|Allergies – An Alternative Approach
E. Joan Barice MD, MPH
Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care.I just read an article in AOL Body about side effects of allergy medicines. You can find it titled Allergy Medication: Side Effects – AOL Body May 6, 2007 – anyway there were “8 surprising side effects of allergy medicines”, all fairly unpleasant that were listed and explained.
I think we trust and use too many medications – yes they are needed for some and can be helpful, and they can relieve symptoms. They usually come at a price – not just money, but side effects as well. I’m not against doctors or medicine. I am a doctor. Sometimes we need drugs. They help many people. But I think we overdo it. The ads are working. In the US we use twice as many prescription medicines as any other developed country, yet we have the most expensive health care system and are country #42 in life expectancy. I’d rather use prevention and natural remedies whenever possible. Not everyone is able or willing to do that.
What happens when you use allergy medicines? This is what I believe, as it was pointed out to me years ago by my friend Sang Lee, MD, an allergist. An allergic reaction is our immune system over-reacting to something in the environment because it is weak. It’s a message, telling us we need to strengthen our t-cells, part of our immune sytem. T-cells can help protect us against things like cancer and viruses.
There are many things that can weaken our immune systems. Basically an unhealthy lifestyle will do it. I mentioned the components of a healthy lifestyle in my last blog. Stress, emotional or physical, can weaken our immune system. Then we can get more colds and more cancer. A few examples — skipping breakfast, not getting enough rest or leisure time, eating fast food on the run, not exercising because we don’t have time, drinking coffee or sugar-filled energy drinks to keep going because of our hyper-paced lifestyles are not stress-reducers — they are stress producers.
Cortisone, which is often used for allergic reactions basically kills our t-cells. Other allergy treatments can weaken or paralyze our t-cells. Allergy shots wear them down till they quit and get weaker and then they will be allergic to the next thing that comes along.
The best solution of all is to support your immune system with a healthy lifestyle. We need to get plenty of good water too. Histamine is our water regulator and when we are low on water, histamine can cause asthma and hay fever and stuffiness – because it’s trying to prevent further loss of water from the respiratory system. Therapeutic essential oils have helped me alleviate allergy symptoms in the past.
If you have questions, comments or would like more information I’d love to hear from you.