A-a-achooo no more

Bharat Savur | Updated on August 31, 2011 Published on August 18, 2011

Wear a cap in a chilly environment. Keeping the head warm staves off sneezes.


There are ways to deal with that allergy or cold that you can't get rid off.

I'm 45, 5 ft 11 inches tall, and weigh 58 kg. For the past three years, I've had allergic rhinitis and have tried allopathy, homoepathy and ayurveda treatments and I'm now back on allopathy. Symptoms are loss of smell, nasal congestion, sneezing, wheezing. They are at their worst in the morning and become better as the day progresses. I take one anti-allergy tablet at night. Please help as this is affecting my work and concentration.


First, relax your mind. Rhinitis is only a medical term for a persistently stuffy nose. And a congested nose naturally cannot sniff out aromas. The trouble with rhinitis is that, unlike the common cold, it stays put! The following steps should raise your spirits and restore your concentration:

Walk or cycle for 30 minutes daily. Be active all day. Anecdotal evidence shows that those with rhinitis find their health greatly improved when they are on the move.

Avoid alcohol. It worsens the sneezing. Avoid smoking and, wherever possible, second-hand smoking to decrease wheezing.

Three days a week, experiment by dropping from your diet one from this list of known allergens: milk products, tomato, ginger, white sugar, white flour, bread/ rotis, deep fried foods (sometimes, the excess oil gets you), ice creams, fizzy drinks, sour foods. Any improvement means you have to avoid that food.

Gradually go on a natural diet: Let at least 50 per cent of your meal-portions be raw vegetable salad, fruit chaat. Substitute white rice with nutrient-rich brown rice. Have an egg daily. It contains the Vitamin B biotin which helps combat allergy.

Add karvhol-plus capsule drops to a bowl of boiling water. Inhale the steam for 10 minutes daily.

Avoid constipation. Food allergies are generally due to an immune system not functioning at its best due to years of pollutants in the air, soil, water, antibiotics, harmful chemicals. A cleansed system enormously aids the immune system to heal itself. Foods that help are okra, spinach, guava, papaya and mango. Drink 1.5 litres of warm water.

Get sufficient sleep.

Finally, wear a cap if you work in an air conditioned environment. Keeping the head warm staves off sneezes.

I'm 27. One and a half years ago, I started having severe pain in the neck that spread to the head. The orthopaedist said my bones were fine. The rheumatologist advised calictrol sachets twice a week because my Vitamin D level dropped to 5. It rose to 22 and I felt better. Yet, the pain has recently started again. The only thing I did was a session of power yoga a week ago. And in the art of living course, after doing breathing exercises for a few hours, my muscles stiffen and pain increases. Please advise.


I think you're on a learning curve. You have to start taking note of how much exercise is good for your body and how much over-exerts and causes pain. For example, a friend who did 100 surya namaskars at a power yoga session ended up with a slip disc. Another did 20 and is suffering from painful muscle spasms around her waist and upper back. Likewise, breathing is a powerful technique and must be done for just 1-3 minutes initially until the body strengthens. In any exercise, I suggest you stick to the beginner's level for 5 years. Remember, exercise should heal, not create hell. Stop where you feel good and don't increase the reps. Note: Never exercise when in pain.

Simultaneously, in consultation with your doctor, continue the Vitamin D sachets. Spend 20-30 minutes daily in the morning sun — it's a great Vitamin D source.

I'm 51, have high blood pressure (170/90) and take 2.5 mg stamlo every night for it. I swim 35 minutes five days a week or walk 55 minutes. After a swim at 7 p.m., I snack — two dosas, a small bowl of poha, sabudana khichdi, two cutlets or farsan plus a small bowl of fruits. Then just before 9 p.m., I eat two small chapattis, bhaji and a bowl of curd rice. I know this is wrong and the dietician told me to have food at one time around 8 p.m. What should I do about hunger pangs?

C.S. Venkatraman

If you're hungry after your swim, why fill up on heavy snacks needlessly? Instead, at 7 p.m., enjoy a hearty dinner. It's a beautiful, fulfilling feeling to eat when the body is truly hungry. Have 2-4 chappatis, bhaji, dal, vegetable salad and curd. Then, at 9 p.m., have a bowl of fresh fruit.

You'll soon get used to this healthy way of living. While you're at it, please avoid fried farsan, cutlets and other oily foods completely. The low-fat approach will make a big positive difference to your blood pressure, I assure you. It will drop to 120/80. Swimming too is excellent to lower blood pressure. Keep it up!

The writer is co-author of the book Fitness for Life.

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Published on August 18, 2011
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