Q: What are allergies?
A: Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system. People who have allergies have a hyper-alert immune system that overreacts to a substance in the environment called an allergen. Exposure to what is normally a harmless substance, such as pollen, causes the immune system to react as if the substance is harmful.
Allergies are a very common problem, affecting at least 2 out of every 10 Americans.
Your Body Knows these Symptoms……. Do You?
It’s really warfare, but to you, it may appear as one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sneezing often accompanied by a runny or clogged nose
- Postnasal drip
- Itching eyes, nose, or throat
- Allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses)
- The "allergic salute" (in a child, persistent upward rubbing of the nose that causes a crease mark on the nose)
- Watering eyes
- Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the membrane that lines the eyelids, causing red-rimmed, swollen eyes, and crusting of the eyelids).
If you suffer from some of these symptoms you just may have allergies.
Q: What is asthma?
A: Asthma (Az-muh) is a chronic disease that affects your airways. The airways are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When the airways react, they get narrower, and less air flows through to your lung tissue. This causes symptoms like wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing, especially at night and in the early morning.
Asthma cannot be cured, but most people with asthma can control it so that they have few and infrequent symptoms and can live active lives.
Asthma is caused by hypersensitivity in the airways to various stimuli. It is a chronic condition with acute exacerbations. In this country, there are approximately 28 million asthmatics; nearly one third of them (8.6 million) are children under 18 years of age. Asthma can be life-threatening if not properly managed. Asthma breathing problems usually happen in "episodes" or "attacks". An asthma episode is a series of events that result in narrowed airways. These include: swelling of the lining, tighten of muscles, and increased secretion of mucus in the airway. The narrowed airway is responsible for the difficulty in breathing with the familiar "wheeze".
Triggers range from viral infection to allergies, to irritating gases and particles in the air. The most common form of asthma is "allergic asthma" so if you have allergies you more than likely have allergic asthma.
Each person reacts differently to the factors that may trigger asthma, including some respiratory infections; colds; allergic reactions to pollen, mold, animal dander, feathers, dust, food, and cockroaches; vigorous exercise; exposure to cold air or sudden temperature change; cigarette smoke; excitement, and stress. It is very important you know what your triggers are.
Asthma therapy includes efforts to reduce the underlying inflammation and to relieve or prevent symptomatic airway narrowing. Such efforts should lead to reduction in airway hyper responsiveness and help prevent irreversible airway obstruction.
The two classes of medications used to treat asthma are bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory agents.
Mti-inflammatory agents interrupt the development of bronchial inflammation and have a prophylactic or preventive action. They may also modulate or terminate ongoing inflammatory reaction in the airways. These agents include corticosteroids, commonly sodium or commonly-like compounds, and other anti-inflammatory compounds.
Bronchodilators act principally to dilate the airways by relaxing bronchial smooth muscle. They include bet adrenergic agonists, methylxanthines, and anticholinergics.
Asthma is the leading serious chronic illness among children. Most children have mild to moderate breathing problems, and their illness can be controlled by treatment at home or in the doctor's office. For some children the illness becomes a formidable problem, causing numerous visits to the hospital emergency room and multiple hospitalizations.
Q: What is pet/animal dander?
A: When we hear about animal dander allergies we think the fur is the problem. Animal dander (dead skin that is continually shed), urine and saliva can cause an allergic reaction. Exposure to these allergens, especially breathing in particles which include dander, cause the allergic reaction to animals.
Household pets, cats, dogs, ferrets, bunnies, etc, are the most common source of allergic reactions to animals.
FYI, there is no such thing as "hypo-allergenic" cats or dogs.
Many people think that pet allergy is provoked by the fur of cats and dogs. But researchers have found that the major allergens are proteins secreted by oil glands in the animals' skin and shed dander (old skin cells) as well as proteins in the saliva, which sticks to the fur when the animal licks itself.
People have always said that when it comes to allergies, cats are worse than dogs. We now know that it is because cats lick themselves more than dogs, thereby spreading the allergens. In addition, cats may be held more and spend more time in the house, close to humans. The closer they are the more dander you pick up because dander sticks to everything.
Urine is also a source of allergy-causing proteins. When the substance carrying the proteins dries, the proteins can then float into the air. Some rodents, such as guinea pigs and gerbils, have become increasingly popular as household pets. They, too, can cause allergic reactions in some people, as can mice, rats and rabbits. Urine is the major source of allergens from these animals.
Allergies to animals can take two years or more to develop and may not subside until six months or more after ending contact with the animal. Some of our customers have had problems a year after the pets left the house. Carpet and furniture hold pet allergens, and the allergens can remain in them for four to six weeks. In addition, these allergens can stay in household air for months after the animal has been removed.
Therefore, it is wise for people with an animal allergy to check with the landlord or previous owner to find out if furry pets had lived in the house or apartment.
Q: What are house dust allergies?
A: For millions of Americans, the world is a scary place, filled with normally harmless substances that their bodies recognize as enemies. Of all the enemies, one is virtually inescapable: house dust. House dust mite allergy is the major year-round allergy in the world.
What makes lowly house dust such a plague to allergy sufferers is that just one speck contains a host of things that cause an allergic reaction; dust mites, human skin particles, animal dander, parts of cockroaches, mold spores, food particles and other debris.
Ever wonder what really is in the dust on the dresser on that fan blade.
Rather than a single substance, house dust is a varied mixture of potentially allergenic materials. The particles seen floating in that shaft of sunlight may contain fibers from different types of fabrics; cotton lint, feathers, and other stuffing materials; bacteria; mold and fungus spores (especially in damp areas); food particles; bits of plants and insects; and other allergens peculiar to an individual home. You see dust is just not dirt.
Dust also may contain microscopic mites. Dust mites being the most common. These mites live in bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets and every time we sit walk or move around some become airborne. Ordinarily, they would thrive in summer and die in winter. However, in a warm, humid house, they continue to thrive even in the coldest months.
They produce a great deal of waste. These waste products, which are proteins, actually provoke the allergic reaction. House dust mite allergy is the major year-round allergy in the world, though ragweed is more prevalent in the United States.
Q: What are Dust Mites?
A: Dust mites are tiny animals you cannot see. Every home has dust mites. They feed on skin flakes and are found in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys, and fabric or other fabric-covered items. Body parts and feces of dust mites can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. The presence of dust mites in a home is in no way an indication of the sanitary conditions in the home.
Q: What are mold allergies?
A: Along with pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds, molds are an important cause of seasonal allergic rhinitis. People allergic to molds may have symptoms from spring to late fall. The mold season often peaks from July to late summer. Unlike pollens, molds may persist after the first killing frost. Some can grow at subfreezing temperatures, but most become dormant. Snow cover lowers the outdoor mold count dramatically but does not kill molds. After the spring thaw, molds thrive on the vegetation that has been killed by the winter cold. In the warmest areas of the United States, however, molds thrive all year and can cause year-round (perennial) allergic problems. In addition, molds growing indoors can cause perennial allergic rhinitis even in the coldest climates.
Q: What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?
A: Synthetic chemicals are all around us. They're in the products we use, in the clothes we wear, in the food we eat, in the air we breathe at work. Because chemicals are everywhere in the environment, it's not possible to escape exposure. No wonder, then, that many people have become sensitized to the chemicals around them. For some people the sensitization is not too serious a problem. They may have what appears to be a minor allergy to one or more chemicals. Chemical sensitivity is not a true allergic reaction because IgE is not actually present. Other people are much more seriously affected. They may feel tired all the time, and suffer from mental confusion, breathing problems, sore muscles, and a weakened immune system. Such people suffer from a condition referred to as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).
Q: What are pollen allergies?
A: Each spring, summer, and fall, tiny particles are released from trees, weeds, and grasses. These particles, known as pollen, hitch rides on currents of air. Although their mission is to fertilize parts of other plants, many never reach their targets. Instead, they enter human noses and throats, triggering a type of seasonal allergic rhinitis called pollen allergy, which many people know as hay fever or rose fever (depending on the season in which the symptoms occur). Of all the things that can cause an allergy, pollen is one of the most widespread. People with pollen allergies often develop sensitivities to other troublemakers that are present all year, such as dust mites. Year-round airborne allergens cause perennial allergic rhinitis, as distinguished from seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Q: What does clean water do for our bodies?
A: Water has five functions in our bodies: it is a lubricant, solvent, transporter, coolant and dispersant (electronegative enhancer. If water carries a load (salts, heavy metals, and pollutants dissolved into itself) then the water cannot be efficient in these functions. If your car has rusty water in the radiator, it overheats. If we have an above normal waste level in our blood, we overheat and develop fever. In sports medicine, physicians advise athletes to drink water. Research shows water consumption during activity increases endurance, and muscles remain relaxed rather than tense when the activity is over.
Q: What are bed mites?
A: The most common "Bed Mite" is the common house dust mite. House dust mites can be a problem in any building, in any city, clean or dirty. Trust me when I say that there are dust mites in your home right now.
Dust mites are generally found in beds, pillows, upholstered furniture, rugs, or other places where people sleep or sit for long periods. Dust mites require a damp environment and that is why beds are a mites favorite place to hang out.
Other mites some consider "bed mites" include Itch mites, Rat mites and chiggers.