Allergies? Drink More Water

It’s that season again in Northern Arizona. Runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing. Sure, plants are starting to bud, flowers are starting to pop out but this is also the driest season of the year. Along with the wind, the dramatic reduction of precipitation in spring time dries everything out very quickly – including ourselves.

As we move out of winter, especially one with an average amount of precipitation like this year, we may have fallen out of the habit of staying fully hydrated. In winter months, we tend to drink less water because we don’t feel hot. This may not be a big deal when we have more moisture in the air during consistent winter storms. But now that the air is dramatically dryer, if we haven’t increased our water consumption in proportion to the drying air, we can rapidly become dehydrated.

If you are familiar with me at all, you’ll know of my constant preaching of drinking at least 1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. This rule of thumb is a good guide to staying properly hydrated, especially in our climate of Northern Arizona. As for what to drink, I’m pretty consistent in sticking to just plain water, or watered-down fruit juice. Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages should not be counted in those ounces.

Here’s why I don’t recommend counting those caffeinated beverages. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant that, among many things, dilates blood vessels which increases the amount of blood being filtered by the kidneys – resulting in an increased production of urine. This is combined with caffeine’s effect of sensitizing the bladder’s trigger system to alert you of the need to urinate. The result is a net loss of fluids from drinking caffeinated beverages. For regularly brewed coffee, in order to derive the two cups of water in the two cups of coffee you are drinking, you’ll need to drink an extra cup of coffee to offset the diuretic effect of the caffeine! It’s simpler to stick to plain water.

One note, the study that found that caffeine is not a diuretic was funded by the National Coffee Association. Go figure. (Click Here to view that study)

So how does dehydration relate to allergies? A 1995 Danish study confirms the process by which dehydration triggers an increase in histamine production by the body’s endocrine system. Histamine production is a defensive mechanism by the body to preserve the vital water that remains in the body and to prevent further loss.

Not only does the body lose water through urination and perspiration, normal respiration also causes a large volume of water loss through the vapor exhaled during breathing. Histamine is part of the regulatory mechanism that controls bronchial contractions in the lungs. Bronchial constrictions during an asthma attack may be the result of the body’s attempt to minimize water vapor loss.

Although a natural product of the body’s endocrine system, histamine is an irritant to the body which produces the itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing associated with allergic reaction. In a normally functioning system, a simple invasion by a virus, bacteria or pollen spore triggers histamine production to defend against and expel the invading micro-organism. However, dehydration can put this system out of balance, resulting in elevated levels of histamine circulating through the body. These elevated histamine levels produce symptoms similar to an allergic reaction even when there are no outside triggers creating the response.

If you then take an anti-histamine allergy medication to relieve these symptoms, you are then shutting down your body’s natural ability to produce histamine even when it’s necessary. I suggest that before reaching into the medicine cabinet, reach into the cupboard first and drink about a quart of water (with a pinch of salt), and see if after a few minutes your symptoms are lessened or even eliminated. If not, try again in another 30 minutes. If after these two attempts to rehydrate have no effect on your allergy symptoms, then try the pharmaceutical approach.

I believe you’ll find that water will be your best solution most of the time. Try it. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Additional Resources:

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA57092

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/caffeine_sports.htm

http://nutritioninfo.tripod.com/id19.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histamine

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About Paul Kulpinski, LMT

Paul Kulpinski is a licensed massage therapist, holistic wellness coach and co-founder of Mountain Waves Healing Arts in Flagstaff, Arizona with over 15 years experience in helping people achieve their optimum state of well being. Information contained in this blog should not be taken as medical advice. Readers are advised to validate the information presented here with other sources including your personal physician for information specific to you.
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15 Responses to Allergies? Drink More Water

  1. apbglobal says:

    Interesting article – thanks!

    I know naturally sourced multivitamin and mineral supplements help with allergies because since I’ve been taken them I’ve been able to throw away my inhaler! That’s about 2 years now. I just don’t get the symptoms any more – wonderful!

    But I hadn’t heard about hydration helping with allergies. It makes sense as you explain it. How satisfying that something as simple as water can help cure allergies! Anything to avoid pumping steroids into your body.

    Julia Brown

  2. suti says:

    Everybody is aging. But with the professional anti-aging solutions and resources provided in this website, you will certainly be able to slow down the tick of your biological clock!

  3. Liz says:

    I was grateful to find this after realizing for myself that dehydration was the cause of my newly acquired allergy attacks.

    Suddenly I would get a tickle in my nose and all hell would break loose: watery eyes, faucet like nose dripping, and headache inducing sneezing. I had tried all kinds of medications. I even went to an allergy specialist who just had prescribed MORE medication but by that point I doubted the use of drugs and figured there was something I was doing wrong.

    I weighed all of the controls and variables. I have been writing in a journal for almost 15 years the events of my day so I decided to look back and see during these attacks, what had changed? What was I doing differently?

    The answer was drinking alcohol. Three to five days prior to my allergy attacks I would have been drinking, becoming dehydrated due to alcohol consumption and not taking the initiative to drink enough water to make up for the loss of water in my system.

    I started being aware of this and my attacks have subsided almost entirely (except when I’m silly and neglect the signs: tickle in the nose, darker urine, dry lips).

    Far too many people rely on medication for a quick fix when regular maintenance is the cure for most ailments. Proper diet, hydration, rest and exercise change your body drastically for the better. I suppose we’re just too lazy to skip the pill and make the effort and most in the medical field are happy to write you that prescription. Thinking for ourselves and listening to our own bodies, paying attention to what goes in and how we treat it will keep us in fine working order.

    Thanks for providing proof in the biology behind it. Now I can explain it better to all the people that think I’m crazy for being a water-pusher. 🙂

  4. Peter says:

    Paul, I will agree with the water cure for allergies with couple of exceptions. As a former allergy sufferer I can attest to the water cure against pollen allergies. Prior to starting the water regiment I have been taking all allergy products I could find (antihistamine pills, steroid based nasal sprays and other prescriptions) short of steroids shots. Then one day I came across the book titled “Your body’s many cries for water” by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj. The book has made a big impact on me and I decided to give the water a shot. I have been drinking increased amounts of water religiously for the past three years now and my allergy symptoms have gone away. I still drink alcohol occasionally and green tea daily. I did stop drinking coffee though. However, it took me quite a while to properly hydrate my body. I did not see any immediate effects after an hour or two. All in all, it works but it took me about two years to see full affects, hence, I would not consider it as a quick cure.

  5. Fay Whitford says:

    I was glad to have been sent a link to this article. Very informative. Is it really necessary to give up coffee? I love coffee.

  6. TroyW says:

    I lived in Des Moines Iowa for 7 years, for 5 of those I suffered heavily from allergies, not only did I wake up with asthma attacks and take showers and blow my nose non stop, I suffered greatly with my sleep which never allowed me a good nights sleep. I do not have a similar reaction in the south, although I moved back north recently to illinois, I instantly had the same reactions. Before moving back i was aware that it might happen and contemplated what things I need to do to change this from happening. Drinking water was the primary thought, I moved here and every time I had a reaction or my nose would start to close up I drank cups of water. I should do it on a regular basis but I find that I dehydrate easily so its more of a chore than enjoyable. However I have to concur with the findings in this article, I drink water 5 minutes later I feel better. I then drink another glass of water and another and at a certain point I feel great. I have tried it a few times before going to sleep as well and it seems to keep me rested. I just need to put down other drinks and stick with water…

  7. María Beatriz Graterol says:

    Wow! My 14-year-old-son has been having an eye allergy for almost two months. It has been very hard with 7 doctors’s appointments (primary physicians and ophthalmologists) and the prescription of an antibiotic (Tobramycin), antibiotic with steroids – Tobradex -(when they didn’t know the conjunctivitis was allergic), antihistamines of different kinds (Bepreve, Saditor, Pataday), artificial tears (Systane) to counteract the side effects of antihistamines… and the allergy only diminishes at times. The allergy started after playing Playstation (PS) for some hours, and between one of his semi-recoveries, started again after playing PS for just 90 minutes, so for now the PS is not being used any more. I think the cause is not the PS per se, but there are some articles on the Internet about it. Specifically, the short distance between him and the screen has played a major role in this allergy. I’ve been wandering what other cause could be because even without PS the eye allergy doesn’t completely go away. We’ve lived in our apartment for years, don’t have pets, it’s not spring yet, and I really believe (I’ve also asked him about it) he has not eaten anything new that can trigger an allergy… One primary physician ordered blood and urine analysis tests, just for check up, and the only red flag was a trace of protein in his urine, so the Doctor thought it was nothing really important but recommended him to drink more water and to have another urine analysis test in 2 weeks… but forgot to give us the referral to do it. Well, we forgot about it, too. The last ophthalmologist prescribed an immunosuppressant due to the current dry eye my son is presenting, but I have not even bought it yet and I don’t think I’m going to buy it because I don’t want to solve the problem focusing on the side effect of a medication, I want to solve the problem focusing on the cause of the problem. Even more, as the name says it, an immunosuppressant is a drug that suppresses the immune system, and I don’t want my son to be immunosuppressed; thus, prone to all kinds of infections or diseases… so I’ve been debating myself in what is the right thing to do, and of course, I’ve been searching on the Internet all about eye allergies like crazy. Today, I woke up at 4:30 am with an idea in my mind that gave me a light. MIGHT THIS ALLERGY BE CAUSED BY DEHYDRATION? My son has been using a duvet to sleep even when he doesn’t feel cold at all (by the way, periodically in the process I’ve washed it, changed the sheets, and cleaned the fan and room). Sometimes, when I go to his room in the middle of the night, he’s profusely sweating because of the duvet and I have suggested him not to use it anymore, but he thinks I’m exaggerating. It ended up in that my suggestion is now an order, and that’s it. No more words. I can be wrong, but I need to try everything to stop this allergy. Even more, something natural that doesn’t threaten his health. I’m going to go with WATER. Lots of water, seriously, and not as a suggestion; it is definitely an order.
    This article has been very productive to me, and all the comments too. I share my experience with the purpose to move a new reader to try with water. I’ll come back in 2 months to give you my feedback about the water treatment. Thanks for this article!

  8. María Beatriz Graterol says:

    Here again just to let you know that, amazingly, water worked! My son is completely cured of the eye allergy, and it was all about being hydrated. 😀

  9. Great news Maria! Thanks for the update!

  10. Steffanie Parents says:

    eye allergies can be quite tough so i always avoid having eye allergies..

    Remember to look over this useful webpage
    http://www.healthmedicinecentral.com/radon-symptoms/

  11. Nautilus says:

    This is totally true. It works. I actually found it by chance.

    I have been suffering from pollen allergy for 30 years. In the past years it became stronger, going from eye itching and sneezing to asthma. I have started taking medics and an inhalator. Two weeks ago, I was walking in the wild when I became sneezing a lot. I had not taken my anti-histaminic before the walk so I took one on the spot. I swallowed the pill with water, of course, and the symptoms disappeared almost immediately. I was surprised by the speed of the effect. Surely the pill had not even yet reached my intestines? One hour later, the symptoms come back. Reflecting about what I had done one hour earlier, I drank water (without pill) and there again it worked.

    SInce that day, I have drunk a full glass of water as soon as I feel my eyes or throat itching and I have not taken any pill again. By now, the symptoms have almost totally disappeared even though I have to walk across fields of graminaceae every day, which normally trigger a powerful attack of sneezing.

    Surprised by this effect, I was looking for an explanation when I found this interesting article. I’m not sure yet that it explains why drinking water worked so speedily on me but I can guarantee that it works.

  12. Gabrielle says:

    This is amazing. I get what I assumed were allergy attacks year-round, a couple times a week, usually for no reason I can determine. I never stopped to consider that it might have something to do with me not drinking enough water (which I definitely don’t). Many thanks for this insight!

  13. Rachel says:

    Indeed the water cure works. We moved from a house to an animal friendly apartment with carpet. I avoid carpet and cats like the plague. As soon as we moved in allergies developed. Not soon after, asthma ensued. I’ve never had asthma but I had daily wheezing and uncontrollable coughing that wore me out. Praise The Lord I came upon the water cure. I immediately got better after a few days of drinking a gallon of water a day. It’s been a month and no asthma, only occasional short lived mild allergy symptoms when I eat too much omega 6 foods. My face also looks better and eye bags disappeared. Simple but true because God is great and we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

  14. Pingback: Importance of Water. How does dehydration affect you? | Vibrant Existence

  15. Mark A says:

    I fail to see how the 1995 study you cited confirms the process by which dehydration triggers an increase in histamine production by the body’s endocrine system. Clearly, you’re reading something into it that isn’t there.

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