The Chemistry of Allergies

An allergy is characterized as an immune reaction to the presence of certain substances in one’s body. Allergies occur when the immune system mistakes a harmless substance for a pathogen. The immuniglobin responsible for allergies is the IgE immuniglobin. Humans are not born with IgE antibodies in their body. The IgE develops 10 days after the first exposure to allergens. Therefore, it takes repeated exposure to an allergen, to develop an allergy. Allergies are often not formed upon first exposure.

Have you ever wondered why people have specific allergies? This is because IgE immuniglobins have a single protein structure and a set of molecules that all have a slightly different structure. The IgE, for example that reacts with pollen, is not the same IgE that will react with dust. People who have allergic reactions, also have more IgE present in their bodies than the average, non-allergy containing person. For example: people with hay fever have about 14 times as much IgE as those who do not.

There are four basic ways that allergens can enter human bodies: inhaling, touching, ingestion or by injection. There are also two basic types of allergic reactions known as: immediate or delayed. In a delayed allergic reaction, symptoms usually appear about 4 hours, to a few days after exposure to an allergen. In an immediate reaction, symptoms usually appear only minutes after exposure.

The chemical that is associated with the symptoms of allergy such as itching or swelling, is called Histamine. Histamine is the main chemical involved in allergies. Histamine is formed from the breakdown of Histine, which is an amino acid. Histamine causes many things that lead to the symptoms experienced during an allergic reaction. Histamine, for example, can cause contraction or swelling of certain muscles, or stimulate the production of tears or saliva. It can also cause blood vessels to become dilated, which leads to swelling. The most severe reaction relating to histamine is known as anaphylactic shock. This occurs when an allergy causes a significant drop in blood pressure, and can result in death.

There are chemical treatments that are used to treat allergies. Some of these treatments include: steroids and antihistamines. Antihistamines are the most commonly distributed chemical treatment for allergies. Antihistamines simply block histamines from certain sites on cells, which prevents the allergic reaction caused by histamines from occurring. There are very many antihistamine medications that affect people in different ways. That is why it is best to consult a doctor about the one best suited to your specific body type and allergy. Steroids work to relieve swelling, itching and redness that occurs as a result of an allergic reaction. Therefore, steroids are often used on allergy symptoms such as hives or eczema.

Allergies – How to Handle Mold and Your Dryer Exhaust Venting System

Clothes Dryers are a great convenience in our modern day world. They make our lives easier and less complicated than our parents in the past who hung their clothes out to dry on the clothes line. Some people today do not even know what a clothes line is. If you do not, do a search on Google to find out what one is. This convenience is great but it does have a few flaws that very few people even know about. One of them is that they can create mold that can affect individuals with Asthma and Allergies. We will go into these flaws in this article.

If you notice that every time you dry a load of clothes the lint catcher is full of lint that needs to be emptied every other time. This is because it prevents the lint from blowing out the exhaust vent. The truth is, it does not catch all the lint and some goes outside and the rest deposits on the inside of the exhaust vent pipe. Generally, most of the deposits of lint will be where the bends or angles are in the pipe unless you have one of the old ribbed metal piping. The problem with these deposits is that no one ever cleans the pipe.

When was the last time you cleaned your dryer exhaust pipe. It slowly becomes a fire hazard and a mold factory over the years. Have you ever opened your dryer and smelled a musty odor? That musty and moldy odor is from when the wind backdrafts into the house from the outside. This is a common problem for most households. Besides the mold, a lot of house fires can originate from the house dryer exhaust. According to National Fire Protection Agency, dryer exhausts cause more than 10,000 house fires a year. Most of these incidents occur in homes and are the result of improper lint cleanup and maintenance. Fortunately, these fires are very easy to prevent.

In conclusion, it is important to maintain your dryer vent system to prevent mold and fires from happening. Having a licensed Duct Cleaning Company come and clean the dryer vent is a must and should be done on a regular basis. In fact, after reading this article, call a Duct Cleaning Company to clean your dryer exhaust out now. If not, you could be suffering from allergies due to backdrafting of your dryer vent into your home or the worst case scenario, a fire could start from your dryer vent exhaust.

If you have any questions, feel free to call us or visit our website.

Why Do More People Have Allergies Now Than Ever Before?

Did you know that allergy symptoms have everything to do with your immune system’s response to foods and particles? So if your immune system is in a poor state, your chances of having allergies increases. You may have noticed that more and more children are growing up with allergic reactions to pets and foods. You also see more people with eczema, hay fever, lupus, multiple sclerosis and asthma due to a poor immune system. You’ll find more and more families trusting and utilizing naturopathic care center to obtain allergy testing and natural treatment.

All of the aforementioned diseases are caused by the immune system not being able to recognize common substances that are harmless, like peanuts and pollen. If this is a problem you have, then your body’s defense systems are out of whack. MS, lupus, Type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease are all considered autoimmune diseases.

An autoimmune disease is when your body attacks itself, such as the nerves, digestive tract or pancreas. According to experts, the amount of people living with allergies and autoimmune diseases have quadrupled within just a few decades. In fact, more than 50 percent of Americans today have at least one allergy.

Why the Rise in Allergies?

There are different speculations as to the reasons why this problem is growing at such a rapid rate in a short period of time. One explanation given is that it’s due to our modern way of living. Today’s kids are growing up in sterilized homes, which prevents their immune systems from becoming stronger. In the past, your body was exposed to numerous bacteria and viruses at an early age, which helped to develop your immune system. This is known as the hygiene hypothesis.

Another explanation is that our diet and air pollution are to blame, along with our sedentary lifestyles and obesity. Both seem to point to how we live today, which goes to show that whatever it is we’re doing, it’s causing our health to decline. These issues are mainly seen in North America and Europe. However, allergies and autoimmune diseases are now starting to rise in other countries that are developing.

Sterile Lifestyles = Increased Allergies

You’d think that living a cleaner life would be better for your body and health, but if the hygiene hypothesis is right, then this is why most people in America now suffer from allergies. Your immune system is underdeveloped and so it is unable to decipher between real threats and harmless particles, such as dust bunnies and pollen.

You may know of some people who like to travel around with a bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer everywhere they go. Then the foods they eat and prescriptions they take are also filled with antibiotics, which are used kill off all types of germs. This lifestyle is hindering you from being exposed to the germs, which would in turn allow your body to identify them.

The food and medical industry are too busy killing these bacteria and now generations later, we have children and adults who have never been exposed to them. While it’s a good thing that viruses, bacteria and parasites are being reduced, it’s not a good thing for your body’s defense mechanisms.

Speaking with a naturopathic doctor can help you learn how to better care for your family members who have allergies.

How the Immune System Works

There are two parts to your immune system – one releases white blood cells, which attack cells in your body that have been infected and the other attacks the intruder responsible for infecting the cells. You should consult with a family care physician that specializes in naturopathic care, so you can learn natural ways to treat allergy symptoms. You can also obtain other services, like ozone therapy.

How to Relieve Allergies and Allergic Shiners

There are many different types of allergies, and millions of people around the world suffer from the irritating and miserable symptoms each and every day. And although one in every five adults across the United States suffers from the symptoms of nasal allergies, the issue remains surprisingly under diagnosed and undertreated.

Some allergic symptoms can become so severe that they actually cause allergic shiners to appear under and around the eyes. Allergic shiners cause the areas under the eyes to swell and discolor as in the case of a black eye, or shiner.

Allergic shiners can make an individual appear as if they have just spent a round or two boxing in the ring with Mike Tyson. The discoloration and swelling is a result of allergic symptoms that cause the congestion of small blood vessels located underneath the skin in these areas. Nasal rhinitis, which is a nasal allergy, has been known to produce a combination of issues that can include shiners, swelling of the throat, watery eyes, headaches, mouth breathing, and more.

A short list of several different types of allergies includes, but is not limited to the following:

· Food allergies

· Seasonal allergies

· Nasal allergies

· Pet allergies

· Plant allergies

· Drug allergies

· Sinusitis

· Hay Fever

· Hives

· And more

How to relieve allergies:

You will find that there are several different methods used when learning how to relieve allergies; however, it is best if you can isolate the cause of your allergic symptoms so you can better determine which treatment is best for your particular case.

If your allergies are severe and preventing you from performing your everyday tasks, it is probably best that you pay a visit to an allergen specialist; they will perform a series of blood and scratch tests that can help identify the cause. The doctor or specialist can then make more suitable over-the-counter drug recommendations, administer a shot to relieve the symptoms, and offer other forms of treatment and advice.

A specialist may also administer desensitizing treatments that can help prevent or minimize future allergic reactions. Sub lingual drops placed directly beneath the tongue may also be used to desensitize and are an appropriate alternative for those who do not wish to visit a specialist or a physician on a regular basis. If a monthly visit to a physician is not an issue, you can also consider getting a monthly EPD, or Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization.

Individuals should always take into account the many factors involved when it comes to allergy symptoms. The presence and severity of a variety of allergies can be caused and affected by anything from your home environment, geographic location, pollen counts, pollen sources, and much more. Understanding how these factors affect your specific allergies will help you determine which steps to take in treating them.

Following is a list of tips and suggestions on how to relieve allergies of the most common types:

1. The first thing that you’ll want to do for how to relieve allergies is to clean and dust the entire home. Vacuum all of the carpets and drapes using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA Filter.

2. Service and replace all air filters in the home immediately and continue to do so every 30 days. This includes your heating and AC unit as well as the furnace.

3. Keep the allergens outside by closing windows and other entrances to the home. Turning the ac unit on will also help circulate the air and filter out excess pollen.

4. Determine whether antihistamines or decongestants help better for how to relieve allergies and symptoms. Decongestants should be used to bring immediate relief of symptoms by contracting the small blood vessels located under the skin under the eyes and in the membranes of the nose. On the other hand, Antihistamines are designed to block the harmful effects that histamines cause in the first place.

5. For swollen and watery eyes, try a cold press or eye cream that contains caffeine; Cold and caffeine both work to reduce swelling.

6. Try using a prescription nasal spray such as Nasonex or Flonase. These reduce swelling in the nasal passage and provide relief of irritating allergic symptoms. Many physicians will prescribe antihistamine nasal sprays when oral antihistamines are ineffective. Treating the problem directly at its source can have a much better effect than taking antihistamines orally.

7. Use an all-natural salt water rinse to clear out irritants such as pollen in the nose.

8. Use the recirculation feature on your vehicle when driving instead of opening the windows. This will reduce the amount of pollen and other irritants from entering the vehicle.

9. Try immunotherapy techniques. This works by a gradually released exposure to common allergens that are difficult to stay away from such as pollen. The objective is to train the immune system to ignore and not react to these allergens. Immunotherapy should only be used when other forms of treatment aren’t effective.

10. Try natural remedies. All-natural antihistamines can help reduce congestion, while antimicrobial herbs such as grapefruit seed extract, golden root, stinging nettle, and butterbur help prevent sinus allergies and nasal infections as well.

After learning how to relieve allergies and they continue to cause a problem, you should always take them seriously and visit your personal physician or an allergen specialist as soon as possible.

Understanding the Top 8 Food Allergies

Food allergies have become an important topic in recent years for a multitude of reasons. Their incidence has been on the rise, affecting 30% of adults and 40% of children. People can be allergic to just about anything but there are 8 allergens which are most common.

What is an allergy?

When your body is exposed to an irritant (known as an allergen), such as pollen, it launches an attack against it. Most of the time when this happens, we don’t even notice it. Sometimes, if there’s an overabundance of the allergen or your body is especially sensitive to it, this immune response shifts into overdrive. Your eyes water, your nosy gets stuffy, or you break out in an itchy rash. Some allergens cause life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis, which leads to a sudden drop in blood pressure and a narrowing of breathing airways.

Foods can also act as allergens. When someone is allergic to a food, they can’t eat it at all. Some allergies are so severe that people can’t even be near the irritant, as breathing it in or touching it could cause anaphylaxis. An allergy is different than a food sensitivity or intolerance. Intolerances, such as the inability to digest milk (lactose intolerance) are not typically life-threatening, although they will cause discomfort, such as bloating and diarrhea, if ingested.

The Big 8

The Big 8 are the cause of 90% of recorded allergies and labeling is required by the FDA to warn consumers of their presence or possible presence in foods.

1. Peanuts: Peanuts are actually legumes, which as a group are responsible for a large number of allergic reactions. People allergic to peanuts are not likely to be allergic to other legumes, such as lentils. Children are more likely to develop a peanut allergy if they already have an egg allergy.

2. Shellfish: Shellfish can also cause severe allergic reactions. Crustaceans (shrimp, lobster, crabs) are the most common, although some allergic reaction may occur with mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters). Shrimp is considered the most allergenic.

3. Fish: Pollock, salmon, cod, tuna, mackerel, and snapper are among the fish which commonly trigger fish allergies. The allergen in this group is the fish muscle protein parvalbumin. These allergies are often developed during adulthood and are less likely to be outgrown.

4. Milk: Milk allergy is the most common allergy in infants and young children. A milk allergy causes an immune response to the proteins in milk. All milks, including those from cows, goats, and sheep can pose a problem. Most children outgrow their milk allergy.

5. Eggs: Also common in children, both the yolk and the whites of eggs can trigger a reaction, but in some cases the egg yolk is less allergenic. Eggs are not only used in foods, but also in skincare products and cosmetics which contain eggs. Most children will outgrow their egg allergy.

6. Soy: Also in the legume family, soy is an allergy that kids are likely to outgrow. Here in the United States, soy is most often found in processed foods, either as soybean oil or soy protein isolate. People with soy allergies may be able to have soy lecithin without issue.

7. Wheat: Wheat allergies are fairly common and typically resolve during childhood. A wheat allergy is different than Celiac disease, where gluten causes the inflammatory reaction. Celiac disease launches a different immune response than other allergens. Actual wheat allergies are uncommon in adults.

8. Tree nuts: One of the most potent and common allergens, tree nut allergies affect 1.1% of the world’s population. Those affected by the tree nut allergy should avoid macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and pine nuts. The reactions associated with tree nuts are often severe, with walnuts and cashews causing the most reactions. At least 90% of children that have a tree nut allergy will not outgrow it.

In Conclusion

Accuracy in food labeling is critical for people with allergies, but it’s not as easy to be sure when dining out. Don’t be afraid to ask your server or the chef what’s in the dishes, including any allergens the foods may have come in contact with. It’s in your best interest to enjoy your meal safely!

Manage Allergies In College – 5 Ways To Minimize Allergy Woes

College dorms and apartments can be filled with airborne particulates and odors that can send your allergies into overdrive. Here are 5 ways to successfully manage your allergies and keep symptoms to a minimum.

Live Alone—Granted, this is easier said than done possibly because of financial reasons on your end and the way many colleges assign rooms. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And since this is a request that will effect your health, nothing beats a failure but a try. And who knows, the answer may very well be yes. You will have the most control over who and what comes into your space if you’re the only one in it.

If you wind up with a roommate after all, ask for their help, and let them know what things will trigger you symptoms. Unless you get someone who is really seriously not nice, most people are likely to refrain from using products that knowingly cause you problems.

Stay Prepared—Always carry a fast-acting medication that can temporarily stop symptoms from escalating. Many local pharmacies have done us a great service by employing pharmacists that are knowledgeable and more than willing to suggest medications off the shelf that can really improve your day-to-day quality of life.

Be sure to check to see if drowsiness is a side effect. And if it is, choose the times that you take it very carefully, as in not right before class, or a performance, or when you intend to drive.

Figure out which medication works best for you. Then keep extras in your car, overnight bag, purse, back pack and cosmetic case. Make it easy to get to at the first sign of symptoms that could get out of hand.

Stay Tuned In To Weather Conditions—If your allergies are triggered by pollen and other outdoor pollutants, staying up to date about the level of irritants in the air is crucial.

There are websites that gives the pollen count by zip code, and local news and radio will also have information about the air quality to expect for the day.

Staying inside to avoid the trigger on days when the allergens are off the chart may seem punitive at first. But when comparing it to the alternative of possibly suffering symptoms that can range from irritating to debilitating, avoidance looks pretty good.

Limit Air Exchange—Opening the windows to let some fresh air in can be quite a misconception. Exchange of outdoor air with indoor air is just that—an exchange, and not necessarily a healthy improvement. Often it simply means exchanging air with one set of pollutants for a different set.

Leave windows closed in the dorm, and keep the vents and windows rolled up in the car, particularly during peak seasons for you.

Filter The Air—Use a portable air cleaner that contains a HEPA or high efficiency particle arresting filter. This is the most efficient at removing the particles that often trigger allergies.

This filter can remove 99,997 out of every 10,000 airborne particles that are.3 microns or larger. Some of these particles include dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, pollen, bacteria, and viruses.

24 hours filtration is so important in this situation so don’t settle for a unit that cannot provide this. Also look for little to zero maintenance requirements. Avoid those that produce any amount of ozone or ionized particles and studies differ about how safe and effective they really are.

How to Help a Dog Suffering With Skin Allergies

All dogs scratch occasionally, but if your dog seems to scratch constantly, it may be a sign that he is suffering with some type of allergy. Some of these conditions may be easily cured, but dogs with pollen or environmental allergies may require treatment throughout their lives.

Skin inflammation is common for dogs with allergies and may cause them to scratch, lick, chew or rub their faces obsessively. In order to bring the misery under control, the owner must be committed to prompt attention to skin flare-ups, effective parasite control and certain simple home strategies. Here are some ways to get started.

  • Control fleas. Your dog’s veterinarian will be able to provide the most effective treatment for your pet. Sometimes this may involve a flea problem within your home. If so, the vet should be able to recommend useful treatments or you may need to engage a professional insect/pest control service.
  • Bathe your dog. Oftentimes a cool bath with an oatmeal shampoo will give your dog some relief. You should be able to do this up to twice a week. If the skin irritation is more severe, the veterinarian might prescribe an antibiotic shampoo for you to use.
  • Clothing for your dog. This might sound strange, but a close-fitting t-shirt or bodysuit made out of a light fabric can keep the allergens that are irritating your dog away from his skin. It will also help prevent your dog from gnawing or biting an irritation and turning it into a full-blown open wound.
  • Food for your dog. If your dog has a food allergy, you can work with the veterinarian to find a specialty pet food or even a home-prepared diet that will help relieve the symptoms.

Don’t hesitate to take action now. If your dog is experiencing symptoms of allergies, he is probably miserable. Since he is a member of the family, you will want to give him some relief as soon as possible.