As it is with many health conditions, symptoms are expressed similarly amongst the affected population, but root issues may be more diverse, varying from person to person.

1. Genetic vulnerability and predisposition. Generally, in eastern medicine, constitutional weakness often leads to respiratory and immunocompromised health conditions.

2. Even born of healthy constitution, poor eating habits and environmental factors can affect a healthy person in a negative manner--leading to weakened or compromised immune system. Eastern medicine would recognize this condition as 'dampness ' formation as a result of inability to properly perform 'transformation and transportation' (metabolism) function. Not only does this cause allergies, but it can also express itself as weight gain, retention of water especially in the lower half of the body, lethargy, and poor digestion (gas/ belching, flatulence, distension, loose stool).

3. Ignoring elevated stress level, prolonged exposure to environmental toxins, and poor rest/sleep can accumulate and weaken the body's ability to resist causative factors.

Most of us are trained to react to diseases, but we can do more. Eastern medicine philosophy asks us to always treat the person and the root, not the just the disease and symptoms. This means one must act while healthy rather than reacting when diseases have arrived or have begun to attack. Nutrition, physical training, meditation/ mental wellness exercises, and care specific to shielding from an individual's vulnerabilities must be practiced before the season arrives. For instance, if one is vulnerable to spring pollen and windy conditions, he/she must build up immunity starting in summer and autumn in order to survive winter and ward off spring's attack.

Visit your trusted acupuncturist/ herbalist soon. There's so much to do before spring arrives! Prepare now and enjoy your health dividends.