By Megan Douglas
When I see how greatly allergies affect many families, sometimes I think we are in the midst of a pandemic. A bewildering speed, people in the developed world are succumbing to a series of allergies. Hay fever is increasing across all sectors of the population, while our children in particular suffer from increased skin and food allergies. For those of us who live in the Western world, 50% of the population is now estimated to be sensitive to at least one substance that cause allergies. These statistics are worrisome; which they should all be worried.
First, it is worth examining what is an allergy. We are said to have an allergy when your body reacts abnormally to a substance that is usually harmless (think pollen, animal hair, milk, nuts, eggs, etc.), but has a negative impact on our immune system when we touch, inhale or ingest it. Symptoms may include as many responses as sneezing, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, rashes and swelling.
There are therefore many different types of allergies, each with its own set of symptoms. But what is causing their precipitous rise?
In this, the jury is – unfortunately – out. A number of different ideas has been submitted by experts to explain the growth of allergies, especially among children. These theories include the popular “hygiene hypothesis’ which puts the blame at the door of excessive cleaning, while another debated reasons include our changing diet, climate change, pollution, genetically modified foods, decreased biodiversity, synthetic chemicals personal care products, and even excessive sensitivity among parents, who attribute allergies to their children every time they get sick. Another theory, more recent, points to the overuse of antibacterial products (such as antibiotics) as a key to the outbreak of the pandemic reason.
Whatever the reason, the fact that we are experiencing an increase in the incidence of allergies is unavoidable. And until researchers are able to reach a definitive answer (or answers) as to the root causes of this phenomenon, which falls on us being aware of it and to respond to it on a case-by-case basis.
Here are three of the most common types of allergies – hay fever, food allergies, and eczema -. And explore what can be done
Hay fever is a common problem, caused by an allergic reaction to pollen in the air. It can be a real annoying when all you want to do is enjoy the sun and the long days of summer. Conventional remedies include nasal sprays, decongestants and eye drops, while allergy shots are sometimes prescribed by doctors when symptoms become severe.
Personally, I prefer a natural solution and recommend you try the following options, which may well serve to minimize the incidence and severity of hay fever:
- Drinking green tea, which is a powerful antioxidant.
- Take garlic as a supplement. Garlic contains the compound quercetin, which is a natural antihistamine can reduce the severity of the allergy.
- drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses a day) as this will help to break up any mucus and relieve symptoms.
- Be sure to wash clothes that have been worn to the beach or in the garden where you can collect pollen and dust.
Food allergies are a problem, especially when our children are concerned. Although it is becoming known about food allergies every day, yet there is no cure and there are hundreds of deaths each year throughout the Western world from anaphylactic reactions to food. And with all that is known about the prevention of food allergies, peanut allergies in children continue to rise. And too many food labels remain unclear. It is not as easy as it should be to find hidden ingredients in foods that your child might be allergic.
So what can you do? It is not enough simply expect your child to grow out of their allergy. So while there is a better than even chance that your child grows out of an allergic reaction to eggs, the odds are much lower if your allergy is to fish or nuts. And the more severe the allergy, the less likely they are exceeded.
Ultimately, the best cure for food allergy may be prevention. By avoiding high-risk foods, which may even be possible to prevent the constant development of food allergies.
Therefore, if there is a history of allergies in your family, it might be wise to consider the following with their children:
- exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of baby’s life (which means no formula supplements or solid food) and then continue breastfeeding until the child is at least 12 months old.
- Avoid peanuts and tree nuts during lactation. You may also want to consider to avoid eggs, milk and fish cow.
- If you want to supplement your breastfeeding with formula, use a hypoallergenic formula.
- When the baby starts eating solid foods introduced one at a time and watch them after eating. Allergic reactions to foods usually appear within minutes, but sometimes may take several hours to appear. If you suspect an allergy, keep a diary of everything your child eats and any symptoms.
- As the child grows, encourage them to eat a wide variety of whole foods and rotate food choices. It also helps to drink and exercise regularly and minimize the consumption of refined sugar.
- If your child is diagnosed with an allergy, you can help overcome great attention to food packaging. If a list of ingredients is not provided, then call the manufacturer or simply do not use the product.
- Make sure the other parents, teachers and caregivers know what to do in case of a reaction.
Eczema is a growing problem and very close to my own heart issue, given the personal experience and my interest in skin care.
Worldwide, eczema is now three times more common than asthma, and continues to manifest itself in more and more children. For those who are interested, you may want read the complete article on eczema free life but I provide a brief summary of best treatment practices here.
- Whenever possible, I advocate treating eczema naturally, as pharmaceutical drugs are often designed to minimize the symptoms rather than treating the cause. They may also damage the skin in the long term as a result of its action skin thinning and sometimes are based on steroids can disrupt the normal hormonal function.
- Try to find the cause of eczema. Start by examining food and environmental intolerances. Milk and wheat are the most common culprits when it comes to the disease.
- increase the intake of vitamin C, as well as foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (eg. The cold water fish, flaxseed and walnuts).
- A good multi-vitamin antioxidant rich in vitamins A and E can help, as the consumption of quercetin, found in garlic, as well as cherries, onions and broccoli.
- uses a natural topical application. I recommend either Organic Skin Co Calendula Cream and / or Mother and Baby Balm encourage our range in this regard.
- Minimize asthma attacks by avoiding exposure to environmental triggers.
Finally, as a general approach to guard all allergies, I recommend taking probiotics. Our immune system is found predominantly in the intestine and probiotics can help maintain this strong and vital system. For this reason, a high-quality probiotic supplement can be an important tool for keeping you and your family allergy free tool.
Allergies are a growing, ever-present problem in our society. It’s a good idea to plan and adopt best practices to prevent them. But when they occur, make sure that you are armed to deal with them. I hope that, somehow, this article can help you do just that.
Megan Douglas is a fifth generation herbalist and naturopath skilled who passionately believes a natural holistic life style can change our lives for the better. As part of a family with four generations of naturopaths and herbalists, Megan exploit this accumulated knowledge and retrained as a herbalist and naturopath. Armed with the skills to develop solutions for healthy skin care, Megan set World Organics in 2011, proudly providing the next generation of skin care and organic makeup.