For those plagued by allergies, spring is a dreaded time and it appears that the number of those afflicted just keeps on getting higher. Yes, we can reach for our favourite over-the-counter remedies and deal with the symptoms and yes there are many dietary modifications one can make to alleviate suffering. But in order to have any success with the long-term management of Allergies or ideally resolving the issue one must understand what is going on in the body and the environment we have chosen to immerse ourselves in. Simply put, allergic symptoms are a hyper-sensitization to the environment by our Immune system .This is not new. What is different today is that never in human history has the human species been forced to deal with so many chemicals and/or man made substances in his/her environment. These include thousands of chemicals, (many of which have had little or no study into their long-term health effects), genetically modified food , xenoestrogens, pharmaceutical drugs, new diseases, and many other things our immune systems never had to deal with. Put another way, if an army is put on red alert with launch on warning orders due to a heightened threat, chances are a lot of innocent bystanders are going to get hurt! Now besides moving to Antarctica (sorry folks, but Alaska is not as ecologically clean as it once was) what can one do?
Avoiding Red Alert Before any allergen can provoke an inflammatory response it must first come in contact with our immune system. For the purpose of this discussion we need to be concerned with what we eat, breath and touch. The mechanisms are well understood and generally what occurs is as follows; first an allergen comes into contact with mast cells.
Mast cells Mast cells are found throughout the body, most reside in connective tissues such as those of the skin, tongue, the lining of the nose and intestinal tract, the lungs, and upper airways. Coating these mast cells is IgE, an allergic antibody, a type of protein made by the immune system to recognize and fight specific body "invaders."
IgE antibodies Whenever an allergy-prone person is exposed to an allergen (such as pollen or peanuts), large amounts of the corresponding IgE antibodies (for example, pollen IgE antibodies) are produced followed by the accompanying symptoms. Some symptoms are minor irritations like itches while the most extreme can result in an anaphylaxis and death.
Reduce the misery of allergies With this in mind, alleviating the constant attack to our overworked immune system will go a long way towards reducing the misery of allergies. The following are just a few suggestions:
1. Get an air purifier for your home
2. Get a water purifier for both your kitchen faucet (drinking water) and shower
3. Dont microwave your food
4. Avoid food in plastic containers or wrappings
5. -Dont use high heat under Teflon cookware
6. -Eat organic foods and avoid genetically modified and irradiated foods as much as possible
7. -Buy natural fabrics
8. -Use a non-synthetic mattress with 100 percent cotton sheet
9. -Use natural personal care products (pure soaps, non-fluoride toothpaste, natural sanitary products) and cosmetics (lipsticks, foundations, etc.)
10. -For infants, use cotton diapers
11. -Use only natural cleaning products
12. -Use natural pesticide control
13. -If youre considering vaccinations, look into the pros and cons before making a decision
14. -Drink more water. Youll urinate more and be able to eliminate more toxins, and it will help to soften your bowel movements so this waste is also eliminated more easily
15. -Use a wet or dry sauna (or better yet an infrared one) to perspire and remove toxins
16. -Make sure your house is environmentally safe.
17. -Use only natural disinfectants, deodorizers, furniture, etc.
18. -Consider removal of the mercury fillings in your teeth
19. -Build up your immune system with nutrients, minerals and essential fatty acids.Do not be discouraged if you cant do everything. Awareness must always precede action.
Mario Alonzi, B.Sc., Manager of the Natures Source store in Mississauga