How to Relieve Allergies and Allergic Shiners

There are many different types of allergies, and millions of people around the world suffer from the irritating and miserable symptoms each and every day. And although one in every five adults across the United States suffers from the symptoms of nasal allergies, the issue remains surprisingly under diagnosed and undertreated.

Some allergic symptoms can become so severe that they actually cause allergic shiners to appear under and around the eyes. Allergic shiners cause the areas under the eyes to swell and discolor as in the case of a black eye, or shiner.

Allergic shiners can make an individual appear as if they have just spent a round or two boxing in the ring with Mike Tyson. The discoloration and swelling is a result of allergic symptoms that cause the congestion of small blood vessels located underneath the skin in these areas. Nasal rhinitis, which is a nasal allergy, has been known to produce a combination of issues that can include shiners, swelling of the throat, watery eyes, headaches, mouth breathing, and more.

A short list of several different types of allergies includes, but is not limited to the following:

· Food allergies
· Seasonal allergies
· Nasal allergies
· Pet allergies
· Plant allergies
· Drug allergies
· Sinusitis
· Hay Fever
· Hives
· And more

How to relieve allergies:

You will find that there are several different methods used when learning how to relieve allergies; however, it is best if you can isolate the cause of your allergic symptoms so you can better determine which treatment is best for your particular case.

If your allergies are severe and preventing you from performing your everyday tasks, it is probably best that you pay a visit to an allergen specialist; they will perform a series of blood and scratch tests that can help identify the cause. The doctor or specialist can then make more suitable over-the-counter drug recommendations, administer a shot to relieve the symptoms, and offer other forms of treatment and advice.

A specialist may also administer desensitizing treatments that can help prevent or minimize future allergic reactions. Sub lingual drops placed directly beneath the tongue may also be used to desensitize and are an appropriate alternative for those who do not wish to visit a specialist or a physician on a regular basis. If a monthly visit to a physician is not an issue, you can also consider getting a monthly EPD, or Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization.

Individuals should always take into account the many factors involved when it comes to allergy symptoms. The presence and severity of a variety of allergies can be caused and affected by anything from your home environment, geographic location, pollen counts, pollen sources, and much more. Understanding how these factors affect your specific allergies will help you determine which steps to take in treating them.

Following is a list of tips and suggestions on how to relieve allergies of the most common types:

1. The first thing that you’ll want to do for how to relieve allergies is to clean and dust the entire home. Vacuum all of the carpets and drapes using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA Filter.

2. Service and replace all air filters in the home immediately and continue to do so every 30 days. This includes your heating and AC unit as well as the furnace.

3. Keep the allergens outside by closing windows and other entrances to the home. Turning the ac unit on will also help circulate the air and filter out excess pollen.

4. Determine whether antihistamines or decongestants help better for how to relieve allergies and symptoms. Decongestants should be used to bring immediate relief of symptoms by contracting the small blood vessels located under the skin under the eyes and in the membranes of the nose. On the other hand, Antihistamines are designed to block the harmful effects that histamines cause in the first place.

5. For swollen and watery eyes, try a cold press or eye cream that contains caffeine; Cold and caffeine both work to reduce swelling.

6. Try using a prescription nasal spray such as Nasonex or Flonase. These reduce swelling in the nasal passage and provide relief of irritating allergic symptoms. Many physicians will prescribe antihistamine nasal sprays when oral antihistamines are ineffective. Treating the problem directly at its source can have a much better effect than taking antihistamines orally.

7. Use an all-natural salt water rinse to clear out irritants such as pollen in the nose.

8. Use the recirculation feature on your vehicle when driving instead of opening the windows. This will reduce the amount of pollen and other irritants from entering the vehicle.

9. Try immunotherapy techniques. This works by a gradually released exposure to common allergens that are difficult to stay away from such as pollen. The objective is to train the immune system to ignore and not react to these allergens. Immunotherapy should only be used when other forms of treatment aren’t effective.

10. Try natural remedies. All-natural antihistamines can help reduce congestion, while antimicrobial herbs such as grapefruit seed extract, golden root, stinging nettle, and butterbur help prevent sinus allergies and nasal infections as well.

The A-Z Of Gluten Allergy

If you were to look for “Gluten-free” foods 10 years ago, it was difficult to find many options. However, the gluten-free food industry has dealt with several athletes that were diagnosed with a gluten allergy, and needed alternative foods to increase the variety of their meal planning. Not an easy task at the time. However, as the quest for nutritional options and education has emerged, many athletes are choosing to adopt a diet that was once considered restrictive with open arms.

If you were to embrace a “gluten-free” lifestyle 10 years ago, a variety of food selections may not have been in the repertoire at the time. However, this once niche market has gone mainstream in the last 5 years, growing to a multi-billion dollar industry. Whether out of necessity or choice, gluten-free living now offers a variety of its cohorts. Athletes quest for nutritional options, and our drive to provide our athletes with an education to make informed choices on their food selections grow, gluten is one of the topics that continually is talked about. Questions often arise during nutritional seminars on what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a protein that is found in many different types of grains/breads.

How many times do we feel the effects of gluten after a night of eating out? Having that beer before dinner with the bread almost all restaurants bring to the table, as well as the plate of pasta, have us packing into the car bloated and uncomfortable, suffering from what can be considered a Gluten Buzz. Now, there are many reasons to feel bloated, but gluten can be the culprit. Only 1 percent of the population has been identified as gluten intolerant, but as more people try the gluten free lifestyle, many of us have noticed a much more pleasant feeling following food consumption.

Athletes quest for supremacy, and the drive to improve their quality of life has broadened the scope of the topics which are frequently discussed with the athletes. Whether out of necessity or choice, gluten is one of those subjects which is repeatedly discussed.

Gluten is a protein found in many different types of grains. This protein provides elasticity to the dough and the fluffy texture to bread. Food items which contain gluten are Barley, Couscous, Wheat, Rye, Malt, Durum, Spelt etc.. Oats have been known to have some cross-contamination of gluten since they are usually processed in wheat factories, so these are not recommended in individuals with true gluten allergies. Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, ADHD and Autism are a few of the disorders which can be avoided by adopting a gluten-free lifestyle.

It’s Not The Common Cold, But It’s More Common Than You Think!

And you may be one of its victims and not even know it. Allergologist discusses the little known but highly bothersome phenomenon of the allergic cold.

Do you often have a runny noose, frequent bouts of sneezing at a particular time of the day, which sometimes may go up to 400-500 sneezes and a stuffy nose almost round the year? And have you resigned yourself to being stuck with this ‘common cold’ which does not seem to leave you?

If you have these symptoms and catch a cold more than three times a year, you probably are not suffering from the common cold caused by an allergen. Medically called allergic rhinitis, this type of cold is often mistaken for the common cold.

How Do You Tell The Difference?

  • First, the common cold is a viral infection, i.e. caused by a virus, where as an allergic cold is an allergic reaction.
  • The common cold lasts about a week. Within this period, the body’s immunity usually has been able to overcome the virus whereas allergic attack is more persistent.
  • A person may catch a common cold about once or twice a year. If the allergen stays around, the allergies could be perennial.
  • A common cold has many more generalized symptoms – body ache, fever, and headache. These are absent in allergies. However, sneezing and a watery, itchy nose are common to both.

How Is An Allergic Cold Caused?

Though the basic cause is yet unknown, scientists suspect a genetic defect or susceptibility. The immediate cause is usually a trigger factor like:

Pollen: Being light, these small particles from flowers float in the air and are easily carried by the wind. Some types of pollen, because of their chemical composition (amino acid and protein content) are more allergic (i.e. allergy causing). Beautiful, scented flowers which are pollinated by insects are usually harmless. It is inconspicuous wild flowers, growing among grasses (like cynodon, the tiny white flowers of lawn grass) that are major culprits. Many children, after playing out in the grass, come home sniffing from a cold.

Insects: of the 50,000 species of mites, the D. farinae, a house mite, is the main offender. It thrives in the hot, humid climate and is commonly found in woolen rugs, carpets and old, cotton mattresses. An average mattress may have 50,000 to hundred thousand mites. It’s not only the inhalation of the mite but also the inhalation of its body parts and faces that could give rise to an allergic cold.

When cockroaches die, they don’t decay but turn to powder and mix with the dust in the air, adding to the air borne allergens.

Molds: They usually thrive in garbage dumps in cities. Being extremely light, they are easily carried by air currents to damp areas like leaky, old buildings. They may even be found on the linking of refrigerators (the tiny, black dots we mistake for dirt.)

Animals: The tiny particles found in the hair of animals (dander) and birds are a common cause of allergic colds. The hairy Pomeranian, parrots and pigeons are the main offenders.

Occupational hazards: Grain handlers are affected by grain dust and those working in a cotton factory may develop allergic colds in response to the cotton fibers.

Food: Children are usually allergic to milk, adults to gram and seafood.

What Is The Appearance Of The Typical Allergic Cold Patient?

A person suffering from an allergic cold has worried expression. This is because during an attack his eyes may be sore from an infection of conjunctivitis and the tip of his nose is often red and bulbous because of constant rubbing and swelling. He may also have a nasal twang, an arid mouth and get breathless. He may have a crease above the tip of his nose from performing ‘the allergic salute’ rubbing the nose in an upward direction to relieve an irritation in the nasal passage. This irritation is caused by the histamines, one of the most important chemicals released by the nasal mucus cells as a response to the allergy. It is histamine that is responsible for the sneezing and the watering of the nose.

Who Are More Susceptible To Allergic Colds?

Children from the age of three up to puberty are the most susceptible because at this time their immunity is not mature enough to fight the allergens. The number of children suffering from allergic cold is 15 percent higher than adults. During childhood, the body’s capacity to produce the antibody IgE (and therefore to produce an allergic reaction) is high. As one gets older, IgE production favorably reduces. Those suffering from asthma, gastro intestinal allergy or eczema are also more susceptible to allergic cold because, in these patients too, the IgE is high.

On the other hand, 30 percent of allergic cold sufferers may develop asthma after five to ten years.

Does Climate Play A Role In The Occurrence Of Allergic Cold?

In North India, allergic colds are common in winter when the air is dry because the humidity drops, drying up the nasal mucus and trapping infection. (Normally, the mucus and cilia – brush like structures in the nose prevent entry of bacteria, viruses or allergens).

Allergic colds are high during the rainy season when the humidity is high. This moisture in the air hampers the movement of the cilia, making them sluggish and increasing the chances of infection. Comparatively, summer is the least bothersome time, except for the risk from the pollen of flowers which bloom in this season.

However, a person who has an allergic cold all though the year is usually in continuous contact with an allergen – like food, mites or animal hair.

What Is The Incidence Of Allergic Colds In The General Population?

Out of the 20 percent of the general population that is susceptible to allergies, half i.e. 10 percent, suffer from allergic colds.

How Does One Obtain Relief?

A doctor usually prescribes nasal drops, anti histamines and steam inhalations for symptoms like sneezing and a watery nose. If the patient (usually one suffering from perennial allergic colds) develops tine tumors called polyps in the mucosa (nasal membrane), they can be removed by surgery.

A doctor can perform an allergy test RAST Radio Allegro Sorbent Test) along with a blood test to detect the allergen. Depending on the type of allergy, he may prescribe drugs like Cromolyn, Ipratropium or Beclomethazne.

Can Allergic Colds Be Prevented?

Exercises like Pranayama (yogic breathing), walking or jogging are recommended because the improved respiratory circulation makes the cilia more effective in driving away the allergens. Allergy vaccines may be given to desensitize a person to a particular allergen.

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Why Is Everyone Talking About Indoor Air Quality?

Improving the overall indoor air quality of your home or business continues to be a topic at the water cooler. The kids are always sneezing, the house always seems so dusty, why does our office always smell so bad? Why are my hands so rough? Sound familiar?

To be honest the solutions are simple, but they won’t go away without some help. The first thing you should do is perform a simple indoor air quality assessment. You can do one by simply following these next few questions or get a free assessment done by one of your local Heating and Cooling contractors. Make sure they have something to do about indoor air quality. Some are now known as Indoor Air Quality consultants or IAQ’s. Here are some of the basic questions:

1. Do you notice any symptoms over all or when you are in certain rooms or floors of the house? Examples would be sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath, runny nose or eyes.

2. Are there any smokers in the house?

3. Do you have any pets? What kind?

4. Does anyone have any allergies or asthma?

5. What type of heating and cooling system do you have and how hold is it?

6. What kind of home filtration system do you have if any?

7. Do you run a dehumidifier anywhere in the house?

8. Do you run a humidifier anywhere in the house?

9. Do you have any signs of mold?

10. Do your windows ever condensate during the winter months?

So now I am going to suggest a few simple suggestions to possibly remedy your issues.

1. Check and change your air filters at least every three months and clean all the supply and return vents in your house at least once a year. This one is so simple and yet people don’t seem to follow it. If your filters are covered in dirt and dust there is no way for the air to properly circulate any more new dust or dirt and soon it just starts clogging up the filter which turns out to be bad for your furnace as well as you.

Here’s what the EPA says about home filters:

“Flat or panel air filters with a MERV of 1 to 4 are commonly used in residential furnaces and air conditioners. For the most part, such filters are used to protect the HVAC equipment from the buildup of unwanted materials on the surfaces such as fan motors and heating or cooling coils, and not for direct indoor air quality reasons.

Pleated or extended surface filters

Medium efficiency filters with a MERV of 5 to 13 are reasonably efficient at removing small to large airborne particles. Filters with a MERV between 7 and 13 are likely to be nearly as effective as true HEPA filters at controlling most airborne indoor particles. Medium efficiency air filters are generally less expensive than HEPA filters, and allow quieter HVAC fan operation and higher airflow rates than HEPA filters since they have less airflow resistance.”

There are also some filter additions that go above and beyond and depending on your situation, you should check them out. If allergies and dust are a concern, an air duct purifier with an ultra violet light could take care of your problems. They are known to kill mold, germs and viruses and the bulbs usually last about two years. A good filter and UV light can do wonders, but they have to be properly maintained.

2. So now let’s talk about your furnace and air conditioner. How old are they? If you have a system that is 15-20 years old, it may be time for an upgrade. The blower fan may not be circulating the air at full capacity any more. The condenser may not be cooling to where it should be. If you buy a new high efficiency furnace the comfort level and air quality can improve instantly simply because the blower is no longer struggling and the air is being circulated and filtered properly.

3. An Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) exchanges stale indoor air for equal amount of fresh air outdoor air. It retains heat and moisture from exchanged air in winter, but pre-conditions and dehumidifies incoming air in summer so your home or office is more comfortable year-round. If you have smokers in the house, this is a great way to get the bad toxins in the air out? The (ERV) is also a great tool for removing condensation, mold, allergens, reducing radon particulates and just making the house or office just smell better.

4. Whole house humidifier- If you are experiencing dry air and skin during the winter, you are not alone. You may even think that little 5-gallon elephant vaporizer may even help you as it spews out mist in your bedroom while you sleep and it might, a little. Well instead of being selfish a whole house By-pass humidifier will typically do your whole family or employees the trick. They are easily installed and can start with dispersing as little as 7-12 gallons of water per day without you ever having to fill up another vaporizer again. These also work wonders on static electricity.

5. Whole house De-humidifier- Unless you live in a bad area or below the flood table you shouldn’t need a commercial solution like one of these, but sometimes it can help. If you are tired of constantly draining the portable basement system you are currently using, this could be your best bet. The basic whole house de-humidifier will take four times the water out the air typical dehumidifiers do and it will save energy and filter the air as well.

6. When it comes to mold some of the above solutions may help, but mostly with airborne mold. If you can see mold build up in your basement or in your bathroom it is recommended to contact a mold mitigation professional for an assessment. Mold left unattended could cause lots of damage. Damage you may not even be able to see because it is behind the drywall or paneling.

Every house and every concern is going to vary, but the above article should give you at least a heads up on whether you should be concerned about indoor air quality. When it doubt or to get a second opinion, you can always call up one of your local indoor air quality experts.

Discovering What’s Triggering Your Allergies

Allergies is the one health issue that seems to never go away. At least, not without the right lifestyle and diet changes. Naturopathic doctors have already found various methods to help people overcome their allergies forever. One type of natural allergy treatment is SLIT. This is a non-invasive method and works gradually over time.

If you or a loved one suffers from allergy symptoms, you can have testing performed by a naturopathic medicine doctor. Today, allergies affect one in every five people in America, and it’s on the rise. This is likely due to the increase in processed foods and other unhealthy lifestyle choices.

It’s important to have allergy testing done to pinpoint why your allergy symptoms are flaring up. Meanwhile, you can use the following ways to determine the source of your problems.

Pet Dander

You’d be surprised to learn how many people are living with pets that are causing their allergies. They have symptoms like coughing, sneezing, skin rashes and watery red eyes. However, few put two and two together quickly enough. If you notice similar symptoms when you’re around your own or others pets, then this could be the culprit. If you don’t want to get rid of your beloved pet, then a natural allergy treatment should be sought.

Dead and Live Cockroaches

No one wants to live with cockroaches, but they somehow creep their way into our homes anyway. Not getting rid of them quickly enough can lead to adverse reactions, like coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, nose, throat and mouth. This is caused by the saliva and droppings of cockroaches, which act as allergens to certain people. The more roaches in an area, the more severe the symptoms.

Latex Gloves, Condoms and Bandages

Anything made with latex can sometimes cause adverse reactions. This includes products like gloves, adhesive bandages and condoms. These are known to cause allergic reactions, such as wheezing, hives, stuffy nose, problems with breathing and itching. It’s common for symptoms to arise after long-term use of latex items.

Gold and Nickel

You hear of people having adverse reactions to fake jewelry, but there are others who also have these type of reactions to gold and nickel jewelry. You may see signs of swelling, redness, dry patches or rashes. When the symptoms are left untreated, it can lead to cracked, dark, leathery skin. Some folks have extreme reactions to nickel found in different sources, such as food like chocolate and fish.

Red Food Coloring

This is can be found in all types of processed foods, including candies, cakes and soda. The symptoms seen with this allergen includes wheezing, diarrhea, vomiting, itchiness and hives. And it’s not just red food dyes that can cause this – purple, orange and pink dyes can also do the same. What causes the reaction is the pregnant cochineal bug that lives on prickly pear cacti used to create the pigment. It’s important to watch for allergic reactions to red dye, because they are sometimes known to be quite serious.

Medications

This is a tricky area because no two people are the same. One medication may cause adverse effects in you, but not the next person. Some symptoms can be life threatening, so it’s important to seek medical attention immediately, so you can get a substitute. The more mild reactions can be treated using steroids or antihistamines. The more severe reactions would require an EpiPen (this is good to carry on you just in case). Make sure to pay attention to the potential side effects of the medications you are prescribed.

Headaches, Hives & Heartburn? Histamine Could Be the Cause

Dealing with symptoms like heartburn, headaches and hives is no walk in the park. This is especially true if you have no idea of how to stop them. Most people, and even some conventional doctors, don’t know how to prevent or stop these type of symptoms because they don’t understand the cause. Anytime you’re trying to treat a problem, you must first find the root. This is exactly what we do in naturopathic family care.

One of the most overlooked health concerns in America is allergies. It’s chocked up as being an uncontrollable illness that can’t be stopped, only remedied with medications. Stats show about one percent of the population exhibits symptoms when faced with histamine overload. The symptoms normally include migraines fast heart rate, constipation, low blood pressure and diarrhea. The issue is that these symptoms can be related to a host of other underlying conditions, so it’s difficult to pinpoint histamine as a culprit.

Histamine Intolerance is a Real Disorder

Another way to look at allergies is as a histamine intolerance. This is a disorder that can cause the above symptoms, but are hardly ever linked to histamine. If you were to take allergy testing during these times, it would reveal it. At this point, you can ask a naturopathic family care doctor for natural allergy treatment, such as SLIT. This is a non-invasive treatment that can ease and reverse your allergy symptoms over time.

A Closer Look at Histamine

We hear the word histamine (or anti-histamine) all the time, but what is it really? Histamine is a part of a group that consists of small molecule neurotransmitter substance, like adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. It’s always circulating throughout your body delivering messages to your brain. It passes between neurons and your nervous system. It can help regulate things like sleep, proper gut function and even sexual response.

When your body is exposed to allergens, it triggers an immune response (an influx in white blood cells), which releases histamines and causes inflammation (such as swollen eyes and skin rashes). Histamines can also be produced when you eat certain foods that contain histamine, as well as by gut bacteria.

Overcoming Intolerance to Histamine

The key is to train your body how to identify substances that aren’t harmful as friendly. This way, it will stop producing immune effects that trigger the imbalance of histamine. One way to do this is with the SLIT natural allergy treatment. A naturopathic medicine doctor can help you improve your diet and lifestyle during this process, so you can enhance the outcome of the therapy.