke. Windows may be kept closed, to keep airborne pollutants and triggers from entering. Regular vacuuming to eliminate dust and pet dander is helpful, as well as a high quality HEPA filter to purify the air. In Vancouver, many homes have mold in them due to our damp climate. Molds should be dealt with professionally.
If you tend to suffer from worsening allergies or asthma during the summer months, it is really helpful to understand your triggers and strengthen your immune system. If you would like to book in with me for a consultation to address your concerns around inflammation and immune health, call The IV Health Center in Vancouver at 604-974-8999. I look forward to helping you to achieve your health goals!