A naturopathic client has been complaining of coughing fits at night this spring. He says that it is not as bad when he closes the windows and uses the air conditioner, but it is still interfering with his sleep. An ENT used a nasal scope to see small, weak, red bumps and inflamed tonsils but could not identify an infection. The patient asked me for some advice on what to do.
A little deductive reasoning suggests that he might be reacting to some pollen in the air in this season of blooming plants. Many plants and trees bloom at night, releasing their pollen into the dark. To begin with, there are some hygienic steps I recommended he take to limit his exposure and reduce his reactions:
- Keep windows closed at night and shower before bed to remove any pollen from hair, etc.
- Try a daily nasal rinse before bed to clean out sinus passages and remove allergens. Here is the one I like: NeilMed SinusRinse.
- Leave shoes at the door and keep the house a shoe-free zone. The Japanese have it right here: shoes track in all kinds of germs and debris that you don’t want in your living space.
- Change the filters on the air conditioner and furnace to clean, high-quality filters.
- Consider using a HEPA-certified air purifier — these can make a real difference in the air quality inside your house, particularly during times of high pollen or other forms of air pollution.
Other remedies he might try include:
- Eucalyptus essential oil. Pour a few drops in a hot bath or diffuse it with a humidifier at night in the bedroom. Rubbing a few drops directly into the soles of your feet can stop a coughing fit in the midst of it.
- Homeopathic hayfever remedy. This will not interact with any of the other meds and it only needs to be taken 1-5 times a season to get complete relief from pollen allergies.
- Probiotics. Help boost your tolerance threshholds and immunities by keeping your digestive system in good order. More than 80% of our health starts in the gut. Good Belly is a good, all-around probiotic dairy-free juice drink that is very bio-available and contains lots of other good-for-you nutrients as well.
- Locally-collected bee-pollen. A spoonful or two of these pebble-like secretions from bees can help you resist pollens active in your area. Check the refrigerated section of a good health food store to find bee pollen from your vicinity.