Allergies can have many different symptoms as the body will react to any exposure that it disagrees with; whether it’s a food, a chemical or the dust, pollen or molds of the environment.
OK, so there are three main culprits for allergic reactions:
Seasonal allergies are due to substances, allergens, in your environment like dust, pollen, mold, spores and metals are a Type 1 allergy.
This type of allergy produces congestion. Your body reacts by sealing off those irritants, like mold or pollen, by building a mucous shield around the substance. Then your symptoms will be stuffy sinus and nose, headaches, or puffy red weepy eyes.
Sometimes when this allergen sticks around and is hard to get rid of, then it affects the lungs causing bronchitis, sinus infections and chronic lung problems like asthma.
A strong immune system is critical in preventing these allergic reactions. Allergy prone people overproduce a protein, builds up antibodies, which trigger mast cells. This histamine reaction causes inflammation since the body is trying to neutralize the allergic symptoms.
Food allergies are immune system response to a food your body sees as a bad “pathogen” or bug. These are food sensitivities due to exposure of chemically altered, genetically modified, enzyme depleted foods.
The immune system treats these proteins and fats (that do not breakdown well) that you consumed in the body as potential toxins. This is an immune response and allergic reaction.
Food allergies may be hereditary passed on from parents. Common in children, the thought is they could come from feeding babies commercial dairy and meats before 10-12 months of age.
It does help to receive mother’s breast milk; to receive the enzymes and antibodies to fight allergies.
Food allergy symptoms can include headaches, nauseas, hives, swelling, itching, irritable bowel, or hyperactivity.
Many of these types of reactions can also come from food additives, fast foods or chemically sprayed or adulterated food.
In comparison, food intolerance is a non -immune reaction, usually due to an enzyme deficiency. This is because of a low amount of the lactose enzyme to break down milk sugars.
For example lactose intolerance, affects 75% of the world population, 25% in the US, causing cramping, diarrhea, and bloating.
Another example of food intolerance is Celiac disease, sensitivity to gluten, a wheat protein, used in many wheat products and in packaged, processed foods.
Allergic reactions to Chemicals are increasing rapidly due to more and more exposure than any other generation. Now called “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity” (MCS) is like a silent epidemic.
MCS is due to the billions of pesticides, petrochemicals, paints, cleaners; and fluorides just to name a few in the environment today. These are irritants we react to, these are Type 2 allergies.
Our bodies use up enormous amounts of nutrients trying to detoxify us from these chemicals. People with MCS are deficient in Vitamins C and B, your stress vitamins.
An overload of chemicals causes the body to store the offending material in fatty tissue. Unfortunately, your body responds by becoming allergic to many other substances due to this toxic load.
These chemical allergy symptoms are similar to all the others except you may also have weight issues, muscle pain or autoimmune diseases.
Most physicians do not recognize Multiple Chemical Sensitivity as an official disorder.
How You Can Reduce Allergy Symptoms
- Immunotherapy a preventative therapy where you are given gradual increasing dosages of an allergen to desensitize the immune system.
- Quercitin, a flavonoid compound, found in onions, tea, grapes and tomatoes are natural anti- inflammatories that can block histamine reactions to allergens before they start.
- Nettle leaf is a natural herb and an anti-inflammatory, great for seasonal allergies. You can find it in capsules or extracts.
- Probiotics help since allergies are a reaction to an imbalance of the immune system. Keeping the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut reduces incidence of allergies.
- Inhaling thyme, cedarwood or eucalyptus essential oil to break up lung congestion and stuffy nasal sinus. Use of a neti pot or saline wash in nose to remove allergy irritants.
- Diet restrictions for foods and chemicals. Environmental protection of clothes, shoes, airways and eyes where allergens land.
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist, is a Natural Health Consultant helping individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness and happiness. Cindy is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur of several businesses.