These mysterious rashes that patients want help with are a real diagnostic challenge. Usually the visit begins with “I’ve been to dermatologists about this and all I get are steroids. Once I’m done taking them the rash comes right back.” In previous health tips, we reported on a young man who developed a very real […]
Category: Allergies & Food Sensitivities
Integrative Fixes for Allergy Miseries
Last week we talked about a blood test for allergies. This week a few integrative approaches for treating them, but first a quick review of conventional treatments: Antihistamines (Claritin, Zyrtec, and many others) block the effects of histamine, the chemical released by disrupted mast cells when whatever you’re allergic to (ragweed, cat dander) lands on […]
Sneezy, Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy (Doc)
Well into my teenage years, every summer I’d get so throttled by allergies that I became consolidated into 4/7ths of Snow White’s dwarves. Some years later, after my allergies had temporarily eased up, I would add a fifth: Doc.
Food Sensitivity Elimination Diet
Purpose: To identify hidden food allergens that may be causing some or all of your symptoms. During the elimination period, all common allergens are completely eliminated from the diet for two to three weeks. After your symptoms improve, foods are added back one at a time to determine which foods provoke symptoms.
For years doctors were taught in medical school that gluten sensitivity and its severest form, celiac disease, were rare, identified mainly in children who were unable to absorb food. In photographs, youngsters with celiac disease looked like starving children because in fact they were starving, for nutrients. Once the diagnosis had been made and they’d been taken off all gluten grains–wheat, barley, rye, oats, kamut, and triticale–they rapidly regained weight and lived normal lives.
In my town, doctors refer to it as the “Denver drip,” but of course the “Chicago crud” or “Manhattan mucus” serve just as well. In fact, that decidedly unpleasant, back-of-the-throat, thick-as-molasses post nasal drainage is simply your sinuses, endlessly trying to empty themselves. What with clogged heads, tickly coughs, constant nose blowing, and voices perpetually needing a “harrumph!” to clear them, it’s little wonder that sinus sufferers are willing to undergo repeated surgeries for temporary relief. Or borrow somebody’s old antibiotics. Or fantasize about plunging a Craftsman power drill up their nostrils.
Your immune system, designed to protect you when bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances enter your body, sometimes seems to get confused. It becomes unable to differentiate an enemy from something harmless, like pollen, dust, certain foods, drugs, cosmetics, animals…the list is enormous. The result is an allergic reaction in your body, an allergy for short, with some fairly predictable symptoms ranging from the mildly annoying to the genuinely life threatening. Although conventional medicine provides many ways to deal with allergies, some of the therapies (like allergy shots) are inconvenient and expensive, while others (like antihistamines) cause unpleasant side effects. Our WholeHealth Chicago integrated approach just might allow you to control your allergies all by yourself.
Q&A: How do Congestion and Runny Nose Coexist in Allergies?
Q: How can a single allergy medicine work to relieve runny nose and congestion…two opposite conditions?
It’s Allergy Season…
…and this year is a bad one. Patients have been contacting me with all sorts of the usual hay fever type symptoms: watery eyes, runny noses, sneezing, coughing. My own allergies progressed to asthma and I was compelled to rummage around for an inhaler to use for a few days this month. (It’s probably not the smartest move to use an old dust-covered asthma inhaler, but that old saying that doctors make terrible patients is often true.)