Specific Health Concern >> Allergies
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In this video, Dr. Huntoon answers questions about the cause of allergies and what you need to consider when treating yours or a loved ones.
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Allergy symptoms may include:
The part of the body the allergen touches affects what symptoms you develop. For example allergens that you breathe in often cause a stuffy nose, itchy nose and throat, mucus production, cough, or wheezing. Whereas with allergens that touch the eyes may cause itchy, watery, red, swollen eyes. Allergens that touch the skin can cause a skin rash, hives, itching, blisters, or skin peeling. Eating something you are allergic to can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, or a severe, life-threatening reaction. Finally drug allergies usually involve the whole body and can lead to a variety of symptoms.
Allergies are pretty common. Both genes and environmental factors play a role. The immune system normally protects the body against harmful substances, such as bacteria and viruses. It also reacts to foreign substances called allergens, which are generally harmless and in most people do not cause a problem.
But in a person with allergies, the immune response is oversensitive. When it recognizes an allergen, it releases chemicals such as histamines, which fight off the allergen. This causes allergy symptoms.
Why Do I Get Allergies?
Common allergens include:
Some people have allergy-like reactions to hot or cold temperatures, sunlight, or other environmental triggers. Sometimes, friction (rubbing or roughly stroking the skin) will cause symptoms.
A specific allergy is not usually passed down through families (inherited). However, if both your parents have allergies, you are likely to have allergies. The chance is greater if your mother has allergies.
Allergies may make certain medical conditions such as sinus problems, eczema, and asthma worse.
Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) need to be treated with a medicine called epinephrine, which can be life saving when given right away. If you use epinephrine, call 911 and go straight to the hospital. The best way to reduce symptoms is to avoid what causes your allergies. This is especially important for food and drug allergies. There are several types of medications to prevent and treat allergies. Which medicine your doctor recommends depends on the type and severity of your symptoms, your age, and overall health. Illnesses that are caused by allergies (such as asthma, hay fever, and eczema) may need other treatments.
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions, such as when the allergy occurs.
Allergy testing may be needed to find out whether the symptoms are an actual allergy or are caused by other problems. For example, eating contaminated food (food poisoning) may cause symptoms similar to food allergies. Some medications (such as aspirin and ampicillin) can produce non-allergic reactions, including rashes. A runny nose or cough may actually be due to an infection.
Skin testing is the most common method of allergy testing. One type of skin testing is the prick test. It involves placing a small amount of the suspected allergy-causing substances on the skin, and then slightly pricking the area so the substance moves under the skin. The skin is closely watched for signs of a reaction, which include swelling and redness. Skin testing may be an option for some young children and infants. Skin testing is not always accurate.
Other types of skin tests include patch testing and intradermal testing. Again, these types of testing may not always be accurate
Blood tests can measure the levels of allergy-related substances, especially one called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
A complete blood count (CBC) and looking at the fraction called the eosinophil within the white blood cell count may also help diagnose allergies.
Medical treatments are used by most people when suffering from allergies. As with all medication, certain side-effects are known and others are not known. It is important to consider the side-effects and to do some research into the medication being prescribed to determine if the side-effects are worse than the symptoms associated with your allergies.
It is important to understand that using medication to treat your allergies will only address the symptoms and will not correct the cause. Therefore you will need to use the medication anytime you have the allergy symptoms.
Medications that can be used to treat allergies include:
Antihistamines are available over-the-counter and by prescription. They are available in many forms, including:
Capsules and pills
Anti-inflammatory medications (corticosteroids) are available in many forms, including:
Creams and ointment for the skin
Patients with severe allergic symptoms may be prescribed corticosteroid pills or injections for short periods of time.
Decongestants can help relieve a stuffy nose. Do not use decongestant nasal spray for more than several days, because they can cause a "rebound" effect and make the congestion worse. Decongestants in pill form do not cause this problem. People with high blood pressure, heart problems, or prostate enlargement should use decongestants with caution.
Leukotriene inhibitors are medicines that block the substances that trigger allergies. Zafirlukast (Accolate) and montelukast (Singulair) are approved for people with asthma and indoor and outdoor allergies.
Allergy shots (immunotherapy) are sometimes recommended if you cannot avoid the allergen and your symptoms are hard to control. Allergy shots keep your body from over-reacting to the allergen. You will get regular injections of the allergen. Each dose is slightly larger than the last dose until a maximum dose is reached. These shots do not work for everybody and you will have to visit the doctor often and for several years on a weekly basis.
Using Manual Muscle Testing is a very common and accepted practice within the healthcare industry. In association with using the actual substance suspected or a testing vial that the person holds, the doctor then tests a strong muscle (usually a shoulder muscle) to see if the substance/testing vial creates a muscle weakness. This form of testing is a far easier way to determine if the body has an issue with a substance and can be considered an allergy. Most practitioners who do muscle testing will also have a form of treatment to correct the allergy response (NAET or TBM) and allow for the person to overcome the allergy.
In some cases, your medical doctor may tell you to avoid certain items to see if you get better, or to use suspected items to see if you feel worse. This is called "use or elimination testing." This is often used to check for food or medication allergies. This is extremely time consuming and may be problematic when you or your child craves the thing you are asked to avoid.
The doctor may also check your reaction to physical triggers by applying heat, cold, or other stimulation to your body and watching for an allergic response.
Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) need to be treated with a medicine called epinephrine, which can be life saving when given right away. If you use epinephrine, call 911 and go straight to the hospital.
The best way to reduce symptoms is to avoid what causes your allergies. This is especially important for food and drug allergies.
There are several types of medications to prevent and treat allergies. Which medicine your doctor recommends depends on the type and severity of your symptoms, your age, and overall health.
Illnesses that are caused by allergies (such as asthma, hay fever, and eczema) may need other treatments.
Having this condition is not fun at all. Being motivated to look for non-conventional forms of treatment is warranted. Working with a Holistic Chiropractor can offer benefits, as using a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the causes and imbalances within the person. Using Natural Allergy Solutions involving NAET or TBM is the best conservative way to eliminate allergies. This has demonstrated positive results when sticking to a specific treatment plan. Discussing what is involved and the time commitment necessary to having a full recovery is warranted.
Others have benefited by using Acupuncture, Homeopathy or Naturopathy when following the treatment guidelines set up by your practitioner and you. Discussing what is involved and the time commitment necessary to having a full recovery is warranted.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you either experience the symptoms of a severe allergy, or an existing proscribed treatment for an allergy no longer works. Your doctor will be able to run tests to properly diagnose the allergic reaction, and will offer you treatment options. In cases of a severe allergy attack contact your doctor immediately.
Medicines Two Choices for You
Working with a Holistic Chiropractor will offer benefits, as using a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the causes and imbalances within the person leading to the allergic response. Using Natural Allergy Solutions involving NAET or TBM is the best conservative way to eliminate allergies. This has demonstrated positive results when sticking to a specific treatment plan. Discussing what is involved and the time commitment necessary to having a full recovery is warranted.
Breastfeeding children for at least 4 months or more may help prevent a cow's milk allergy and wheezing in early childhood.
However, changing a mother's diet during pregnancy or while breastfeeding does not seem to help prevent allergies.
For most children, changing the diet or using special formulas does not seem to prevent allergies. If a parent, brother, sister, or other family member has a history of eczema and allergies, discuss feeding with your child's doctor. When you introduce solid foods and what foods you give your baby can help prevent some allergies.
There is also evidence that infants who are exposed to certain allergens in the air (such as dust mites and cat dander) may be less likely to develop allergies. This is called the "hygiene hypothesis." It came from the observation that infants on farms tend to have fewer allergies than those who grow up in more sterile environments. However, older children do not seem to benefit. Once allergies have developed, treating the allergies and carefully avoiding allergy triggers can prevent reactions in the future.
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