Allergies- Nothing To Sneeze At!
Allergic rhinitis is known to most people as hayfever. Hayfever is just one of several different allergic responses of the body. It's typical symptoms include a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing and wheezing. Often the symptoms occur shortly after exposure to the offending substance. It is thus classified as an immediate hypersensitivity reaction.
In contrast, allergies to chemical substances, food and drugs may take several hours or even days and are referred to as delayed hypersensitivity responses.
It's not hay
In spite of the name, most people with hayfever are actually reacting to substances other than hay. The most common respiratory allergies are reactions to plant pollens, mold spores, house dust and animal dander.
Many of these offending substances- called allergens- are seasonal, and each season has its own particular type of allergen.
In the spring are tree pollens, in mid-summer it's grass pollen and cottonwood, in late summer ragweed is common and during the winter with windows closed, furnaces working and pets in the house, allergens from mold or dander is the problem.
Despite year round presence of allergies, most people only experience attacks when a particular brand of allergen is present. This is referred to as seasonal. Other allergens are always present. Reactions to mold or animal dander depend on whether the mold or animal is present and is referred to as perennial.
You can acquire an allergy to almost any substance, natural or man-made. Any particle small enough to be carried through the air and once inhaled is able to pass into the respiratory tract. This is why house dust, plant pollen, and mold spores are common allergens. Once the substance comes in contact with the sensitive tissues that line the nose, mouth, throat, and sinuses, the war between the body and microscopic invaders begins.
The body's immune defense system has devised ways to handle these substances. Large proteins called antibodies, the chemical histamine and an army of white blood cells try to prevent the foreign substances from entering the blood stream.
For most people the war is a silent one. For allergic people, the smallest amount of allergen causes an all out response. The swollen nasal passages, watery eyes and sneezing are all out attempts to expel the particles.
When an allergen enters the respiratory system, it is immediately attacked by immunoglobulins, called antibodies. There are several types of antibodies, such as IgA, IgE, IgG, and IgM. IgG and IgM help fight bacteria and viruses while large particles like pollen grains cause production the of IgE.
When a pollen grain comes into contact with a sensitive respiratory membrane, IgE embedded in the surface of cells called mast cells , stick to the foreign substance. When the IgE sticks to the foreign protein, (allergen), many events start to happen in an attempt to remove the invader.
One of the first responses is the release of histamine from the mast cells. The histamine quickly opens the walls of the blood vessels and proteins leak out. This results in the typical swelling of the nasal tissues and eyes. This is the bodies attempt to flush out the allergen.
Thus to the misery of allergy sufferers, the bodies attempt at helping you causes unpleasant reactions. It is extremely important to maximize your immune system via a healthy lifestyle. This includes proper nutrition and avoidance of your intolerances, exercise, stress management, proper rest and relaxation and an enjoyment with life. This can do more to helping you control your hayfever reaction than any particular medication you may try. Commonly antihistamines are tried to prevent or to minimize the histamine response. There are many ways to help your hayfever symptoms. You should start building your immune system several months before your seasonal allergy flares up. Therapies such as nutritional supplements, botanical tinctures and teas, homeopathic medications, hydrotherapy, stress management, exercise, are lifestyle counselling are but a few avenues open to you to ehance your immune system and thus reduce or minimize your hayfever symptoms. You can be in control of your health and not at the mercy of the pollens or other enviromental factors around you.
To learn more about our doctors and how they can help you with fighting allergies naturally, call 707-292-8882
The doctors at Tru Health Medicine specialize in natural approaches to allergy relief and are experts in the field of integrative and naturopathic medicine. Tru Health Medicine is located in Santa Rosa, and the doctors see patients from nearby areas such as healdsburg, windsor, sebastopol, rohnert park, petaluma and other parts of sonoma county.
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