Don't Assume That Runny Nose Is A Cold...
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Food Allergies: Why They're So Common Today + What You Can Do

Growing up, I don’t remember my friends and classmates having food allergies. In fact, there was one kid in my entire elementary school with a peanut allergy — it was so unusual we all knew who he  Read

About this time of year, I often hear the phrase, “Something must be going around,” explaining away the itchy sore throat, fatigue, and headaches that many people are experiencing. The possibility of having an allergic reaction often doesn't enter the minds of those who didn't have problems with allergies in their younger years.

However, if you have a habit of getting sick at the onset of a new season, it's most likely an allergy. Pollens, grasses, shrubs, and trees are all in bloom in the spring and are the cause of allergy flare-ups at that time. Ragweed, molds, smuts, and some flowers are responsible for symptoms in the fall. Even those who have never had previous experience with allergies are vulnerable.

There are many reasons why you may develop late-onset seasonal allergies. During periods of significant stress, our bodies and immune systems don't function optimally. Vitamin C is used by the adrenal glands in the production of all of the adrenal hormones, most notably cortisol. When you're faced with a stressful situation, your vitamin C is rapidly used up in the production of cortisol and related stress-response hormones. Since vitamin C is also very important for our immune function, our bodies are less likely to ward off invaders. When the acute stress subsides, our immune systems are free to utilize the vitamin C, and often go overboard in their attempt to play catch-up. That's when you see symptoms like a runny nose, post-nasal drip, and cough. They are the body’s way of expelling foreign bodies.

Because many of our defense mechanisms are in our gut, or gastrointestinal tract, people often exhibit GI disturbance as another sign of allergic response to both environmental allergens and foods. If we're exposed to high mold levels, high pollen count, or the same foods over and over again, over time our gut's immune component starts to become impacted. This can also lead to symptoms of depression, as 90% of our serotonin stores are found in our GI system. It's very important to desensitize our systems to potential allergens that we encounter, whether they're common or rare. We must also repair both our gut lining and adrenal function in order to prevent further deterioration.

Many allergists use antigen therapy based on lab testing or skin prick testing which is administered as a shot. But it's difficult to determine to what degree your body is reacting to something, so those with a mild allergy who wish to be desensitized are given the same substance as those with a severe allergy. This can lead to major reactions in those with severe sensitivity. It is very important to tailor allergy testing and treatment to each individual. Using electrodermal screening, it's possible to evaluate to what level someone is sensitive. Then a remedy specific for that level can be given orally. This is ideal for people with hyper-reactive immune systems, younger and older people, and those who have a phobia of needles.

While the patient is being desensitized, we can work on optimizing their adrenal function. The ultimate outcome is allergy elimination or reduction, more energy, and better immune function.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Dr. Autumn Frandsen N.D. is a Naturopathic Physician at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, serving Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Her philosophy is to use the least invasive and effective method to bring balance back to the body and restore health, while educating the patient on how to maintain it. Her areas of focus include Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities, Anti-Aging, Cancer Co-Management, Dermatology, Heavy Metal Detoxification, Hepatic Dysfunction, Immune Dysfunction, Insomnia and Men’s Health.

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