30 May 2008

Food Sensitivities, Particulates, Allergens --- Oh MY!

Am I a gluten for punishment? Living in the Pacific Northwest w is wonderful, but behind every wonderful there is an unsavory side, and for me that is the dampness that gives us our lovely moss covered forests and temperate climate.rain, one winter day

When dampness is prevalent --- so is mold, spores, pollen, dust mites....Unfortunately for me and the 9 million+ inhabitants of the PNW, we are living in an allergen nightmare. Not only do we have mold, but pollens specifically found only in this Northwest corner of the United States.

Throughout the late years of my teens and into my adulthood I have been on a roller coaster ride of allergen induced symptoms. From skin to respiratory to full on facial swelling, which recently, of course led to an emergency trip to the ER. All these symptoms were caused by a growing list of things that either fall into one of these
categories: animal, vegetable, chemical, mineral or environmental. that I am "sensitive" to or painfully allergic to.

Needless to say this has caused me to have to document any symptoms I have. I urge anyone who thinks they, or their child has an allergy to document :

  1. Symptoms ? Be descriptive - whether or NOT you feel they are related to an allergy.
  2. The symptoms duration - How long do these symptoms last?
  3. Where were you when the symptoms occurred? The environment (inside / outdoor) (was it sunny or wet) etc. Be descriptive!
  4. What were you doing when the symptoms occurred? Be descriptive (eating - what? / sleeping- on? /petting cat - long hair?) [ The product you were using (hair gel / chemicals)]
These documented events will help your doctor narrow down the cause of the allergy. And it will help you to notice any patterns - such as "wow, frank gets itchy when he chews on rutabagas..", so that you know what things to avoid, and what triggers outbreaks or symptoms.

Eliminating those allergens in your life can sometimes be overwhelming and frustrating to think about. But if you stick to an allergen journal - slowly things come into perspective, and it makes this task allot easier.

The research about allergies is staggering.

Allergy Facts:

  • it is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions.(S)
  • The cost of allergies in the United States is more than $10 billion dollars yearly.(S)
  • Allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies) affects about 35 million Americans, 6 million of whom are children.(S)
  • Asthma affects 15 million Americans, 5 million of whom are children.(S)
  • The number of cases of asthma has doubled over the last 20 years.(S)
  • Dust Mites & their waste can remain airborne for 15 minutes, after being disturbed.
  • The male/female ratio for asthma is 3:1.
  • Asthma accounts for almost 5,000 deaths a year

There are some ways to combat Allergies, I have found some interesting links with some good info on allergens. Here are a few quick tips I have found helpful.

Simple Ways To Combat Common Allergens:

  • Keep the home cool (between 68 and 72 degrees F);
  • Maintain a low humidity (between 40 and 50%);
  • Make certain there is good ventilation.
  • If you have allergies - don't vacuum, if you must use a mask.
  • Stay out of the vacuumed area for 1 hour.

Also - You can invest in a air filtration system - you can find these in varying prices and strengths, they really do work! In both portable versions or One installed into the duct work of your home. One example is AccuClean™ Whole Home Air Filtration System, According to their website :

Key Benefits:
  • Removes over 99% of the common flu, or influenza A virus, from the filtered air in your home.
  • Removes up to 99.98% of allergens from filtered air
  • Catches particles even smaller than .1 micron in size
  • 8 times more effective than the best HEPA room appliance
  • 100 times more effective than a standard 1" throwaway filter or ionic-type room appliance
  • Delivers cleaner air, and more of it
  • Reusable filter is easy to vacuum or wash
See more info here: http://www.americanstandardair.com/HomeOwner/Products/AirCleaners/AccuClean.aspx

Links to Further Your Allergy Knowledge:

I have reason to believe I have food allergies also , and later I will going to an allergist for the first time and most likely go through a series of allergy tests. Since this is a food blog I wanted to highlight the dangers of food related allergens. I am a mom and I am amazed that not more parents are aware of food sensitivities and the symptoms.

Food Allergens - A Growing Trend

In the last twenty years, the US has seen an epidemic increase in allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism, including a:

  • 400% increase in food allergies

  • 300% increase in asthma, with a 56% increase in asthma deaths

  • 400% increase in ADHD

  • Between a 1,500 and 6,000% increase in autism.

  • The male/female ratio for food allergies is 2:1

  • An increase in the number of people with Celiac's Disease (a wheat allergy).

  • See more info here.

    Signs of Food Allergy
    Food allergy symptoms can range from mild to life threatening and may include:
    • hives
    • itching
    • rash (eczema)
    • behavioral/temper changes
    • swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or eyes
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
    • cramps
    • itching and tightness of throat
    • difficulty breathing (asthma)
    • wheezing
    • in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock.
    Anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic reaction that often includes swelling of the face, lips, mouth and throat and it can lead to a drop in blood pressure, shock and unconsciousness. If not treated immediately with epinephrine, anaphylaxis can be fatal.

    Links to improve Food Allergy Knowledge:

    Hopefully these links will help someone take control of the allergies that are plaguing them or a family member. Educating yourself should always be the first step to controlling any condition.



    6:34 PM, July 08, 2008 Reply  

    With a long history to back the claim, soap nuts are very effective in treating people having skin allergies including eczema and psoriasis. Used for generations in India and Nepal, soap nuts have made their presence felt in recent years in European nations, as well as in North America. Soap nuts are extremely mild and very effective for people having allergies. Some of the finest quality commercial detergents and cleansers available in the market may be harmful for people suffering from allergies such as eczema and psoriasis due to the chemicals contained in them. Soap nuts contain none of these chemicals, thus giving the potential for allergy relief.

    People suffering from serious skin ailments such as the two mentioned above are always told to not use cleansers of any form but, ironically, they are almost unavoidable due to the fact that cleansers are necessary for basic cleanliness and hygiene in our daily lives. These people are also told not to use any kind of detergents or soaps. This is because the soaps and detergents have harmful chemicals and dye which aggravates it and worsens the condition. Soap nuts are the most natural chemical free detergent available on the market. For this reason, Ayurvedic treatment includes soap nuts as a key ingredient for shampoos and cleanser which are used for cleaning purpose when an individual suffers from skin allergies like eczema and psoriasis.

    When an individual uses this soap nut cleanser to clean the affected area, the anti-microbial property of the soap nuts help in killing the germs that cause the disease, thus giving allergy relief. The absence of any kind of dye or toxins and even enzymes (which are known to cause skin irritation) in the soap nut makes it an ideal medicine for the treatment of skin ailments. Irrespective of the sex and age of an individual, soap nuts counter attack the disease causing germs and wipe them out. Absence of the non-allergic substances makes it suitable for children as well!

    So, if you are suffering from skin diseases, try the soap nut husk before you switch over to prescribed medicines. Try soap nuts and gather some experience by yourself trusting that if soap nuts are unable to cure your disease then they will at least not worsen the situation. Global studies on eczema and psoriasis have come up with results that can actually help you in switching to soap nuts as a medicine. Studies reveal that people using conventional detergents and soaps as cleansers have encountered an increase in the situation of the skin disease instead of curing it! However, the people who have switched to the Ayurvedic treatment based on soap nuts found that their problems have diminished.

    This revolutionary non-chemical and hundred percent natural laundry detergents have steadily grown to popularity and have made their presence felt in the world of medical science. Eco friendly by nature, environmentally friendly soap nuts help in maintaining a cleaner environment and keeping you away from the harmful effects of toxic chemicals. Allergy relief is within your reach!

    3:54 AM, January 20, 2009 Reply  

    Very informative post,
    I am surprised to got the fact that it is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions.Many thanks for the link for Home Air Filtration System.I think by the help of this system we can protect ourselves against many of these allergies.Because it is beneficial for such allergies.

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