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That moment you discover permaculture is killing your spouse

 
Posts: 1691
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My wonderful husband has been having worse and worse allergy attacks so he went in for a more comprehensive allergy panel. The results, he's allergic to trees, grass and weeds. I told him weeds was rather unspecific and he sent me a list of the weeds included in the test. He laughingly told me he recognized a lot of the names because they are plants I talk about and use on our permaculture property.

So here I sit wondering what to do about this whole mess.
 
pollinator
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If he is allergic to apple tree. It is possible that he cant eat apples or anything in the apple sub-family.
The same goes for the peanut/soy family and for spinach or cabbage family.

You might have to move to southern florida or hawaii where they have a different set of trees and fruits and weeds.
You might have to move to somewhere that is even more desolate and just import all of your food.

If possible can you list which fruit/fruit tree he is able to be around, and which nuts and which vegetables and which grains. Grains are also grasses.

Maybe he will have to move during the bloom season and then come back after all that fruit tree pollen has finished shedding.
 
master pollinator
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It's the pollen of all these that he's allergic to, I'll bet. I have a similar thing with the birch family, which means not only am I miserable when the birch are in bloom, but I also can't eat anything related to them, so no apricots, peaches, cherries, plums, any stone fruit, really, and for some reason, no apple or pear either.

Has he been trying raw local honey? It has helped me somewhat, although the specific environment that it primes you to needs to be close to your home for it to be at all effective, from what I hear.

I suggest upgrading the screens on your home to one fine enough to exclude pollen. He's probably already been told that a shower before bed to rinse collected airborne allergens off is a great idea. I know that if my better half, with whom I sleep, has a quick shower and rinses the dust from her hair, I sleep much better.

My non-species-specific reactions have more to do with particulate size and density than they do with any specific type, but then I am also allergic to dust and mould, and cat and dog hairs, and some, well most, rabbit hair, and probably hay, too. I find that getting rid of soft, pollen and dust-trapping surfaces like carpets, rugs, and drapery cuts down on a lot of the airborne nasties. All it takes is a beam of sunlight to show me how I'm doing.

Lastly, I have one of those ionic air filters, you know, the ones that trap dust and small particles on the surface of charged plates. You could also use a humidifier/dehumidifier/console fan with a filter, and make sure that filter is rated for pollen.

Permaculture isn't killing your spouse. If it weren't pollen, it would be something else, and particulate management is your best bet, in my opinion.

-CK
 
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You might want to look into this [url=pau d%27arco taheebo tea ]Tea[/url] Tea, it can help with a wide variety of inflammation issues (allergic reactions can be caused by internal inflammation issues)
It may or may not work but it is something to look into before going crazy with allergy shots and other treatments.

Redhawk
 
S Bengi
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Pau d'arco taheebo tea looks interesting. I want to do some more research about it.

Chris I second that idea that it is most likely the pollen and I like your suggestions
HEPA filters air purifiers. and frequent filter changes for the heating and cooling system.

Weekly washes for bedding, special covers for pillows if any. No carpet, Wash with hot water every time. There is some confusing info on humidity, it theory higher humidity should make it worse. but in observation lower humidity actually correlate with higher symptoms. More showers help.

Install a ventilation system with a higher inside presser, with heat/energy recovery and a filter on the intake and out take.

Chris the Rose family has 3sub-families the stone fruit subfamily, the apple/pear/quince subfamily and the rose/blackberry/raspberry sub-family.  The stone fruit and apple subfamily are closer togather than the blackberry sub family so that probably explains why you did not list blackberries. Overall it sounds like you are allergic to the rose family and the birch family.

The birch family includes hazelnut/filbert and alder. Which to me are two very cool plants.
 
elle sagenev
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S Bengi wrote:If he is allergic to apple tree. It is possible that he cant eat apples or anything in the apple sub-family.
The same goes for the peanut/soy family and for spinach or cabbage family.

You might have to move to southern florida or hawaii where they have a different set of trees and fruits and weeds.
You might have to move to somewhere that is even more desolate and just import all of your food.

If possible can you list which fruit/fruit tree he is able to be around, and which nuts and which vegetables and which grains. Grains are also grasses.

Maybe he will have to move during the bloom season and then come back after all that fruit tree pollen has finished shedding.



Man, it just says "trees" lol.

He is sensitive to walnuts but almonds aren't a problem. He's an odd man.
 
elle sagenev
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Chris Kott wrote:It's the pollen of all these that he's allergic to, I'll bet. I have a similar thing with the birch family, which means not only am I miserable when the birch are in bloom, but I also can't eat anything related to them, so no apricots, peaches, cherries, plums, any stone fruit, really, and for some reason, no apple or pear either.

Has he been trying raw local honey? It has helped me somewhat, although the specific environment that it primes you to needs to be close to your home for it to be at all effective, from what I hear.

I suggest upgrading the screens on your home to one fine enough to exclude pollen. He's probably already been told that a shower before bed to rinse collected airborne allergens off is a great idea. I know that if my better half, with whom I sleep, has a quick shower and rinses the dust from her hair, I sleep much better.

My non-species-specific reactions have more to do with particulate size and density than they do with any specific type, but then I am also allergic to dust and mould, and cat and dog hairs, and some, well most, rabbit hair, and probably hay, too. I find that getting rid of soft, pollen and dust-trapping surfaces like carpets, rugs, and drapery cuts down on a lot of the airborne nasties. All it takes is a beam of sunlight to show me how I'm doing.

Lastly, I have one of those ionic air filters, you know, the ones that trap dust and small particles on the surface of charged plates. You could also use a humidifier/dehumidifier/console fan with a filter, and make sure that filter is rated for pollen.

Permaculture isn't killing your spouse. If it weren't pollen, it would be something else, and particulate management is your best bet, in my opinion.

-CK



He has been talking about getting a whole home air purifier. I think it's probably the best idea. Though we still have the issue of living on 40 acres where I have purposefully planted a lot of the things he's allergic too. Bah!


We are raising bees. This year will be the first we can collect honey. It will definitely be incorporated into our daily diet!!
 
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Maybe consider making your Zone 1 as large as possible with things he isn't allergic too, even if it means rock gardens or what-have-you.  If you can keep your permie plants farther away, you may be able to find a solution you can both live with.  Moving may not even help.  People with widespread allergies like his are probably going to have issues with car exhaust, air pollution, and other things that you would have even in you moved to an apartment in the city.

Also consider an elimination diet.  It may be that he has food allergies that are pushing him near his allergen threshold and the plants are pushing him over.  If he can minimize other triggers, it may lower his overall allergen load to the point the plants are less hazardous.
 
S Bengi
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elle sagenev wrote:

Man, it just says "trees" lol.

He is sensitive to walnuts but almonds aren't a problem. He's an odd man.



Well hopefully he is okay with at least the rose family (stone fruit +apple/pear +raspberry).

I wonder what additional test is available to zero in on what specific tree/pollen/fruit he is not allergic to or at least lightly allergic to. At least you would be able to grow those ones. Even if you had to remove the offenders
 
elle sagenev
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Trace Oswald wrote:Maybe consider making your Zone 1 as large as possible with things he isn't allergic too, even if it means rock gardens or what-have-you.  If you can keep your permie plants farther away, you may be able to find a solution you can both live with.  Moving may not even help.  People with widespread allergies like his are probably going to have issues with car exhaust, air pollution, and other things that you would have even in you moved to an apartment in the city.

Also consider an elimination diet.  It may be that he has food allergies that are pushing him near his allergen threshold and the plants are pushing him over.  If he can minimize other triggers, it may lower his overall allergen load to the point the plants are less hazardous.



One problem is that he is also allergic to dogs. We have 3. Big hairy ones. We are dog people so not even he is willing to get rid of them.

The thing that showed up as THE BIGGEST allergen for him was weeds. One of them in particular, lambs quarter, is the biggest pain in the butt for me. It's everywhere. It annoys even me. I didn't plant it, it's just a weed. lol


I agree though, I can make a bigger space around the house for him. I knew he was sensitive before so I never have him mow anyway.
 
elle sagenev
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S Bengi wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:

Man, it just says "trees" lol.

He is sensitive to walnuts but almonds aren't a problem. He's an odd man.



Well hopefully he is okay with at least the rose family (stone fruit +apple/pear +raspberry).

I wonder what additional test is available to zero in on what specific tree/pollen/fruit he is not allergic to or at least lightly allergic to. At least you would be able to grow those ones. Even if you had to remove the offenders



He eats a lot of fruits. Course he's allergic to so much narrowing it down could be hard!
 
pollinator
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Chris Kott wrote:Has he been trying raw local honey? It has helped me somewhat, although the specific environment that it primes you to needs to be close to your home for it to be at all effective, from what I hear.



This is a big help from my experience. It is not a quick fix but a long term solution. It is something you need to do over a course of time, it is not going to stop allergies right away but will lessen them over time. I went from having no allergies to suddenly finding myself allergic to lots of tree pollen and stuff. When friends suggested honey, I realized that I used to eat lots of honey when I was a kid but got out of eating it when I was in my 20's. After starting to eat honey again the next year my allergies were still there but a lot less and more manageable. The next year they were minimal, and the year after that almost disappeared. Since then I have made sure to consume plenty of local honey every winter, and have had no issues with allergies the following spring.

You do want honey from close by, but as long as it is from the general region it tends to work well. Raw honey is much more effective than pasteurized honey. The big thing is to find a good source that you can keep getting honey consistently from.
 
Chris Kott
master pollinator
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Another thing you could try is planting female plants of dioecious species in your zone 1.

Pollen gets to where it's going because of the charge of the plant part it's looking for, opposite to its own. So any female flowers, in season, should act as pollen filters, ripping it right out of the air.

Just a thought. Cities that have planted male ornamental trees have accidentally created this problem for allergy sufferers in hopes of saving money on street cleaning, as males don't drop biomass associated with their reproduction. I figured the opposite conditions could solve a similar problem.

Too bad you can't have a cropped pasture and surrounding area of exclusively female plants, or a field of same.

-CK
 
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   Sorry to hear he is having problems.  I can relate. When I was tested out of the 109 things I was tested for I was allergic to all but 3.  But he really needs to find out just what kind of trees and at what intensity the allergen is.  Some of mine were not as severe, while others were extreme.  I saw a lot of good advice it the other post so won't go over all of those. The raw honey is a very good idea. If you could raise your own it would be even better, but try and find someone within 20-30 miles of where you live that has on organic farm. No since in making it worse by adding man made chemicals to the mix. I know they might go outside their farm,but if enough food was provided they don't go far.  And one of my doctors told me that many of mine might in actuality be because of all the man made chemicals that are used on plants now.  As I have even MORE allergies to chemicals in man made products  and most processed foods.  Not only the honey is good, but using all products from the bees can help. The royal honey, propolis, bee pollen ( just so slow on the pollen at first) taking the bee pollen is like getting little doses of the allergen and helps the body build immunities to them. Since those magic little bees do something to it that helps bring the immunities on.                                                                                      
   I am not normally a fan of vaccines or of many medicines as they have often done me much more harm than good.  I did however get allergy shots for almost 3 years.  As they are really just using small amount of the things you are allergic too, I don't think of it as being quite so man made.  They work a lot like the Bee products.   And they really did help me. I still have allergies.  But they are not nearly as severe.    There are other things you can do to help with the symptoms. Don't know if anyone mentioned it, but if you can stand to use a Neti Pot (took me a while)  that can really help to flush out the sinus and bring down inflammation.  There are herbs, depending on what your are allergic too that can help as well.
   I would also really encourage you to get tested for household products and perhaps food. That is something you can get rid of.  Once I cleaned out all the products I had an allergy to I felt soooo much better.  Because if you can stop some of the reactions it can help over all.  Your body tends to think it is under attack when more and more things trigger allergies and then responds increases and increases.                                    
  I wish you luck in this.  But it really can get better.  
 
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We are raising bees. This year will be the first we can collect honey. It will definitely be incorporated into our daily diet!!



This may or may not help. Some people it helps a little. Some people it helps a lot. I had a co-worker whose 13-14 year child had severe allergies his whole life. About a month after he starting eating my local honey he was suffering less. About 3 months later he had no more allergy problems. They lived about 20 miles away but honey from your own backyard is considered better for allergy prevention. Good luck.

 
pollinator
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Elle,

I have suffered extreme fall allergies most of my life so I can sympathize with your husband’s suffering.  Two pharmacological developments in the late ‘90s radically changed my life for the fall allergy season.  The first was non- sedating antihistamines.  The second was nasal corticosteroids.

In my experience, the most effective of the non sedating antihistamines is Zyrtec (now a generic).  It will complete stop my allergy symptoms in their tracks.  The nasal corticosteroids take a couple days to work but once they do, the allergy symptoms just don’t come at all.

I am not certain if you are looking for pharmaceutical options, but these have been absolute Godsends for me.  I used to be a sneezing wreck for the first 6 weeks of each school year.  Since I discovered this one-two knockout punch, I effectively have not had allergies since 1998.  Again, I have no idea your thoughts on medicine, but these are cheap and over-the-counter medications.

I hope this is helpful and I hope your husband feels better.  I know how miserable allergies can make your life.

Eric
 
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This probably won't work with honey, but I've known several people who had bad allergies and lost them when going on a low carb diet and doing keto.  Worth a shot before giving up something you love and uprooting.
 
pollinator
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When I was a 8, I tested as moderately-highly allergic to 40 of 60 common trees around where I grew up (Seattle), as well as to many other common weeds and other plants.  Particularly bad were wetland, river and coastal trees (cottonwood is the worst). Old growth coniferous forest is noticeably better for me, and going into it has even stopped allergy attacks. I had debilitating allergies at times up til five years ago (do you know how much it sucks to have the roof of your mouth itch all the time?), when I moved to where I am near the edge of old growth redwoods. That may be just coincidence though. I never let allergies stop me from living and working outdoors in largely environments with plants I am allergic to for my entire adult life. I have been a backcountry ranger in river valleys and on coasts, and found borderline excessive hydration and spicy food to help with bad days that I had to work through while brushing or hiking through allergen inducing plants.  Maybe it was just immersion that made my allergies go from what I would describe as an average of 7/10 on the reaction scale to 3/10 in the past 10 years. Its hard to say what made my allergies better. Antigen therapy before that may have helped a great deal, and over the counter mullein cherry and homeopathic histamin moderators seem to have correlated with a reduction in my allergies as well. I also moved about as far away from any city and dust as possible here, but the smoke is getting worse here in summer and that is irritating. I take zyrtec every day and find its the best OTC allergy medicine for me. I notice when I skip it. I'd rather not take any medication but it definitely works for me.

I also noticed some of your posts about what is going on with oil and or fracking pollution around your property. While you may have far less than industrialized city, water and air  pollution can aggravate allergies to plants and other natural sources.
 
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As an allergy sufferer, I sympathize with you both.  As others have said though, the problem is not the plants per se, but that your husband seems to be hypersensitive to the allergens. Moving to another area may help in the short term, but it is just as likely that he will develop allergies to the new local plants he is exposed to.

The questions I would want to get answers to are:

1) How severe are his attacks? Are we talking full blown anaphylaxis? Bad hayfever? Continual low grade sniffles?
2) Can the symptoms be managed by medication?
3) Do activities like showering, changing sheets alleviate his symptoms?

I have been seriously looking at investing in a robotic vacuum cleaner, as we have a dog that sheds terribly. Many of the reviews of these say that they do a very good job of alleviating pet allergies, as they drastically reduce pet hair and dust. With the best will in the world, no matter how dedicated you are to cleaning and hoovering you will not be able to maintain the routine of multiple hours per day of vacuuming that a robot can do.

You might also talk to an allergy specialist and see if there is desensitisation treatment available. I had two severe reactions to bee stings after many years of beekeeping. A course of treatment has totally removed that sensitivity and I am back keeping bees again. As a quality of life/confidence issue it is worth looking into.

Best of luck.
 
elle sagenev
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Michael Cox wrote:As an allergy sufferer, I sympathize with you both.  As others have said though, the problem is not the plants per se, but that your husband seems to be hypersensitive to the allergens. Moving to another area may help in the short term, but it is just as likely that he will develop allergies to the new local plants he is exposed to.

The questions I would want to get answers to are:

1) How severe are his attacks? Are we talking full blown anaphylaxis? Bad hayfever? Continual low grade sniffles?
2) Can the symptoms be managed by medication?
3) Do activities like showering, changing sheets alleviate his symptoms?

I have been seriously looking at investing in a robotic vacuum cleaner, as we have a dog that sheds terribly. Many of the reviews of these say that they do a very good job of alleviating pet allergies, as they drastically reduce pet hair and dust. With the best will in the world, no matter how dedicated you are to cleaning and hoovering you will not be able to maintain the routine of multiple hours per day of vacuuming that a robot can do.

You might also talk to an allergy specialist and see if there is desensitisation treatment available. I had two severe reactions to bee stings after many years of beekeeping. A course of treatment has totally removed that sensitivity and I am back keeping bees again. As a quality of life/confidence issue it is worth looking into.

Best of luck.



We do have a Roomba but it absolutely cannot handle our pet hair. It is even the dog designated one. It just clogs up so fast that I spend the entire time brushing the pet hair out of the roomba.


He is medicated. My husband is an unlucky guy in that he also has asthma. So breathing in general is just hard for him. We've noticed when we drive west of town he is sneezing and coughing like crazy. We live east of town where it is moderately better. But yeah, listening to him try to breathe kind of freaks me out. We live at pretty high altitude and his Dr has suggested that a move to a lower altitude would probably help. All our family is here though. We struggle with leaving them since our kids LOVE them, and so do we.

So we have all hardwood floors except in our bedroom. He puts stuff on the floor about once a week and vacuums it up. Seems to help a bit.
 
elle sagenev
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Ben Zumeta wrote:I also noticed some of your posts about what is going on with oil and or fracking pollution around your property. While you may have far less than industrialized city, water and air  pollution can aggravate allergies to plants and other natural sources.



Yes so this is actually a huge concern of ours as there are 2 drilling pads staked out in the field in front of our house. They haven't started drilling yet but it is not something we are looking forward to. Moving is certainly on the table. The issue there being that to keep our kids in the same school district (which we love) there is essentially no drilling safe area to live. It's everywhere.
 
elle sagenev
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Eric Hanson wrote:Elle,

I have suffered extreme fall allergies most of my life so I can sympathize with your husband’s suffering.  Two pharmacological developments in the late ‘90s radically changed my life for the fall allergy season.  The first was non- sedating antihistamines.  The second was nasal corticosteroids.

In my experience, the most effective of the non sedating antihistamines is Zyrtec (now a generic).  It will complete stop my allergy symptoms in their tracks.  The nasal corticosteroids take a couple days to work but once they do, the allergy symptoms just don’t come at all.

I am not certain if you are looking for pharmaceutical options, but these have been absolute Godsends for me.  I used to be a sneezing wreck for the first 6 weeks of each school year.  Since I discovered this one-two knockout punch, I effectively have not had allergies since 1998.  Again, I have no idea your thoughts on medicine, but these are cheap and over-the-counter medications.

I hope this is helpful and I hope your husband feels better.  I know how miserable allergies can make your life.

Eric



He does take meds. So does our daughter, who has taken right after her daddy. Poor thing.
 
Eric Hanson
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Elle,

Do the meds help at all?  Sorry to hear about your daughter as well.  Allergies used to make me miserable for 6 weeks starting at about the last half of August and all of September.  It was ragweed season.  Sadly, at that time the only medication that helped at all was benadryl.  Benadryl indeed eliminated my symptoms but made me so tired I was essentially a non-functional human being for the duration of the pill's action.  For me it was a tough choice whether to take the benadryl or not.  On the one hand I could eliminate my symptoms but become a zombie for about 6 hours or I could take nothing and be a sneezing, itching mess.  In either case I was not much of a use to anyone during this time.  I essentially don't remember my first 6 weeks of school on account of either being distracted by sneezing and itching or being zombified by benadryl.  For me, the nasal corticosteroids and zyrtec have meant that my allergy season is effectively gone.

I really wish your family the best of luck.  I say this as someone who has suffered the misery of hay fever each year.

Best of Luck

Eric
 
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My wife has severe allergies to grasses and trees (especially pine) and takes Zyrtec everyday but that only partially helps. Recently a specialist recommended rinsing out her sinuses when she's taking a shower. That has a helped a LOT. She typically takes a shower in the morning but if her sinuses are giving her extra trouble she takes a shower in the evening as well (using the nasal rinse both times) and that really helps her sleep better. Just look up the neti pot if you haven't heard of sinus rinses.

Hope your husband finds some relief.
 
pollinator
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Sorry to hear about the struggles, allergies are the worst. The thing that has worked the best for me is eyebright tincture (not sure the scientific name). I ordered a powder of the plant from mountain rose herbs and then disolved it in a mix of alcohol and glycerin then took it religiously twice a day for 5 days with 2 days off every week. After about 9 months my general reaction to allergens was greatly reduced. I try to remember to take it with some regularity still but in general I have much fewer and less severe symptoms than before
 
pollinator
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It is scary to listen to a husband trying to breathe.  Mine also has asthma along with allergies.  Unfortunately, he has now developed allergies with wood dust. We heat our house with wood as well as supplying our firewood.  We are trying to figure out what changes will improve things since I am limited with helping due to a rib injury. I have been trying to get him to wear a mask when carrying wood, but that isn't working too well🙄  Right now I am cleaning a lot to keep indoor dust down.  I am also looking into getting an indoor filter.

With his seasonal tree and plant allergies, a neti pot has helped with clearing his sinuses, which has helped his breathing.  When working in the yard, he will sometimes wear a mask if I am there to remind him.

The current two cats are outdoors only. The dogs are a problem, but at least the dog allergy is not as reactive as the cat hair. One is mostly outdoors as he loves cold weather, but the 12 1/2 year shepherd (super hairy) has been inside in front of the wood stove a lot more than usual because of her arthritis.

We have started using local honey as of last year, but haven't noticed any difference (besides a better taste).  The other thing we tried is removing a lot of dairy from our diet. I had read that it could contribute to inflammation and drainage so figured it was worth a shot. The half and half he does still use comes from an organic dairy farm.  I can't afford to get all our dairy organic, so that has made a good compromise.  This has definately made a difference. Even he realized dairy was a contributing factor, since then he stopped moaning over missing his yogurt and ice cream😀  

I hope you all find some success with whatever methods you try.

 
Ben Zumeta
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I forgot to mention, right as my allergies have gotten better, my wife’s have gotten much worse than she’s ever had before. I am not sure which is worse, having bad allergies or being around people who are miserable from their own.
 
pollinator
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My wife suddenly became allergic to polen. I removed some comb with polen in it from our hives and she was alright that year. Polen in the combs fermented and mixed with honey (bee bread) and it is a good source to inoculate human beings.

Also, whenever council sprays glyphosate in our street (visible red paint on the ground), she bursts into tears with a runny nose. I strongly think there is a connection.
 
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My horrible allergies were one of the things that prompted me to change my diet years ago.  I second the elimination diet idea.  

In addition to eyes swollen shut, wanting to tear my throat out itchiness, and buckets of snot, I had other issues I never thought at the time to connect to diet.  I was kinda phlegmy all the time - always clearing my throat.  I had issues with eczema and dry skin.  I was hypersensitive to fragrances (they still bother me, but not to the point of migraine headaches and, once, loss of consciousness).  I had social anxiety and depression.  Diet is huge.  The last couple years I've started eating a bit of grain again because it's so easy to grow in our poor soil, and I can see little symptoms creeping back.

The honey suggestion isn't a bad one, but I ate local honey and bee pollen for years and it never helped with the seasonal allergies I got.  So it doesn't work for everyone.

I hope you guys figure something out.  People who've never had them don't understand how limiting and awful allergies can be.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:[
We do have a Roomba but it absolutely cannot handle our pet hair. It is even the dog designated one. It just clogs up so fast that I spend the entire time brushing the pet hair out of the roomba. ...

He puts stuff on the floor about once a week and vacuums it up. Seems to help a bit.



Our daughter has severe allergies.  She recommends using the Roomba every day.

I wonder if using a Swiffer in the areas where the pet hair is the worst, prior to using the Roomba would help keep it from getting stopped up?
 
Chris Kott
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A caution about swiffers: don't use their detergent product if you have pets or allergies. They can harm the pets and set off allergies, or at least that was the case with me.

-CK
 
Chris Kott
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Also, I meant to offer thanks for your information, S Bengi. I didn't know about the specific plant inter-relations as it came to the rose family, or that hazels and birch are related. I think I am fine on that one, anyways, as I regularly eat a tonne of Nutella without even the mouth-itch that the fruit of birch-related trees will give, but it is good to know.

-CK
 
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