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Alternative allergy treatments

Drew Werner

Dear Doc: I read and appreciated your article in Monday’s Daily regarding allergies and their sufferers. I am the wife of a sufferer and would like to find out about more long-term treatments for airborne allergies.

Are there alternative treatments, perhaps accupunture or something I have never even heard about? I would really appreciate some advice, as my husband, the sufferer, has had to make emergency room trips in the middle of the night and really has never found anything that makes Rocky Mountain summers bearable for him (or me).

– Suffering with a Sufferer

Dear Suffering: I sympathize with your plea. Allergies make people fatigued, cause headaches and even shortness of breath. Watery itchy eyes can make it difficult to see and there may not be enough tissues in the state to control the nose that runs like Niagra Falls. For those of us without severe allergies it is hard to relate.

The only bright side is that allergies, despite how badly they make someone feel, are not medically serious. Treatment should focus on improving quality of life and shouldn’t be worse than the cure. Combinations of medications may be needed for severe sufferers and rarely short-term steroids can be used – but then the cure may be worse than the condition. If that fails, alternative options exist.

There are three categories of care for illness. Conventional medicine is where my training falls. It is the scientific treatment of illness, as well as prevention of disease based on rigorous scientific evidence. Despite all our science, however, there exists an art to the best conventional medicine, as well. Alternative medicine consists of those practices often based more on a long history of experience than scientific evidence. In the past the two rarely overlapped, but traveled down separate roads. Today “complementary” medicine or the new buzzword, “integrative” medicine, recognizes the simultaneous application of conventional and alternative medicine to achieve optimal health.

No matter the catch phrase used, the proof is in the patient, so to speak. If you or your husband is getting relief from a particular therapy, stick with it. One answer is not always found, but combinations of therapies can provide the relief you are seeking. Acupuncture is available through many local practitioners. Like finding a physician, it is important to find the right person for you. Acupuncture itself can be utilized to provide allergy relief, as well as combining it with many herbal products.

Other local therapies include naturopathy, in which practitioners work with natural healing forces within the body with a goal of helping the body heal from disease and attain better health. Specific techniques are used to treat allergies. Although not scientifically proven, many have found these alternative therapies very helpful, even when conventional medicine has failed. The most important thing is to have good communication regarding treatment, expectations and goals.

It was great to see so many of you at the health fair this weekend. Many thanks go out to Valley View Hospital, the Eagle Lions Club, my office (the Eagle Valley Medical Center), the Eagle and Gypsum fire departments and all the many volunteers. If you didn’t make it, Valley View Hospital is hosting a second health fair in New Castle this coming Saturday. The location and times are: Riverside Middle School, 804 W. Main St.,New Castle, Saturday, April 24, 7 a.m. to noon.

Dr. Drew Werner of the Eagle Valley Medical Center writes a weekly column for the Daily. He encourages health questions. Write him by e-mail to editor@vaildaily.com or c/o Editor, Vail Daily, P.O. Box 81, Vail, 81658.


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