Allergies - Hayfever and More
Hayfever and More
More than 22 million people in the UK suffer from allergies. Hayfever affects 25% of the UK population. Thats a whole heap of people. Maybe its you Do you splutter and sneeze all summer long Is persistent nose-blowing part of your morning routine Do your eyes and nose make determined attempts to dribble off the bottom of your face Or maybe its milder, such as constant, background catarrh that you consider to be inevitable, an itchy skin at certain times of the year or strange rashes that come and go
Why does this happen
You may just be allergic to something dairy products, eggs, peanuts, shellfish and oranges are all common allergens. Sometimes allergies run in families. Allergy, by the way, comes from the Greek meaning altered reaction.
You may have an intolerance. This simply means you arent actually allergic to something but your system finds it tricky to deal with and you may feel better for avoiding it. Many people find their digestion is better when they avoid wheat, for example, although they are not coeliac.
You may be run down and your system is struggling to cope. Dr William Rea, an American allergist, gives a useful analogy: think of your body as a water barrel with holes in it, being filled from a tap above. The holes let out enough water to stop the barrel overflowing, but if the flow of water gets stronger the barrel will eventually overflow. Our bodies are very clever and have many ways of dealing with the various toxins that they encounter from day to day. The equivalent of the holes in the barrel the safety valves are the liver and kidneys, the immune system cells spread throughout our tissues, even the acid in our stomach. These are all there to break down harmful substances and keep us safe. Nowadays, though, there are many more pollutants and chemicals around than there ever have been, and our bodies sometimes get overwhelmed or come across things they just dont know how to deal with. Think of an average day:
Coffee first thing caffeine is a drug which your liver has to deal with.
Artificial sweeteners in coffee much harder to deal with than ordinary sugar and possibly connected to unpleasant diseases.
Milk on cereal many people are intolerant of dairy products.
Toast many people find wheat hard to digest.
perfume chemicals sprayed straight onto your thyroid area or soft, absorbent tissue. around your wrists and neck
Car fumes once you get out of the front door.
Cigarette fumes from your colleagues.
Chemicals in the atmosphere at work.
Cleaning agents next time youre polishing the furniture, think about whats going into your lungs. I remember a woman whose houseplant was dying until a gardening expert advised her to stop wax polishing the furniture in that room the spray was killing the plant!
And all this is before you start eating things with additives and colourings in them, taking painkillers, drinking alcohol and taking the pill... No wonder your body is finding it tough!What are the symptoms of allergic reaction
Most true allergies cause dramatic reactions that youll know all about. Many people, though, dont realise they are reacting to things around them and put their poor health down to other factors.
Diarrhoea, colic, crying babies, catarrh, ear infections, asthma, eczema, headaches, migraines, arthritis, sleeping problems, sinusitis, mouth ulcers, psoriasis, rashes, fluid retention, digestive pain, fatigue, dark circles and puffiness around the eyes, anxiety, anger, flushing, weight problems, constantly swollen glands all of these can result from intolerances or allergic reactions.
You may not equate two factors, e.g. your irritable bowel and your eczema, but food intolerances can be a trigger factor in eczema or psoriasis.
(Always check with a doctor if you are suffering from unexplained symptoms.)
What are the factors that make you more sensitive
Any of these factors can make you more likely to react to environmental pollutants, pollen, dust, certain foods, etc. You may not be truly allergic, but your barrel is overflowing!
Recuperating after illness
Bereavement, divorce, retirement, job problems, family problems
Your environment e.g. living in a city, working with chemicals
Stress coping with stress can improve your intolerance to certain foods
Cleanliness sounds strange but keeping children too clean prevents their immune systems from developing and poor immune function means greater likelihood of allergies
What can you do about it
Stop and think about your lifestyle and whether you are making it hard for your body to cope. Remember that adrenal exhaustion can add to sensitivity, so take action to deal with stress. Check the foods you are most drawn too. Its sad but true that addiction and cravings can indicate allergies. In other words, if you are really hooked on something, it may be doing you harm if its a blameless food youre unlikely to feel a real physical or mental craving for it. Many mothers tell me how much their children with eczema love milk and cheese
pay attention to your digestion . Youre less likely to react to foods youve digested properly. Chew, relax, and dont eat on the run.
Reduce the pressure on your body by avoiding junk food and too much coffee or caffeinated drinks.
Stop smoking in fact, ban smoking from your house!
Get enough sleep this helps your immune system.
Exercise its good for your immune function.
Dont do any housework well, at least, any that involves chemical sprays
Supplement with vitamin C (a low dose every hour acts as a natural antihistamine), zinc (15mg daily for adults), magnesium (300mg daily for adults) and Evening primrose Oil (1,000 to 3,000mg daily).
Use herbs that have a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory action:
Nettles So simple and yet so effective. Drink nettle tea or use nettle tincture daily. Its a great antihistamine and has no side effects. It may well have the additional benefit of easing arthritic or gouty pains, clearing skin rashes and making you feel less acidic and toxic. It contains minerals to boost your energy. There are no contraindications and nettles are safe to use with children.
Luffa Spray A combination of ingredients selected specifically for their ability to combat the sneezing, runny nose and red, streaming eyes which characterise allergic rhinitis. Shown to be effective against hayfever and household dust allergies. A fantastically swift fix for streaming, itchy eyes and noses. If you wake up every morning sneezing and spluttering, take Luffa spray regularly and cut down on your hanky expenditure. It doesnt make you drowsy, has no adverse effects and can be taken by anyone for as long as they like.
petasites (Butterbur) A recent trial showed that petasites works as well as conventional antihistamines but has none of the drowsy, sedative side effects connected to these medications. Its suitable for long term use and can be used for children over 6 years old. Traditionally this remedy has been used for many kinds of pain relief, particularly migraine, so if your allergies involve headaches or migraine, you may find youve cured two birds with one herb!