Sea­sonal Al­ler­gies

Alternative Medicine - - Condition Spotlight - BY SHERRY TORKOS

Al­ler­gies are on the rise, af­fect­ing as many as 30 per­cent of adults and 40 per­cent of chil­dren. Sev­eral the­o­ries have been pos­tu­lated to ex­plain the ris­ing preva­lence, from changes in our diet (in­creas­ing con­sump­tion of junk food) and the way food is grown (GMOs and pes­ti­cides) to ex­po­sure to chem­i­cals in the en­vi­ron­ment and our ul­tra-hy­gienic way of liv­ing.

Although re­searchers con­tinue to ex­plore the un­der­ly­ing cause of al­ler­gies, we can ex­plain what is hap­pen­ing in the body of those af­flicted. Al­ler­gies oc­cur when the im­mune sys­tem over­re­acts or re­acts in­ap­pro­pri­ately upon ex­po­sure to an oth­er­wise harm­less sub­stance—the al­ler­gen. For those with sea­sonal al­ler­gies, the trig­ger­ing sub­stances are trees, grass, or flower pollen. The im­mune sys­tem rec­og­nizes th­ese sub­stances as for­eign and re­sponds by pro­duc­ing an­ti­bod­ies, which trig­ger the re­lease of in­flam­ma­tory chem­i­cals, in­clud­ing his­tamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins. His­tamine is re­spon­si­ble for the notorious al­lergy symp­toms of itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sneez­ing; leukotrienes cause ex­cess mu­cus pro­duc­tion, and prostaglandins trig­ger in­flam­ma­tion.

Al­ler­gies and colds share some com­mon symp­toms, such as sneez­ing, runny nose, con­ges­tion, and si­nus pain and pres­sure. So how do you tell the dif­fer­ence? A cold usu­ally lasts seven to 10 days, whereas al­lergy symp­toms per­sist much longer— weeks to months. Sneez­ing as­so­ci­ated with al­ler­gies of­ten oc­curs in rapid and mul­ti­ple se­quences; those with a cold are more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence spo­radic sneez­ing. Mu­cus se­cre­tions are clear or runny with al­ler­gies, but of­ten yel­low or green­ish with a cold. In ad­di­tion, al­ler­gies of­ten cause itchy eyes, nose, and mouth or throat.

Hav­ing an al­lergy skin test is the quick­est and most ac­cu­rate way to de­ter­mine your spe­cific al­lergy trig­gers. Know­ing your trig­gers is im­por­tant so that you can take steps to avoid them. An al­lergy skin test is an easy pro­ce­dure: The skin is lightly pricked with an al­ler­gen (such as grass or flower pollen) and af­ter 20 min­utes the doc­tor checks for an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion, such as red­ness and swelling.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.