Integrative Health Blog

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

Asthma: A Holistic Approach

Posted by on Mon, Mar 17, 2014

Teresa Fuller MD, PhD

While spring is a welcome relief from the cold and dreary winter for many of us, it can be a time of misery for children suffering with asthma.  The blooming of trees with the accompanying pollen trigger wheezing, coughing, and other unwelcome symptoms for a rising number of children with asthma. Asthma now affects 1 in 11 children. The incidence has been rising over the past few decades, with an increase of 15% just in the past decade.

The conventional medical approach to asthma is to relieve the symptoms as much as possible with the use of bronchodilators and steroids.  Bronchodilators open the airways, while steroids suppress the inflammatory response that the body produces to harmless stimuli, such as pollen from flowers and weeds.  The other approach is to identify the child’s triggers and avoid them.  But so many triggers, such as pollen, mold and dust mites are impossible to completely avoid.  While these are necessary treatments to control asthma symptoms, how about getting to the root causes of symptoms to help the body stop “overreacting” to these stimuli in the first place?  Here are four strategies of a holistic approach to asthma treatment that can reduce or even stop asthma at its root.

Feed your child an anti-inflammatory diet

Asthma is an inflammatory disease, which means that the body’s immune system is fired up, trying to battle the environmental assaults.  An anti-inflammatory diet is one that can help “calm the fire.” This is a diet rich in antioxidants and free of foods that further inflame the system.  Therefore, your child’s diet needs to be rich in natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.  These plant foods provide an abundant supply of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  On the other hand, you want to rid your child’s diet of inflammatory foods such as artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners found in many so-called “kid-friendly” foods.  White sugar and white flour products are also inflammatory.  And dairy products are a frequent source of inflammation for many children with asthma.

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Tags: asthma, detoxification, holistic approach, allergies, pediatrics

The Cheapest Cure for Anxiety

Posted by on Wed, Jan 08, 2014

Autumn Frandsen N.D.

Almost daily a patient rattles off a list of complaints with anxiety being included 90 percent of the time. Often, it is dismissed by the patient and his or her former doctors as a personality trait, a problem that has been with the patient for so long they have adopted it as part of who they are. For some, anxiety is a new phenomenon that hits them suddenly like a Mack truck.

What Contributes to Anxiety

When I question the patient about when it began there is almost always a trigger, however insidious it may be. Some may have experienced it for the first time when a challenging milestone is reached, such as entering high school or college. For some it crept up on them after moving into a new home or the birth of their children. Although all of these have different precipitating factors, they may not be handled drastically differently. For the women who slowly started to feel worse after the birth of a child they may notice that can no longer find time to exercise, or they are not eating as well as they used to. With the stress of pregnancy and birthing a woman’s body, i.e. the adrenals, may not be able to cope with the consumption of allergenic foods like they once did. Whatever the exact cause one thing is certain, exercise and an anti-inflammatory/elimination diet will undoubtedly help.

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Tags: stress, allergies

Dr. Solomon Retiring After a Remarkable Career in Allergy and Environmental Medicine

Posted by on Tue, Jul 30, 2013

Barbara Solomon M.D. will be retiring at the end of July after a remarkable career in environmental medicine.  

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Tags: chemical sensitivities, environmental medicine, allergies, integrative medicine

How to Detect Hidden Food Sensitivities

Posted by on Wed, Jun 05, 2013

Eve Colantoni CHC

Many people are aware that they have food allergies due to the severe and sudden reaction they experience when consuming these foods.  But food sensitivities can be much more difficult to determine and often with symptoms that could seem completely unrelated.
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Tags: fatigue, food sensitivities, allergies

Integrative Medicine Approach to Allergies for Rapid Relief

Posted by on Tue, May 15, 2012

 

Symptoms of Allergies

Do you, or a family member, have a runny nose, sinus congestion, headaches including sinus headaches?  You may be suffering from allergies to  pollens, grasses, molds, dust, cat or dog dander or feathers and may include allergies to foods.   

Non-Invasive, Painless Testing for Allergies

Testing for allergies  is done by electrodermal screening using EDS100 electrodermal test system which is painless, and only involves pressure of the testing device on the correct acupuncture point. The testing is non invasive and involves pressure of the testing device at the base of the thumb for airborne allergies  and the lateral side of the third finger for food allergies.

Testing is ideal for children since it is non-invasive,and uses no needles or injections. The child sits on the lap of the parent and the parent’s sinus point is tested at the base of the thumb to find the neutralizing dilution for airborne allergies and pressure or at  the allergy point on the  third finger, laterally for food allergies.

Integrative Medicine Treatment of Allergies with Customized Allergy Serums

Customized Allergy serums are the treatment for allergies. Treatment is done with allergy drops taken under the tongue taken once a week and not painful injections. The serums cause the immune system to build up blocking antibodies that turn off the allergic response, and may even eliminate the allergy, given an appropriate length of treatment. You can find rapid relief from the symptoms of allergies.

 

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Tags: allergy elimination technique, chemical sensitivities, allergies

Chinese Medicine and the "Spring Tune-Up"

Posted by on Wed, Apr 25, 2012

Nicholas Buscemi MSOM, LAc

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Tags: chinese medicine, integrative health, allergies, liver