EDWARDS — Summer is here and so is full-blown allergy season. According to the American Academy of Allergy and Asthma Research, sixty million people in the U.S. suffer from allergies, and this includes forty percent of all children. The cost to our society of treating allergic rhinitis is estimated at over $11 billion. Allergic disorders include hayfever, allergic rhinitis, eczema and dermatitis. Allergic triggers can include airborne, food and water contaminates such as tobacco smoke, pesticides, heavy metals, pet and pest dander, food allergens, infectious agents such as viral, mold and stress. When we are exposed to an allergic trigger certain parts of the immune system get over stimulated. This results in an over production of inflammatory mediators causing excessive mucous production and thus an allergic reaction.
Once the cascade of immune deregulation is triggered allergic symptoms often develop and once you develop one allergic trait such as eczema, others are likely to follow such as food allergies, asthma and allergic rhinitis. One of the core principles of naturopathic medicine is that prevention is preferable to treatment whenever possible. Prevention is always safer, more effective and less expensive. Ways one can help prevent allergies are eating a healthy diet, eating organic whenever possible and staying away from foods to which one can be allergic.
There is a clear link between seasonal allergies and food allergies. In some individuals’ allergic rhinitis due to pollens, ragweed and grasses are connected to food allergies. In other words, when you eliminate the individuals food allergies the environmental allergies go away. And if you do not eliminate the allergic foods the environmental allergies will continue to get worse every year.
Keeping the immune system healthy by taking a good multiple vitamins is also needed. Scientific studies complied by the Organic Center in 2010 show that vitamins A, C and D actually protect us from getting allergies. According to the Journal Allergy and Clinical Immunology (June 2009), studies are also showing consistently that the majority of our children are vitamin D deficient and these children are at an increase risk of developing asthma and other allergies. To further help prevent allergies in children breast feeding is also recommended for the first year of life.
With this allergy epidemic upon us the challenge is not to develop more aggressive and costly treatments but to implement more effective preventive strategies. By determining the cause of your allergies such as a lower immune response, nutritional deficiencies and food allergies one can get rid of allergies altogether.
Deborah Wiancek is a naturopathic physician who has a family practice at the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic & Pharmacy in Edwards. She has been practicing in the Vail Valley for the last sixteen years. To schedule an appointment, please call 970-926-7606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.healthref.com or www.riverwalknaturalhealth.blogspot.com. for more information.