With every breath we take, we breathe in millions of microscopic particles such as dust, pollen, plant spores, viruses, bacteria and even pollutants in the form of chemicals in the air. Many of these particles are filtered and removed by the nose and respiratory system, while others enter the body. Normally the immune system will ignore harmless airborne particles entering the body such as pollen, house dust, animal dander, etc. In some people, however, the immune system misinterprets these harmless particles and identifies them as being dangerous to the system.
This triggers a release of a substance called histamine, as well as other inflammatory compounds in the body, which cause a condition called “allergic rhinits” and hayfever.
People who develop allergic rhinitis in warm weather, windy conditions, or at spring time are generally allergic to grass, tree, and flower pollens. Those who have this reaction all year round are probably also allergic to house dust, mold, or animal dander.
Because the mucous membranes of the nose and respiratory tract are affected, people with allergic rhinitis are often more vulnerable to colds, sinusitis, influenza, and other respiratory infections, setting up a vicious cycle of a compromised immune system, increased allergies, progressive fatigue and weakening of the system.
Disadvantages of antihistamines
Antihistamines may lose their effectiveness over time.
They can cause sedation and reduce concentration and increase the risk of motor vehicle and work related accidents.
They may thicken mucus secretions and increase the risk of bacterial infection and sinusitis.
They may make it more difficult for men with prostate problems to pass urine.
Other side effects include insomnia, nightmares, dry mouth, rapid heart beat, anxiety, and agitation.
They should not be used with alcohol which can increase side effects.
Some antihistamines are not recommended along with certain antibiotics or prescription antidepressants.
Treatment and prevention
Allergies are best handled from a variety of different angles. First, we need to control what we can control. If there are foods we can identify that may be mucous producing, it’s good to eliminate those.
We have found here at Berglund Health & Wellness Center that eating foods that you are sensitive or allergic to will make your hayfever or airborne allergies worse. In the body, it doesn’t matter if the allergies are generating mucous in response to a food or to something in the air. Therefore, if half of the mucous is being produced to “protect” the body from a food, there will be 50% less mucous if you don’t eat that food. It’s like a funnel. If we pour too fast, the funnel fills up and overflows, but if we produce what the body can handle, the body will be able to get rid of the mucous rather than having it impact the sinuses or block the nasal passages.
Effective air cleaning and purification is also an excellent way to decrease reactions to dander, dust, mold, and even pollens. Finally, providing natural antihistamines (that do not produce classic drowsiness and other side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications) can be good at controllilng what food elimination and air purification couldn’t.
As for diagnosis: scratch tests and blood tests are the current test of choice for most medical allergists. However, these tests are primarily geared at only one of the four different types of antibodies that can produce allergies. The only allergen they identify are the Type 4 immediate allergens. IgG, IgA and IgM are typically missed. With the manual muscle testing I perform, all of the above allergens are typically identified.
Asthma is a reaction of the bronchi (tubes going from the throat/trachea to the lungs) causing the muscles to contract, which results in a narrowing of the airway. The reaction can happen as a direct result of allergy exposure (Type 4 or histamine type hypersensitivity) or from an unknown cause (non-allergy).
What causes asthma?
Excessive hygiene The theory here is that the immune system needs germs and dirt exposure early to function properly. God did not design sterile floors and air tight buildings. The immune system needs to see early on what is “normal” and what is not. Without early exposure to pollen, dust, mold and dander, later exposure can generate an abnormal response where it thinks it’s attacking a micro-organism.
Vaccines Studies have shown asthma rates to be as much as 10 times higher in vaccinated children.
Antibiotic exposure Exposure to antibiotics as an infant or even while still in the womb has been correlated with increased asthma incidence.
What will make asthma worse?
inhaling cold air
house dust mites
changes in weather
Treatment and prevention
Natural-minded family: Families that practice holistic health care (breast feed for longer periods, little to no immunizations, less antibiotics, and lower consumptions of antiinflammatories) have shown significantly lower rates and frequency of asthma.
Ascorbic acid/Vitamin C: Reduces histamine release and acts as a natural decongestant, drying up the mucous.
Bioflavonoids: Modify the body’s reaction to compounds such as allergens, viruses and carcinogens.
Magnesium: Reduces excessive contractions by muscles in the bronchi.
Essential fatty acids: Fish oils, borage oil, black currant seed oil, and flax seed oil reduce the proinflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes (inflammatory agents).
Food sensitivity/allergy testing: This is a non-invasive, painless test performed in the office by Dr. Berglund. It is used to find out what the body reacts to. Many things, including foods, chemicals, dust, animal dander, etc. can be tested using this test.
Air purifier: Ozone or hydroxyl air purifiers sterilize the air.
Stop smoking: Avoid areas with excessive fumes, exhausts, smoke, perfumes and scented products.
Other options: Heavy metal elimination, detoxification, and antioxidants