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Allergies Articles, Tips and Information

What are Allergies?

Considered as one of the major disabling illnesses, allergies afflict more than 40 million people in the in United States alone. As you know, our immune system protects our body from all types of foreign substances and dangerous microorganisms, called antigens, like viruses, bacteria etc. It does this by producing a counter chemical called an antibody, which fights these antigens. The antibodies bind themselves to the antigens, which sets off a reaction. This reaction between antibody and antigen ignites a series of events, all designed to protect the body from infections.

The immune system is programmed to ignore harmless substances like food, pollen etc.

However, sometimes it mistakes these innocuous substances for harmful invaders and attacks them like it would an antigen, by releasing powerful chemicals like histamines, to destroy them. What happens is that when the body is exposed to an allergen, it launches its counter offensive attack by releasing an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) through its mast cells. The mast cells are a distinctive sets of cells of the immune system located in areas where the body comes into contact with the outside world , like the mucous membranes of the eyes and other areas, and the linings of the respiratory and digestive systems. Their function is to guard the body from outside influences.


When IgE encounters allergens, it triggers off the release of the chemical histamine, from the mast cells. When the histamine binds it self to the surrounding cells, through histamine receptors, the neighboring cells become leaky, causing fluid collection, redness and swelling, all of which are symptoms of an allergic reaction. Histamines also trigger off pain receptors which cause itchiness in the eyes, nose and throat, all symptoms of allergic rhinitis.


An allergy then is a condition in which the body attacks harmless substances like dust, pollen, food etc and releases antibodies to subdue them. It is the release of histamines that produces the disagreeable symptoms that are associated with allergies. Allergic reactions are, most often, instantaneous, for e.g. one may break out into a rash, or develop a sneezing fit. People who are allergic to one substance will often find that they are sensitive to a number of other substances.


These offending agents, called allergens, range from dust, pollen, mold, mildew, food, rubber, insect stings and even medicines. Common food allergens include peanuts, fish, eggs and milk. An allergy is one of the most common causes for asthma. An allergy can cause the irritation, swelling and inflammation of the air passages, which causes asthma.


Studies estimate that over 20 percent of Americans suffer from some type of allergy, making allergies a principal source of chronic disease in the country.


Jack Smith writes about various topics. This article is free to re-print as long as nothing is changed, all links remained intact, the bio remains in full and the rel="nofollow" tag is not added to any of the links. Thank-you - Please visit and


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Allergies are caused by allergens which contain protein, which is found in all living organisms, and it is this protein which causes allergies. If your body reacts to a substance in an adverse way then you are said to be allergic to that substance.


Four of the most common allergies are; dust mites, nuts, pollen and animal (pet).


An allergic reaction happens when you come in contact with an allergen through your skin, the lining of your lungs, mouth, gullet, stomach or intestines. Allergic reactions can cause a range of symptoms, some mild, some serious and very occasionally fatal.

If the allergen is airborne then the allergic reaction will occur in the eyes, nose & lungs. If the allergen is swallowed, the allergic reaction will occur in the mouth, stomach & intestines. When in contact with an allergen your body produces chemicals (antibodies) to fight off the allergen. Sometimes enough chemicals are released to cause a reaction throughout the body such as hives, decreased blood pressure, shock or loss of consciousness. This severe type of reaction is known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock which may be life threatening.


The best & easiest way to prevent allergies is to avoid contact with the allergen – the substance which triggers your allergy. There are many OTC (over the counter) treatment for allergies the most common being:


Antihistamines; These treat allergies by blocking the action of the chemical histamine, which is a chemical released by the body when in contact with the allergen. Antihistamines can be taken in pill, cream or liquid form. You can also take eye or nasal drops.

Decongestants; Relieve symptoms of allergies such as blocked noses, often caused by hay fever, dust & pet allergies. They can be taken as pills, capsules, liquid form or nasal spray.


Nasal Sprays & Eye drops; these help relieve symptoms of allergies such as sore itchy eyes & irritation & swelling of the nose. Some treatments are only suitable for adults so check before purchasing remedies for children.


John Mac is author & owner of a website aimed at providing help & information for people looking to improve their fitness, diet & health & for information about allergies


Choosing Pets for Kids with Allergies

I love dogs. My partner loves dogs. My kids love dogs. Trouble is, dogs don’t love my kids – at least not when it comes to allergies. So if you’ve set your heart on getting a dog, but you or your family have allergy problems is there anything you can do about it?


In the US 20% of adults and children suffer from allergies. In the UK approx 1 in 4 people suffer from allergies at some point in their lives. In Australia there has been a dramatic increase in allergies recently with an estimated 40% now suffering from some form of allergy.


Well, you can start by looking at breeds that are supposedly better for allergy sufferers. Wheaten Terriers, Beagles, Portuguese Water Dogs are some of the most popular. Or the new “hybrid” breeds – Labradoodles, Spoodles and the like.


The problem is that even then, nothing is guaranteed. We went as far as going to a rescue centre, carefully choosing the right kind of dog after several visits, starting to sign on the dotted line, when suddenly our elder daughter began reacting. She became itchy, her face swelled up – and there were of course buckets of tears when we realised that we couldn’t take the dog after all.


The thing is, it’s not just a dog’s coat that’s the problem. It’s also the saliva. So you have to worry about a dog licking you as well as stroking it. No displays of affection, in other words. Which rather negates a lot of the point of getting a dog in the first place.


So is all lost when it comes to dogs? Not necessarily. We had both our girls tested for allergies and both were confirmed as allergic to dogs. But these things can change over time. People can both develop and lose allergies over time, seemingly for no rhyme or reason. Ditto asthma and eczema - they’re all related.


I had asthma as a kid, but none now. I never had eczema as a child, but in my late twenties and thirties I got it quite badly. Now, in my early forties, I no longer suffer from it. My elder daughter used to have a latex allergy. Not now. She now swells up if she eats chicken. She never used to. My partner had bad hay fever all her life – until a couple of years ago. And so on.


It can be the same with pet allergies. If you’re not sure, get you or your family tested. Then try testing again in a few years time. There are also things you can do to lessen the impact of allergies, such as washing the dog frequently. But that’s only worthwhile if the dog is already there – it’s not a great idea to introduce a new dog to an allergic household on that basis. Besides, the dog is unlikely to be too keen on being bathed. And however often you clean or groom it, there’s no such thing as an allergen free dog.


Incidentally, both our kids came out in the tests as allergic to cats. This we already knew about, and was less of an issue, as we’d all prefer to get a dog. Cat allergies tend to be more common, and often more severe as well. And also, many experts say, less likely to go away over time. So bad luck if cats are your bag – it’s not a good idea to introduce a cat to a home with allergic kids.


While we’re hoping our kids’ dog allergies will improve over time, we still wanted to get a pet. But practically all pets can set off allergies – rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, all of them. So always expose all members of your household to them before taking them home, just in case. Snakes and lizards are ok – but plenty of people aren’t too happy with the concept of a snake or lizard in the house.

Then there are goldfish. Goldfish you’re pretty safe with. But goldfish you’ll probably get pretty bored with too. They’re not easy to take for walks for one thing.


In the end, we settled on hamsters. The kids had already handled the school hamster without any problems, so we knew we were on safe ground. So now we’re the proud owners of three girl hamsters. (I do, do hope they are all females – three is more than enough.)

One day we may be able to get a dog. But right now, we’re happy, the kids are happy, and their allergies aren’t being set off all the time by their pets. And that’s the main thing.


As well as supporting one partner, two kids and three hamsters, Peter Wise is a freelance copywriter, website copywriter and SEO copywriter based in London, UK. He also writes direct mail, brochures, newsletter articles and press releases. If you’re looking for a freelance copywriter, please call +44 (0) 7767 687524 or visit


Milk Allergies in Children


If you think you are doing yourself and your infant a favor by feeding them formula, think again! Medical experts are starting to come out and speak out against dairy for infants. Babies need mother’s milk not cow’s milk! After all, you are raising a baby, not a calf. The following excerpts support the truth that cow’s milk is unfit for human consumption.


In the Townsend Medical Letter dated May 1995, Julie Klotter, M.D. writes:


"In reality, cow's milk, especially processed cow's milk, has been linked to a variety of health problems, including: mucous production, hemoglobin loss, childhood diabetes, heart disease, atherosclerosis, arthritis, kidney stones, mood swings, depression, irritability, ALLERGIES."


And Nathaniel Mead, M.D. wrote in Natural Health in July 1994:


"At least 50% of all children in the United States are allergic to cow's milk, many undiagnosed. Dairy products are the leading cause of food allergy, often revealed by diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue. Many cases of asthma and sinus infections are reported to be relieved and even eliminated by cutting out dairy."


In August 1994 in the report, "A Prospective Study of Humoral Immune Response to Cow Milk Antigens in the First Year of Life" in Pediatric-Allergy-Immunology, the following statement is written:


"Formula-fed babies, at the age of three months, were secreting low levels of serum antibodies to bovine proteins contained in their formula."


In the same periodical in the same month, the article titled "Epidemiological and Immunological Aspects of Cow's Milk Protein ALLERGY and Intolerance in Infancy” states:


"Most formula fed infants developed symptoms of ALLERGIC rejection to cow milk proteins before one month of age. About 50-70% experienced rashes or other skin symptoms, 50-60 percent gastrointestinal symptoms, and 20-30 percent respiratory symptoms. The recommended therapy is to avoid cow's milk."


So, by eliminating dairy products in the diet of an infant can prevent many allergies for these children. Dairy at a young age could be the trigger for allergies later in life. Humans are not meant to digest cow’s milk and these studies bear that out.


Dean Novosat writes about health and nutrition. He has two websites and


Inhalant Allergies in Dogs and Cats


The objects in the environment that cause this type of allergies are called allergens. Some examples of these allergens are the following:


· Pollen from the surrounding flowering plants
· Dusts that have accumulated in several areas in the house
· Mites and similar tiny creatures that survive and live on dust
· Molds, fungi, and other similar low forms of plants. The spores from these can be inhaled by the pets


The pets, upon exposure to the above allergens will show several symptoms. Among dogs, the major symptoms are:


· Unstoppable itching in the face and in the feet
· Other itching and irritation in several parts of the body
· Occurrence of sores and discharges
· Loss of hair


Among cats, the symptoms of inhalant allergies are:


· Unspecific itching
· Intolerable itching in the face, neck, and thighs
· Inflammation and sores in different parts of the body
· Loss of hair


When the above symptoms are displayed, especially on certain seasons, such as spring and summer, the dog or cat is most likely affected by a pollen allergy. To accurately determine the occurrence of inhalant allergies, the pet should be taken to the vet. The vet will carry out a skin test to find out if, indeed, the dog or cat is suffering from an inhalant allergies. Some vets also conduct blood tests, but the results of this type of test are often times uncertain.


The best treatment is prevention or further worsening of the allergy. That is, the source of the allergens should be removed. Sometimes, this is easy if the allergens are the dusts and the mites that live in them. A good cleaning is all that a pet owner needs to do. But sometimes, removing the allergen could be difficult. That is, taking away the flowering plant may not be feasible.


Thus, owners resort to other treatments. Two of these allergy treatments are:


· Anti-itch medicines – These medicines suppresses the production of histamines. These can be taken orally or gently rubbed on the irritated area.

· Allergy shots – These can make the pets less sensitive to the presence of allergens. Vets can provide these allergy shots.


Not all cats and dogs suffer allergies when exposed to pollen and other inhaled allergens. The reason for this is their heredity. While other pets have genetic characteristics that predisposes them to have allergies.


Peter Garant's pet medicine concentrates on cat and dog medicine

Eliminate Your Allergies Naturally

Millions of dollars are spent each year fighting allergies. Doctors’ office visits, over-the-counter remedies, prescription drugs, painful injections, and lost time-off from work are all affecting millions of people each year. But there may be a simple curre to eliminating allergies that cost nothing! Yes, the cure may be free!


In July 1994, Dr. Nathaniel Mead, M.D. wrote in Natural Health:


"At least 50% of all children in the United States are allergic to cow's milk, many undiagnosed. Dairy products are the leading cause of food allergy...Many cases of asthma and sinus infections are reported to be relieved and even eliminated by cutting out dairy."


A simple cure to eliminate allergies is to simply eliminate all dairy! This includes the obvious milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream, but also includes one of the toughest dairy habits to break: ice cream! One dairy product that you have to be diligent to eliminate would be casein. Casein is the predominant phosphoprotein found in fresh milk. In addition to being consumed in milk, casein is used in the manufacture of adhesives, binders, protective coatings, plastics (such as for knife handles and knitting needles), fabrics, food additives and many other products. It’s not wonder that this protein can cause havoc in our bodies! It is not only used as a thickener in other foods, it is also used to make adhesives and plastics. Just think what those milk proteins are doing in our bodies.


Sharper Image Ionic Breeze GP is a good home air purifier having a germicidal UV lamp. Ultraviolet radiation is capable of combating many pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. It’s quiet and quite effective in air purification, with a 5-year warranty. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America awarded it with a Consumer Product seal as its "proven to reduce airborne allergens and irritants including dust mite allergen, pet dander and cigarette smoke".


And Dr. Mead is not alone in the belief that dairy products are the root cause of allergies in people. Dr. Julie Klotter, MD wrote in the Townsend Medical Letter in May 1995:


"In reality, cow's milk, especially processed cow's milk, has been linked to a variety of health problems, including: mucous production...and allergies."


And lastly, the Israel Journal of Medical Sciences 1983; 19(9):806-809 reports:


"Dairy products may play a major role in the development of allergies, asthma, sleep difficulties, and migraine headaches."


So this Spring, when the grasses and trees all start to bloom, instead of reaching for those antihistamines, decongestants, and other more-powerful and dangerous drugs, try this simple cure: eliminate all dairy for 30 days. Thirty days may seem like an eternity when it comes to the magnetic draw of cheese or ice cream, but imagine thirty days of clear breathing, restful sleep, and higher energy levels.


Dean Novosat writes about health and nutrition. He has two websites and

An Air Purifier May Keep the Allergies Away

Air purifiers convert dirty air into fresh and clean air, and also free the air from pollutants and contaminants. They are very beneficial for people suffering from allergies and can help alleviate asthma. Allergy inducing particles within the air may come as dust, pollen, pet dander or mold spores.


There are numerous air purifier brands and manufacturers worldwide. It becomes too tough for a customer to pick the air purifier of one’s choice from the huge range available.


The best idea is to do some research online. Thanks to the online reviewers, there are some good air purifier comparisons and reviews on the Internet.


A decent air purifier review will honestly depict the pros and cons of a specific air purifier. Therefore, going through numerous air purifier reviews will help you make a good decision before buying an air purifier.


There are a large number of air purifiers including Oreck Super Air 8, Sharper Image Ionic Breeze GP, Friedrich C-90A, Sharper Image Ionic Breeze Quadra, Blueair 601, Bionaire BAP1300 Quietech HEPA, Honeywell HEPA 50250, Hunter Quietflo 30400, Vornado AQ535, Hunter HEPAtech 30375 etc.


Oreck Super Air 8 is a good quiet machine, quite effective at clearing the air of a number of pollutants, allergens, and irritants. It’s efficient, covers a large area and quite inexpensive having a strong warranty.


Friedrich C-90A is good, efficient but a little noisy and bit costly also. Sharper Image Ionic Breeze Quadra is also good at removing pollutants and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America also awarded it with a Consumer Product seal.


Blueair 601 using activated carbon technology is particularly effective in removing odors and gases. It’s considerably cheap with 10 Year Overall Warranty.


Bionaire BAP1300 Quietech HEPA is a powerful air purifier, a bit noisy and requires a regular filter change. It has a 5-year warranty.

Honeywell HEPA 50250 is good and effective in small rooms. Its price line is good with a 5-year warranty. Hunter HEPAtech 30375 is a good device having an ionizer that can be controlled independently.


Recently, there has been a controversy that ionizing air purifiers produce ozone (O3 poisonous allotrope of oxygen) that can worsen asthma and decrease lung function. Some critics feel that air purifiers are over hyped devices that can’t completely clean the air and protect against secondhand smoke.


Paul MacIver writes articles on a variety of health topics. For further info on the health benefits of air purifiers visit the Air Purifiers website. Ultimate Air Purifiers is the sister site of Dehumidifiers You may freely reprint this article as long as this resource box is included, and links are intact.


Here are some related articles on allergies


Managing Skin Allergies - Odds are good that you know someone who suffers from food allergies – possibly a mild aversion to nuts, dairy, eggs, fish or some other food. You may even know someone who suffers from extreme allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, and must carry an epinephrine injector with them at all times in case of such a reaction.


Mold Spores - Allergies are prevalent these days, not only in children but in adults as well. In fact, according to the FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) the prevalence of allergic reactions to peanuts has doubled over a period of five years.


Allergic Reactions - Allergy rates are on the increase especially in Western countries (compared to people in less affluent rural parts of the world) and there is a growing body of evidence that strongly suggests that asthma is an environmentally induced disease.


Acne Psoriasis Allergies - We see stories in the news, magazines, and on TV everyday telling us about some of the horrific allergies that result from eating certain types of food. One such food targeted by these stories is wheat. However, while there is indeed such a thing as wheat allergy, this is not a license for you to skip wheat all together when you find yourself showing even the remotest signs of an allergy.

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