What is an Allergy?
When we have an instant response to contact with a particular substance this is referred to as an allergic reaction. These reactions can be local and just affect a small area or they can be body wide. Their impact can be severe and life threatening down to mildly irritating.
Degrees of response
Anaphylaxis – life threatening – closure of airways, obstructed breathing, swollen lips, tongue or other body parts. Do not ignore these symptoms!
Allergy – immediate reaction
Sensitivity – may take a few hours to express
Intolerance – may produce unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms which may not appear for a day or two after contact with the allergen
Factors that influence your allergic response are
Genetics – if one of your parents has an allergy you have a 25% chance of having some expression of that in your body. If both your parents have allergies you have a 50% chance of expressing an allergy.
Within my practice I find that families may develop related but different symptoms in each generation. For example, hay fever in mother may present as asthma in the child, who then becomes a parent and the grandchild presents with eczema.
Immunity – our immune system is our key protector and is working constantly to defend us against any perceived threat from bacteria, viruses and germs. When we become ill our immunity can be depleted leaving us vulnerable to attack.
Stress – We talk about this a lot so you will be aware that stress impacts our immunity and leaves us exposed to producing more histamine which ultimately can provoke allergic reactions.
Environment – our body is our environment. What we put into it can change its balance quickly and sometimes negatively. Medication such as antibiotics whilst necessary can destroy our normal gut bacteria so this is why we suggest a course of probiotics alongside your antibiotic treatment.
Our environment can also be affected by hygiene issues, the food we eat, the lifestyle we lead, the water we do or don’t drink, exercise we do and of course the toxins we are exposed to
Emotions – have you ever noticed when you are irritated by something or someone that you get nasal symptoms? It is as if someone is getting up your nose! You may laugh but I see these correlations in my practice all the time. The body expresses the mind very clearly sometimes
There are many types of allergic reaction; we have already discussed food and its impact on our bodies (read our blogs on going Gluten Free, Dairy Free and about Sugar!)
Sadly the list of substances that can be described as allergens seems to be constantly increasing:
Foods include the obvious culprits – gluten, wheat, dairy, sugar, nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, soy, celery and sulphites
Other allergens around the home include – cleaning products, skincare products, latex, mould, dust, hair dye, cosmetics and medication
Out and about you may encounter animal fur, insect bites and stings, fumes from cars or factories, grass, flower and tree pollens
Symptoms will include but are not exclusive to:
Sneezing, runny or blocked nose, diarrhoea or constipation, vomiting or nausea, headaches, rashes, coughing or breathing difficulties, watery eyes, asthma or eczema
Help with allergies:
There are many different approaches to allergies and obviously treatment needs to reflect your specific allergy
Lavender can be very calming and help reduce skin inflammation
Eucalyptus is good for any breathing issues – it really helps clear the airwaves
Your best practice is a food diary to help you identify the foods you react to. Write down everything you eat for a month and notice the patterns. If you find a suspect then eliminate it from your diet for a month. After one month gradually introduce the food again and see how your body reacts
Probiotics will help to address your gut flora balance after a digestive upset.
An allergenic reaction creates an inflammatory response. Supplements like fish oils and turmeric can help redress your body balance
There are a variety of antioxidants all able to support the immune system and fight toxic invaders. Your options include Vitamins A, C, E plus Zinc, Selenium and CoQ10.
Olive Leaf Extract is an anti-vital product that many swear by. It appears to be very effective at blocking virus production in the body
Beta Glucans are recognised for its support to the immune system. This ingredient has helped me through many colds over the years and is a great support for anyone who has an immune system issue
Echinacea is a favourite herb known and used by many. It works very successfully to battle cold and flu like symptoms which often present themselves during an allergic reaction
Garlic is another immune boosting herb you can try.
Ginger is anti-bacterial/ fungal/ parasitic/viral
Remedies need to be selected to match the symptoms as this is a general article it is not appropriate to specify particular remedies.