Weapons against allergic symptoms…
Because of the overuse of antibiotics, especially using inadequate doses, bacteria have developed antibiotic resistance.
We know that allergy and asthma are increasing today, but we don’t know why.
Is it because children are over-treated with antibiotics? Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, children in West Germany were given antibiotics with every sniffle, and they developed a large incidence of allergy and asthma. In East Germany, children received few antibiotics. Children from both East and West Germany had the same family background, same diet, and East Germany was more polluted. Yet in East Germany, there were far fewer asthmatics. One explanation is that the over-medicated children were not allowed to develop the normal pattern of disease resistance. Instead, they developed an allergic pathway of inflammation. Doctors today feel that the simple colds and sore throats are best left to run their course so that the child develops the normal reaction to infection. In addition, introducing foods too early to a baby can result in an allergic response.
Is the increase in cases of allergy and asthma due to the rise of resistant bacteria? Because of the overuse of antibiotics, especially using inadequate doses, bacteria have developed antibiotic resistance. Could the increase be caused by the enormous variety of foods and artificial inhalants or by pollution?
Whatever the reason for the increase, here are some “weapons” that I have used effectively to relieve symptoms in many of my patients:
Breakfast in bed. During sleep the body temperature drops and the nasal/chest cilia slow down, which causes dust to accumulate in the nose and chest. Upon waking, a person with allergies does not achieve the normal temperature adjustment; instead they cough, sneeze, and hack, which does bring the body temperature to normal and does get the cilia to move out the dust, but it sets off a cycle of all day sneezing or hacking. By taking food, including hot tea – black or green (with or without caffeine), the body is warmed so that getting out of bed does not precipitate the round of sneezing and hacking, and symptoms may be averted.
Hot tea with lemon. Black and green teas contain chemicals that speed the movement of nasal/chest cilia. These move bacteria, fungal products, and pollen out of the nose, which is most helpful to the allergic. Sometimes a cough is simply a response to inactive chest cilia – when the chest cilia fail, the cough takes over. Tea can clear that.
Chicken soup is another aid worth mentioning. The chemicals in chicken soup have been shown to speed nasal/chest cilia. No wonder it is called Jewish penicillin.
Other means of improving cilia movement include using vibration…a low pitched “ooooommmm”, warm compresses to the sinus area (above, between, and below the eyes), and pulsatile saline nasal irrigation. Avoid iced drinks.
The Internet. I direct my patients to a site, which you can locate by visiting www.pollen.com when you have symptoms. This web site tells you the name and the amount of pollen in your area. You can easily learn to recognize your offenders according to the dates of the high pollen count. Once you know which pollen is your culprit, you can get desensitized, or take a vacation elsewhere. Many areas have pockets of minimal pollen. You may want to take advantage of that.
Allergy is cumulative, like arithmetic. Let’s say the various factors add up to ten. It can be pollen four-dust three, spicy food two, and perfume one makes ten, and you have symptoms. If you eliminate the spicy food when pollen is four you get eight and no symptoms. Then when the pollen is seven, and dust is three, even eliminating spicy foods and perfume adds to a ten, and you sneeze. In the arithmetic factor, we include spicy foods – salsa, peppers, and mustards because they normally produce a certain amount of histamine. It may be fine to enjoy spices when the pollen count is low, but not when it is high. My patients sometimes ask, “But if I am only allergic to cedar tree pollen, why do I have to dust proof the bedroom?” The answer again, is arithmetic. When the pollen count is six and the dust is four, you reach ten and symptoms. If you bring the dust down to one, and the pollen is a six, you may have no symptoms.
Patients may respond to simple pulsatile saline irrigation to remove the nasal pollen and the IgE that the body produces in reaction to pollen. Less pollen and IgE means fewer symptoms. The advantage of this therapy is that you also stimulate the cilia by the pulsating saline stream. Active nasal cilia move out bacteria and pollen. Avoid saline sprays containing the preservative Benzalkonium, which irritates the allergic.
Bed Rest. In the past, sick patients would travel to a health spa or to a special clinic to rest, both physically and mentally, and recover from their asthma. They arrived exhausted, including their natural cortisol levels. With a week at full rest, their natural cortisol levels returned and they could tolerate their illness again. For severe allergy symptoms, bed rest may be the best therapy.
Relaxation is important too. By learning muscle relaxation, a person might significantly reduce the symptoms of allergy and asthma. Look into a mirror. SEE the jaw, face, shoulders relax as you exhale for a count of six and inhale for a count of four. Let the exhale signal your body to relax. The mirror will tell you if you are doing it correctly. This technique is important to teach to children before they have an asthma attack so that anxiety is reduced.
By educating yourself to the possible causes, following the steps as outlined above, I believe you will find relief from many of your allergic reactions.
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"Weapons against allergic symptoms…"
Board Certified Ear Nose Throat Specialist. In private practice at Cedars Sinai Medical Towers in Los Angeles .
Thirty one published medical articles dealing with innovations in Biofeedback, Sinusitis, Tinnitus, Voice and Scuba Diving..