Allergies

An allergy is an abnormal reaction or increased sensitivity to certain substances or "Allergens". Many people have few, if any, allergies while others are so allergic that merely taking an aspirin or getting stung by a bee can trigger a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

What can allergies do?

Allergies can of course make you sneeze, eyes itch, give you a skin rash, all the normal things you would think they would do. Allergies may also be the cause of a particular complaint (body ailment) you may have or at least aggrevate an existing complaint. Such as: I have seen an allergy to wheat react in a patient with hypoglycemia the same way as if he had eaten too much sugar. (see the hypoglycemia section for its common symptoms). Here is a list of a few other problems that can be related to allergies:

Headaches including migraines
Recurring ear infections
Difficulty in swallowing
Aches & pains in muscles and/or joints
Loss of sex drive
Chronic diarrhea
Chronic vaginal yeast infections
Bed-wetting
Hyperactivity
Sudden behavioral changes
Ringing in ears
Chronic cough

And there are many more.
 

How can I tell if it's a cold or an allergy?

While both colds and certain allergies may share common symptoms, a cold is caused by a virus and an allergy is triggered by an allergen. Many individuals who suffer from allergic rhinitis (Hay Fever) think they have colds, when in fact substances in their environments are to blame.
Allergic rhinitis results from an inflammation and irritation of the lining of the nose in response to an allergen. Common symptoms include a clear, watery nasal discharge, itchy nose, and sneezing with watery and itchy eyes. A Cold is frequently accompanied by other symptoms such as a sore throat and cough and only lasts 3-5 days, as opposed to allergies which tend to come and go and recur during the same season each year.
Although any environmental material can cause allergies, certain ones are encountered more frequently than are others. These include:
Inhalants
such as pollens, mold spores, animal products (dander, saliva, urine), house dust, and house dust mites.
Drugs such as Penicillin.
Substances which touch the skin. These include plant oils, cosmetics and perfumes,
nickel in jewelry or on buckles and under garment fasteners, hair dyes, and topical medications.
Foods such as
cow's milk, eggs, chicken, shellfish, whitefish, peanuts, soybeans, wheat, chocolate, celery, and all products containing one or more of these ingredients. Some individuals are allergic to food additives, such as sulfites (used as a preservative), nitrates/nitrites, parabens, and BHA/BHT - BHA. Also under scrutiny by researchers are Aspartame (Nutrasweet®) and MSG (Monosodium glutamate).
 

ASSESSING FOOD ALLERGIES

Avoid all foods below for four days. On the fifth day, introduce one food and monitor its effects. If there is no reaction, introduce another food on the next day. Remember, food restrictions should make you feel better, not worse. More information on ear infections caused by food allergies is now available.
Eggs -- Whole or in any food containing them.
Dark Drinks -- Tea, coffee, or colas.
Wheat -- You may have rye, spelt or other grains. (bread can be made from spelt or kamut flours)
Chocolate -- Candy bars, cakes, etc.
Milk and Milk Products -- No cheeses, butter, yogurts or cream. You may have goats milk (sometimes) or soy.
Tomatoes and Tomato Products -- For example, catsup, pizza sauce or barbecue sauce.
Citrus Fruits and Juices -- For example, lemons, limes, oranges, and etc.
Sugar -- You may use substitutes like "Equal®" and other sugar-free products (providing they do not give you a reaction).
Remedies for Food Reactions
Buffered Vitamin C -- Your first line of defense against a food reaction is Buffered Vitamin C in powdered form. Mix one teaspoon of the powder in a glass of water. Drink. If there is no relief or improvement in 15 minutes, try the following remedy:
Alka Seltzer Gold®
Epson Salt -- mix one teaspoon in a glass of water and drink.
Any antacid (such as Maalox®).
We recommend that you see your Allergist to be tested for your specific allergens.