10 Best Kept Secrets of Allergies

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on June 25, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Blog

These days it seems that allergies of all kinds are becoming more and more common in America. However, here are 10 facts that you should know about allergies:

1. Black Eye Syndrome.

As odd as it sounds, some allergies have the potential of giving you a shiner. This happens during a bout of hay fever when pressure from nasal congestion can be so intense that it can cause the blood vessels in the face to become constricted. This prevents the blood from flowing freely and it may start to accumulate under the eyes. When blood begins to drain down towards the heart it has a bluish tint, which, when trapped, causes the appearance of an allergic black eye.

2. Any bodily organ can be affected by allergies.

Most hay fever sufferers know that their allergy will cause them to have dry, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sore, itchy throat. Sometimes their skin will break out into hives or they will feel their intestines cramp. For other allergy sufferers, their respiratory systems are attacked and asthma is induced. In rare cases, an allergy cell called the eosinophil actually attacks the esophagus and heart.

3. It is not the pet hair, it’s the pet dander.

The particles of pet dander, which is simply a pet’s dead skin, as well as their saliva and urine, become trapped in their hair. The pet’s hair then becomes airborne where it is inhaled or contact with your skin occurs and allergic reaction takes place.

4. Peanut allergies are not clearly understood.

People who have developed peanut allergies in the USA have doubled over the past 10 years and affects nearly 2% of the country’s population. One theory as to why this is is because most peanut products are manufactured by dry roasting. Other countries that do not dry roast their peanuts have a lower peanut allergy ratio.

5. Food Allergies attack African-American boys more than the rest of the country’s population.

A study of 8,200 participants conducted in March 2009 demonstrated that food allergies are highest among African-Americans, males and children. African-American boys are therefore four times more likely than other children to develop a food allergy.

6. Food allergies stem from 8 sources.

Nearly 90% of all food allergies are a result of peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, fish, shellfish, and wheat. Some of these allergies are more prominent amongst children whilst others can trigger lifelong allergic reactions.

7. Weight may affect the severity of an allergic reaction.

For years there has been controversy surrounding the possibility that allergies are more prone to attack overweight and obese people. Allergies to foods can even contribute to obesity. The Diabetes medical journal published a study in 2007 that found that a diet that was high in sugar, high in fat, but low in fiber, actually caused inflammation (which is an immune response). This resulted in an increase in the body’s insulin resistance and triggers the body to store more fat.

8. Your jewelry may be an allergy instigator.

The biggest cause of dermatitis (allergic reaction that is seen on the skin) is often caused by nickel. This is often seen after your skin has come into contact with bracelets, earrings, or pendants, that all have a high nickel content. Other secret places where nickel hides are detergent, buttons, zippers, nail polish and commercially produced make up.

9. There is no such thing as an alcohol allergy.

People who have some sort of reaction when they drink alcohol are actually allergic to the other ingredients, such as wheat or a preservative, which is found in the alcohol. These can all cause a person to break out in a rash on their face and chest. However, most people actually have an intolerance to alcohol rather than allergy to an ingredient in the alcohol. This simply means that they are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than other people.

10. Where you live can affect what allergies you have.

In 2008 the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released a report listing which cities across the US have the highest pollen scores and therefore the highest allergy risks. Factors that were taken into consideration include pollen scores, the per capita number of allergy medications used as well as the per capita number of allergy specialists.

To find out if your city made this list you can visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website.

Photo Credit: Dan4th
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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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