Integrative Health Blog

What Patients Say About LDA, Low Dose Allergy Immunotherapy for Seasonal Allergy Treatment

Posted by on Tue, Nov 13, 2018

"I was skeptical about LDA treatment because it sounded too good to be true, but I was desperate when my allergy medication wasn't enough.  Two LDA shots into treatment and I haven't taken Allegra, Zyrtec or Benadryl since!  Cherry blossoms are in full bloom and my allergy medication and inhaler are still in my pocket! Haven't needed to pull them out and I can hardly believe it.  Thank you!"

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Tags: allergies, LDA immunotherapy

Triggers for a Mold Allergy

Posted by on Sat, Aug 04, 2018

The symptoms of a mold allergy 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. Only some types of mold spores actually cause a reaction but a mold allergy can be challenging because mold is common and thrives in so many places. A mold allergy can be year-round or flare up when the weather is damp and rainy or you are in a damp space.

What grows mold is moisture- but here are some other places to consider where you might see your mold allergy flare up:

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Tags: allergies, mold

Allergy Treatment Options Are Not One Size Fits All

Posted by on Wed, Mar 28, 2018

When I first started practicing at NIHA, I had my own approach to treating allergies by healing “gut permeability”, repopulating the GI tract with good flora, reducing toxic load, and eliminating the allergenic triggers for a minimum of 3 months. This is very similar to the approach I was taught in naturopathic school. Soon after I started at NIHA, I began training with Dr. Barbara Solomon, who utilized oral immunotherapy for not only food allergies, but environmental allergies. When she retired I took over her practice, incorporating oral immunotherapy for allergy treatment into my wheelhouse.

As I began seeing more and more patients, I realized that there was often a disconnection in the nervous system’s communication with the immune system. In some cases, this was a matter of calming the immune system until the nervous system caught up with the use of oral immunotherapy and in other cases it was the nervous system that needed the calming.

Getting to the Root of Allergies

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Tags: allergies

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: allergies, herbals

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


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, gluten, allergies

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