Integrative Health Blog

Mild Winter Leads to Both Early Tick and Allergy Season

Posted by on Tue, Mar 14, 2017

Adult stage deer ticks are the primary vectors for Lyme disease and become active every year after the first frost. They're not killed by freezing temperatures, and while other ticks enter a feeding diapause, or suspended development, as the day-lengths get shorter, deer ticks will be active any winter day that the ground is not snow-covered or frozen. For the winter of 2017, in Washington D.C.  and many other typically snow covered areas, the risk of coming into contact with these nasty disease vectors has been much higher as this February holds the record for the warmest February in D.C. history.

Allergy Symptoms Started in February

Not only is the DC/VA/MD area a hot spot for Lyme transmission, it is also a hot spot for seasonal allergies.

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Tags: allergies, lyme disease

Fall Allergy Treatment for Ragweed and Mold

Posted by on Wed, Sep 21, 2016

Ragweed, and the Ragweed Family

Fall allergies appear in August as people start sneezing from ragweed and other weeds. A ragweed allergy is also known as hay fever. The drier the weather, the worse the pollen count. Ragweed allergies usually peak in September as one plant can produce one billion grains of pollen!  So, just when you want to enjoy an outdoor hike or plant some mums, ragweed allergy symptoms can make you miserable. The symptoms of allergies include sneezing, itchy eyes/nose/throat, nasal congestion, post nasal drainage, headache, rash, even fatigue or lack of energy.

Some people with a ragweed allergy can also experience problems with certain foods or teas such as echinacea or chamomile.

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Tags: mold, allergies, ragweed

Why Chamomile and Echinacea May Not Be Good for You

Posted by on Sun, Sep 04, 2016

Many people throughout the world use herbal teas as a method of treating various issues from a common cold to insomnia, but what if they are doing more harm systemically than good?

Many plants that are in the same family can often produce allergic reactions due to overlap in their chemical composition. A very good example of this is the Asteraceae family which includes ragweeds, a cause of roughly 50% of all of the cases of allergic rhinitis in the U.S. Many of the medicinal plants self-prescribed by people across the globe belong to this very same family.

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Tags: herbals, allergies

The Tooth-Sinus Connection

Posted by on Mon, Mar 21, 2016

Are you aware of the critical tooth-sinus connection?

At this time of year, spring rushes into our lives and brings warmer weather and longer daylight.  

While most of us welcome the beauty of spring, for many it may be the beginning of bothersome symptoms. The explosion of pollens may result in a host of sinus problems- a runny nose, sneezing, difficulty breathing, facial congestion, headaches and “tooth pain.”

Yes, I said tooth pain.   Your upper back teeth, the maxillary molars,  actually project into your sinuses and are only separated by very thin bone and the sinus membrane.

When your sinus lining is inflamed in a sinus infection, not only are your sinuses irritated and painful but the nerves of the teeth projecting into your sinuses are irritated.

The tooth - sinus proximity is such that inflamed sinuses may result in painful teeth.  

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Tags: allergies, holistic dentistry

Got Mold? Help for Mold Allergies

Posted by on Wed, Oct 14, 2015

Fall is beautiful with the crisp, fall mornings and the gorgeous colors of the changing leaves. As the leaves change, it is also often the time that those sensitive to mold will experience allergy symptoms.

Symptoms of Mold Allergies

The symptoms of mold allergies are the same as with any type of respiratory allergy: sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes/nose/throat, nasal congestion, cough or post nasal drainage, headache, rash, even asthma. A mold allergy can be year round or flare up in the fall or when the weather is damp or you are in a damp space.

Health conditions that may be mold related in addition to typical allergic rhinitis are irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis, and interstitial colitis. These conditions may improve after treatment for mold allergies, pollen, dust and food sensitivities.

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Tags: mold, allergies

Could I Be Sensitive to Gluten?

Posted by on Mon, Apr 13, 2015

Autumn Frandsen, ND

If you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms, the answer is YES.

Disproportionate fatigue

Migraines/headaches

Excessive weight gain or loss

Emotional issues involving chronic irritability and sudden, irrational mood shifts often moving into depression or anxiety

Neurological issues, including dizziness, difficulty balancing, and peripheral neuropathy affecting nerves outside the central nervous system and resulting in pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in the extremities

Gas, bloating, queasiness, abdominal cramping, constipation, diarrhea, or an alternating combination of both as in IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Fibromyalgia or any unexplained muscle or joint pain

Late onset seasonal allergies

Rashes or hives

Macrocytic anemia

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Tags: food sensitivities, allergies, gluten

Seasonal Allergies: The Year Round Epidemic

Posted by on Mon, Mar 16, 2015

Autumn Frandsen ND    

Allergies are a Common, Chronic Problem

According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, 1 in 5 people are affected by both allergies and asthma and 1 in 3 people are affected by allergies alone. Allergists and immunologists characterize allergies as an overreaction of the human immune system to a foreign protein substance (“allergen”) that is eaten, breathed into the lungs, injected or touched, and have identified allergy symptoms as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. They say severe cases can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, and even death. I have found that allergies can also present as dizziness, allergic conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal symptoms (including Crohn’s and colitis), anxiety, fatigue, depression, body pain, and insomnia.

Some Suffer Allergy Symptoms Year Round

Contrary to popular belief, allergies do not always limit themselves to “allergy season”. Seasonal allergies are often just the body’s warning sign for a bigger struggle going on in the body. Often, year round allergies will present as something entirely different than the typical sneezing, wheezing, itching, and watery eyes that are commonly associated with seasonal allergies. What happens when someone has these symptoms all year round? Are they still considered seasonal allergies? Sometimes. If a person is affected by different allergens at different times during the year, the seasons still dictate allergen growth, so technically, they are seasonal allergies. However, for some allergy sufferers, there is no relief once the season is over. I have many patients that this applies to, while most patients experience symptoms only in the spring and fall. The mold allergan that is prevalent in the fall (see Fall Allergies, Look Out for Ragweed and Mold) can cause lingering problems into the winter while newly blossoming flowers, trees, and shrubs can start affecting people at the end of the winter, and into the spring and the summer. One example of this is a patient of mine who had visited several optometrists and ophthalmologists due to pus coming out of her eye in large quantities periodically through the day. She received many different eye drops including steroidal eye drops and allergy eye drops with no relief from any of them. She came to see me and we identified several environmental allergies that were only manifesting as allergic conjunctivitis. She was skeptical about this information because she had used allergy drops in her eyes with no relief and assumed that if the allergies were bothering only her eyes then a direct application of medicine to her eye seemed like it would treat the problem if that was indeed the problem. I explained that allergies can cause a reaction on an immunological level and in attempt to purge the body of harmful substances, it may have attempted to express them out through any means necessary. This indicates that it wasn’t necessarily her eyes that were affected but that there was something more serious going on inside. After doing some lab testing, we found that she had an autoimmune condition underlying her immediate concern. Identifying the allergies and correcting them not only cleared up her eyes, but brought her high antibody complexes in her body down to normal range.

The Problem with Allergy Shots 

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Tags: allergies

Are Allergies No More Than Toxicity?

Posted by on Fri, Sep 26, 2014

Autumn Frandsen ND

                Allergies can develop at many points in a person’s life, often going unnoticed or unrecognized until they are a major hindrance. They can present as a sinus infection, headaches, itchy eyes, and even colitis. I have found that emotional turmoil, stress, exposure to chemicals, poor diet, defects in detoxification pathways, and frequent antibiotic use can all cause allergic reactions. The threshold for toxicity is different in everyone and once it is reached the nervous system and immune systems become hyperactive. At that point it is no longer enough to use antihistamines and anti-anxiolytics. A more holistic allergy treatment must be focused on unburdening the body through increasing antioxidants, repairing damaged caused by inflammation (particularly in the gut), and desensitizing both the nervous system and the immune system.

                There is a delicate balance between the nervous system and the immune system. Adrenal function affects both of them greatly and in those with pronounced stress, whether physical or emotional, adrenal output is usually diminished. At any given time there can be surges of cortisol, causing the nervous system to by up regulated, which in turn causes hyperactivity of the immune system as it searches for stressors and invaders. This increase in immune system reactivity causes increased inflammation, leading to destruction of the GAP junctions in the gut lining. This causes “leaky gut” and suddenly (or insidiously) food allergies or sensitivities never before present or bothersome increase in number and symptom presentation.

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Tags: allergies, toxins

Pediatric Tip: 4 Ways to Stay Healthy When the Seasons Change

Posted by on Mon, Apr 14, 2014

Do you find yourself getting sick when the weather changes?

We can't wait for spring and warmer weather, can we?  But as it warms up, then the allergies start and the stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and sinus headaches begin. At this time of year the tree pollen, grasses and weeds are out in full force. Does your child get one ear infection or one stuffy nose after another?  You need a good defense strategy. 

Here are 4 tips to build up your immunity for allergy season:

1. Defend your nose Your nose is where most upper respiratory illnesses start.  From your nose, viruses and bacteria travel to the sinuses, ears, throat or lungs.  The best defense I've found is Xylitol nasal spray used daily which protect the nose against all the bugs trying to gain access.

2.  Avoid sugar Sugar suppresses the immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to the myriad of illnesses you're exposed to.  Instead of sodas and doughnuts, drink plenty of water, and snack on fruits and vegetables.

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Tags: immune system, allergies, pediatrics

Oral Immunotherapy for Allergies: an Integrative, Painless Approach

Posted by on Wed, Apr 09, 2014

Autumn Frandsen N.D.

I write this article in hopes that the warm weather will remember us and return gently in the very near future. To those who dread the impending bloom of the flowers and spread of the pollen, I offer you solace. There is an answer to your allergy prayers- and no, it doesn’t involve shots!

Effective, Painless Treatment for Allergies

Until recently, allergists and immunologists believed that freedom from seasonal allergies, venom allergies, and mold allergies existed only after enduring a long series of allergy desensitization shots after being subjected to painful skin prick testing. Recent studies have shown that oral immunotherapy has proven to be effective for sensitivities to food, bee and insect venoms, as well as seasonal allergies. To the benefit of the former patients of Dr. Barbara Solomon, and my current patients, this method has been helping free people from their allergic prisons for over 30 years. It wasn’t until funding for studies became available that it received the proper attention and recognition.

Oral Immunotherapy, Customized Drops to Treat Allergies

Oral immunotherapy consists of a crude extract of the allergen and a diluting substance, which is administered to the patient orally. In some allergy practices there is a standard beginning dose and the patient is moved through a series of oral administrations. Although this is beneficial to some, it can still elicit an allergic reaction in others if they are extremely sensitive and cannot tolerate the same level of allergen as others. There is a solution for this as well. If the degree to which the patient is sensitive can be determined, the allergen, or antigen, can be diluted to a potency that the patient can tolerate while the immune system still processes it similarly to the way it processes a higher potency. Using specific technology, we can determine what the most effective “endpoint” or potency would be for each particular patient. At that time we can begin to reduce the inflammatory response that is set in motion when there is exposure to the allergen. Over time, as the patient builds up to their dosage, the degree to which the symptoms are experienced is decreased and eventually elimination of allergy symptoms occurs. This is all done without a single needle!

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Tags: immunotherapy, allergies