NOTE:   All the studies we will review are tagged with citation numbers like this:   [2]
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Natural Management of Allergies



   An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure   
   ~ Benjamin Franklin   

Every year, allergies cause untold suffering, incredible medical expense, and uncounted lost-days from work and school.   Allergic Disorders may attack our respiratory system, digestive tract, or our skin.   The best-known allergies are asthma, hay fever, and eczema.   Allergic reactions vary widely, from the sneezing, watery eyes, and nasal congestion of hay fever, to more severe systemic responses like rashes and swellings, and infrequently with the most extreme and terrifying reaction: anaphylactic shock.   [1]

All those symptoms are triggered by exposure to harmless substances, such as pollen or certain kinds of proteins.   Skin reactions may develop from repeated contact with an ever-increasing list of unregulated chemicals and fragrances used in the spectrum of personal care products.

This issue of HealthQuest is devoted to discussing nutritional solutions for allergies like asthma and hay fever. They both respond favorably to alternative management with supplementation.   Although we won't specifically review food allergies, most of the following recommendations will also be supportive.


What are Allergies?

Allergies are an inappropriate immune response to normally harmless substances.   The key take-away from that statement is that the allergic response represents a malfunction of the immune system.


Background Information

The Immune System -- which includes white blood cells, mast cells, antibodies, complement proteins, and various other substances -- defends the body against foreign invaders commonly referred to as antigens.   However, in susceptible individuals, the immune system can overreact to a certain class of antigens called allergens, which are harmless to the average person.   The result is an allergic reaction. Some people may be allergic to one substance, others to many.   It is estimated that one third of the people in the United States have some form of allergy.   [2]

Millions of Americans are allergic to pets.   Allergies to dogs, cats, and horses are caused by hypersensitivity to proteins found in the animal's saliva or their dander (skin flakes).

The Centers for Disease Control (the CDC) report that more than 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, causing 11 million visits to doctors or emergency rooms every year.   [3]   Allergy-induced asthma is the most common form of asthma in the United States;   in fact, 60% of people with asthma suffer from the allergic type.   [4,   5]

Even more disturbing, the incidence of asthma in children has nearly quadrupled in the last 30 years, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).

Nearly one in ten children in the US (9.4%) now has asthma, with the fastest rate of growth in preschool-age children.   [6]   Asthma is also very closely linked to allergies, and allergy-induced asthma is the most common form.   [4]  

Hay fever is the most common form of allergy, affecting about 30% of the population. Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, causes cold-like signs and symptoms, including runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure.   But unlike colds, a virus does not cause hay fever.   Hay fever is caused by an over-reaction to harmless allergens like pollen, dust mites or pet dander.   [7]


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* Although these statements may have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration,
they are all drawn directly from the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and that's good enough for me!