Cold Allergy, Allergy, and Cold. What Makes Them Different?

100_6641It seems that many people in the world are affected by cold and allergy. During the mornings or evenings, you tend to have sneezing along with a blocked nose. You may not know whether you are suffering from an ordinary cold or from an allergy. This is when you need to differentiate between a common cold and an allergy. The symptoms can be very similar, but they are completely different afflictions, so their treatments are also different.

Symptoms and treatments 

Common symptoms might include cough, fatigue, sneezing, sore throat, running nose, stuffy nose. Usually aches, pain, fever, and thick yellow/greenish nasal discharge aren’t an indication of allergies just as itchy eyes don’t indicate a cold.

· Colds are caused by viruses. Their treatments are usually rest, pain relievers, decongestants, over-the-counter medications.

· Allergies are immune system responses triggered by one or more specific allergen. The best things you can do is to avoid the exposure to allergens if possible.  Treatments of  seasonal allergies are antihistamines (prescription or over-the-counter), decongestants, nasal steroid sprays.

What is cold allergy ?

Cold allergy, Cold Urticaria or cold hives is an allergy. This kind of allergy affects the skin, causing hives (urticaria) or red welts to form on the skin due to the exposure to a cold stimulus. The hives are usually itchy. Most often they show up on the hands and feet where they can cause swelling as well. When hives form, the fluid from the capillaries flows out into the surrounding tissues causing them to swell up. Hives come in different sizes. If the disease becomes chronic the hives can last for weeks. The Cold Urticaria can be inherited or caught.

What are the symptoms of Cold Urticaria?

When the body is exposed to the cold, hives occur on the skin on the affected area. Hives usually last from a few minutes to a few days. You usually get an irritating, burning sensation through your skin as if bees are stinging you. Severe reaction, when the hives form very fast, usually within less than 3 minutes of exposure, can be life-threatening (anaphylactic shock).

How to diagnose Cold allergy?

The allergist performs a cold test. During the procedure a piece of ice is held against the forearm usually for 2-3 minutes. The result is positive if red hives are raised on the contacted area.

How to Treat Cold Hives

The most important treatment is to stay warm. To control the condition, you should avoid exposure to cold temperatures or warm up immediately after the exposure. Hot water on the affected area or a warmer environment does not improve the condition, but helps prevent it from worsening. If the hives already formed, the warming up afterwards may cause the hives to go away faster.

According to some home remedies some vegetable shortening or butter applied on the affected area may reduce the risk of eruption of the hives. Good idea here would be to reduce the inflammation in your body. Usually, the doctors prescribe Antihistamines. Topical antihistamine creams may also provide some temporary relief.

Some studies suggest that Cold Urticaria has been linked to a gluten intolerance and gluten free diets have helped some Cold Urticaria sufferers. Hives formation is also assumed to be due to food allergies, asthma, environmental changes, and eczema.

The causes of hives are still under investigation.

What You Need to Know About Anaphylaxis

English: At sea aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt ...

Anaphylaxis is considered as the worst type of allergic reaction. If anaphylaxis isn’t treated right away, it can lead to unconsciousness or even death. Allergic reaction is when the immune system mistakenly responds to an allergen and creates an immune response against it. The immune system recognize the allergen as a foreign substance and the body produces antibodies, and release histamine which is responsible for the allergic symptoms.

What is Anaphylaxis?

This condition is a generalized allergic reaction that usually involves two or more body systems such as respiratory, skin, cardiovascular, gastro-intestinal, and central nervous systems.   In most cases, anaphylaxis develops quickly and can take only one to two minutes for a mild allergic reaction to escalate to anaphylaxis. Symptoms: The blood pressure drops suddenly, the airways narrow, blocking the normal breathing. Rapid, weak pulse, skin rash, nausea, and vomiting.

Facts About the Reported Cases for Anaphylaxis

The incidence of anaphylaxis is approximately 50 to 2,000 per 100,000 persons per year. Rates appear to be increasing. The incidence in 1980’s was approximately 20 per 100,000 per year, while in the 1990’s it was 50 per 100,000 per year.

Anaphylaxis causes approximately 1500 deaths in the U.S. annually. A majority of anaphylaxis victims have pre-existing allergies. The risk is higher in young people and females. The food-included anaphylaxis showed the highest increase. The cause of anaphylaxis is unidentified in one-third to two-thirds of patients.

Importance of Carrying and Using Epinephrine

Studies of fatal anaphylactic reactions to food have found that most of the episodes occurred away from home, and most of the victims did not have epinephrine with them. Usually the faster the onset of an anaphylactic reaction, the greater the likelihood that it will be severe.

What are the different Causes of Anaphylaxis?

There are several factors that can trigger this life-threatening condition. The following are the various causes of anaphylaxis:

  • Food  –  Eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. They are milk, peanut, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. The fact is that almost any kinds of food can trigger the condition to occur. It is necessary to remember that even a small amount or even the smell of these foods could make you suffer from this condition. Approximately 12 million Americans have food allergies. An estimated 150 people die annually from anaphylaxis due to food allergy. Peanut and/or tree nut (e.g. Walnut) allergy affects about three million Americans, or 1.1% of the population.
  • Insect stings and bites – Wasp, bee, and jack jumper ant stings are also known to be the most common causes of anaphylaxis. Other insects like green ants, fire ants and ticks could also trigger this harmful condition. After the first stings, your body produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). If stung again, the venom interacts with this specific IgE antibody, triggering the release of substances that cause an allergic reaction. An estimated 5% of the U.S. population ( 15 million Americans)are allergic to insect venom. There are at least 40 deaths per year due to the venom.
  • Drugs – There are some medicines that can trigger anaphylaxis.  The most common drug associated with allergies is penicillin. Other drugs commonly found to cause reactions include insulin, barbiturates, sulfa drugs, anticonvulsants, iodine (Contrast agents for radiology procedures often contain iodine).  0.7 to 10% , as many as 30 million people are allergic to penicillin. There are about 400 deaths due to penicillin anaphylaxis yearly.
  • Other substances, chemicals:  Latex. Up to 3 to 18 million people are allergic to latex in the U.S. There are about 220 cases of anaphylaxis and 3 deaths per year due to latex allergy.

What to Do if You Have Anaphylaxis?

If you or one of your loved ones is suffering from this condition, it is a must to go to the nearest hospital immediately to prevent complications. There are different medicines that can treat this condition:

  • Epinephrine: This is the most common drug that is given to patients with anaphylaxis. This medicine is offered in the form of self-injectable devices which you can buy upon receiving the prescription of your doctor.
  • Antihistamine and steroids are also used to alleviate the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis.

What to Do to Prevent Anaphylaxis?

If you suffered from the particular condition before, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) suggests the following to lower your risk for anaphylaxis:

  • You should wear your medical bracelet with a list of triggers.
  • Avoid those things that can cause allergic reaction.
  • Find out what you can do if you come in contact with causative factors. Call your physician to learn what you should do to prevent an allergic reaction.
  • Teach your loved ones how they can help you if you have this condition.

What is Medical Bracelet?

It’s commonly said that a medical alert bracelet speaks for you when you are unable to speak for yourself.
Medical ID bracelets are designed to provide with information about your specific medical or allergic condition, or medication you’re taking in the event of an emergency at the point in time when they’re about to administer emergency treatment. It’s recommended  by some medical personnel that everyone with a severe allergy or medical  condition should wear a medical bracelet.

If you experience severe symptoms, call your doctor or 911 immediately, or go to the nearest emergency room.

Always remember that it is better to prevent a disease instead of curing it.

Are You Aware of Latex Allergy ?

Extraction of latex from a tree, for use in ru...

                                              

In a latex allergy, the immune system identifies latex as a harmful substance. Latex, also known as rubber or natural latex is derived from the milky fluid of the rubber tree, found in Africa and Southeast Asia. The latex original role is in the tree to heal the cuts in the surface of the plant.

Latex, after extracted is treated with ammonia which is a basic ingredient in making gloves, condoms, rubber bands, balloons, erasers and toys.

In anEnglish: Photomodel MissLatex wearing rubber /...other method, the acid-coagulated latex is used as crumb rubber and to form dry sheets. The latex is “vulcanized” by adding sulfur at extremely high temperature for a prolonged time to get low-to-undetectable levels of allergenic proteins. These are called the non-allergenic products.

Latex allergy may cause an allergic reactions ranging from sneezing or a runny nose to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition. The problem is not with the rubber itself, but a contaminating protein in the rubber. Your doctor may determine if you have a latex allergy or if  you are  at risk of developing a latex allergy.

There are three types of latex allergy reactions:

  • Irritant contact dermatitis      (non-allergen contact dermatitis) It is a non-allergic hypersensitivity and it is the most common clinical reaction to latex products.  Repeated exposure of this allergen often leads to latex allergy.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis: A delayed reaction to additives used in latex processing. The reactions are similar to contact dermatitis      (dryness, itching, burning, scaling, and lesions of the skin) but they are more severe and tend to spread to more parts of the body, and lasts      longer.
  • Latex Protein Allergy (latex hypersensitivity) is an immediate allergic reaction. This is the most serious reaction to latex. Symptoms can show up as urticaria, hay fiver,      rhinitis. This allergic reactions to latex sometimes may progress  life-threatening conditions such as low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, tremors, chest pain, anaphylactic shock.  If left untreated, these conditions could potentially result in death.

LatEnglish: A PVC-Glove Deutsch: Ein Latexhandsch...ex allergy is more prevalent and found in healthcare professionals due to the increased use of latex gloves. Wearing gloves gives the health care professional more immunity and  protects against further  transmission of infectious diseases (such as HIV, Hepatitis B). About 5% to 10% of health care workers have some form of allergy to latex. Rubber gloves are the main source of allergic reactions, although hundreds of these products contain latex:

  • medical devices (gloves, catheters, blood pressure cuffs, tourniquets, bandages)
  • dental items (dams and orthodontic rubber bands)
  • children’s items (toys, bottle nipples, pacifiers and teething toys);
  • clothing (the elastic waistbands in pants and underwear);
  • household items (rugs, bathmats and rubber gloves);
  • personal care items (diapers and condoms);
  • office and school supplies (rubber bands, erasers, paint).

Not all brands or all items contain latex. Check labels carefully or contact the manufacturer for further questions.

People with higher risk for developing latex allergy are:

  • Health care workers and others who frequently wear latex gloves
  • People who have had multiple surgeries, such as children with spina bifida
  • People who are often exposed to natural rubber latex, including rubber industry workers

Latex allergy can exposure to:

  • inhalation of powder particles. Cornstarch is sometimes used on the inside of gloves to make them easier to put on and remove. The cornstarch absorbs latex proteins, but when the gloves are snapped during application or removal, the latex-laden particles fly into the air.
  • absorption through the skin can occur when latex gloves are worn. (by trauma, irritation, or contact dermatitis),
  • absorption through mucous membranes (from condoms, or internal examinations with latex gloves, through eyes, mouth, rectum)
  • direct entry into the body (e.g. during surgical procedure when healthcare professionals wearing latex gloves.

Manufacturers produce two types of products from natural latex sources:

  • Hardened rubber. This type of latex is found in products such as athletic shoes, tires and rubber balls. Hardened rubber doesn’t cause allergies in most people.
  • Dipped latex. There are the stretchy products, such as rubber gloves, balloons and condoms. Most allergic reactions to latex occur with products made of dipped latex because they’re often used directly on the skin.

Other rubber: Rarely, some people who are sensitive to latex also may react to other rubber products, including erasers, rubber toy parts, rubber bands, rubber in medical devices and rubber in the elastic in clothing.

Not all latex products are made from natural sources. Products containing man-made (synthetic) latex, such as latex paint, are unlikely to cause a reaction because they don’t contain the natural substance. Some waterproof sealants may contain natural rubber latex. Be sure to read the label before using them.

What is a cross reaction?

People who have a latex allergy may be allergic to some foods, as well (such as avocados banana, kiwi, chestnut), This is called a cross reaction. When this happens, your body responds with the same allergic symptoms that you would have if you were exposed to latex. Cross reactions differ from one person to another.

How can latex allergy be prevented?

Where possible, latex gloves should be replaced with non-latex gloves, although latex gloves remain the best barrier against infectious organisms.

Latex gloves should be powder free and contain a low protein content.
If you have latex allergy you should avoid direct contact with all products and devices that contain latex. Also avoid food that causes an allergic reaction. Latex allergy problems during dental, medical or surgical procedures can be prevented by warning health care providers about latex allergy before any test or treatment. Latex allergic people can receive medical or dental care in a latex-safe area. Hospitals and clinics that use only low protein latex gloves and non-latex gloves have experienced dramatic declines in new cases of latex allergy.

Sources:

www.AAAAI.org

www.cdc.gov

www.wikipedia.com

Molds – Are They Good or Bad?

Penicilliummandarijntjes

Molds are definitely bad for those who suffer from mold allergies. The presence of molds are often invisible and undetectable. After pollens, molds are the leading cause of airborne allergies, which can recur year-round.

Molds can be found almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors. They are always present in the air and on objects. They grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by producing spores. These spores than move via air currents or they may cling to insects, animals or water.

When cold and dry conditions do not enable growth to take place, molds may remain alive in a dormant state for a long time.

Molds grow from dead or living objects. It is unknown how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps 300,000 or more.

Conidiophores of molds of the genus Aspergillu...Molds are made of microscopic threads or filaments. These threads are called hyphe. A vast collection of hyphe is called a mycelium. Visual inspections (when the colonies large enough for the naked eye) and smell are two important senses to detecting the presence of mold.

Outdoor molds can be found in humid environments, in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Mold can live on soil, plants, rotting wood, or dead leaves and various moist surfaces. Mold cannot grow under the sun’s ultraviolet light.  Outdoor molds usually bothering allergy sufferers from spring to late fall, and mold counts tend to pick in the afternoon (not in the morning like pollens).

Indoors molds can be present where humidity levels are high, such as basements, kitchen, bathrooms, refrigerators, in areas with poor ventilation, moist carpets, and house plants. Most molds need 24-48 hours of moisture to begin to grow. Therefore if a suitable material in your home is wet for more than 24 hours then you run the risk of mold starting to grow.

English: Blue Stilton PDO Cheese, one quarter ...Some molds are beneficial for us. Molds play an important role in certain fermentation process in food production. We eat molds in our cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, wine and beer, mushrooms, vinegar, pickles, dried fruits, foods containing yeast (like bread), pickled and smoked meats and fish, canned juice. Some cheese and sausages (such as salami), use starter cultures in their production, to improve flavor and reduce spoilage during curing.

Red rice yeast is a product of the mold grown on rice, and is common in Asian diets. The yeast contains monacolins, which are known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. We also use mold as antibiotics to cure diseases. Penicillin for example, is derived from the mold Penicillium.

The three mechanism for disease caused by molds are infection, allergy, and toxicity.

The antibiotic penicillin  (from Penicillium)), and several cholesterol-lowering drugs (such as Lovastatin, from Aspergillus terreus) are derived from molds.

Some molds produce mycotoxins. Extended or high exposure of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems, even death. On the other hand low doses of mycotoxins can be beneficial for humans, e.g. Penicillin to fight off infection.

Allergy symptoms caused by mold are watery, itchy eyes, a chronic cough, sinus problems, nasal blockage, frequent sneezing, rashes, conjunctivitis, inability to concentrate, difficulty breathing, fatigue. Symptoms usually disappear when the mold is removed.

Factors contribute to increasing mold counts:

  • Poor housekeeping practice (leaving      dirty dishes, food, cloth and wet towels lying around the house, keeping      trash in the house, and infrequent house cleaning.)
  • Using ceiling fans instead of air      conditions because humidity is not removed from the air. Inefficient      filters used in the heating/cooling system allow dirt to accumulate which      provide “food” for mold.

Preventing moisture from accumulating is the most important principle in mold control for allergy sufferers. The best way to get rid of mold indoors is by keeping room temperatures within 65° – 70°F and the relative humidity level within 45%-65%.

Charcoal and /or baking soda is a good practice to remove the odor of the  mold. Just place bowls of baking soda in the area to absorb odor.

To clean up mold in the house, best chemicals are; Bleach, borax, vinegar, ammonia.

Do You Get Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin "D"

Vitamin “D”

Allergic diseases of almost all types have become much more common over the past few decades. Some experts link allergy diseases to vitamin D deficiency, which is extremely common today. Low levels of vitamin D have also been associated with osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes and cancer.

Vitamin D appears to serves multiple important functions for the immune system. It acts to stimulate the immune system against various infections, may prevent diseases, controls cancer cells groth, regulates the blood pressure hormon, as well as prevent autoimmune diseases.

Recent studies suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in the prevention of various allergic diseases, by activating certain regulatory immune cells that prevent the release of chemicals (such as histamin) which cause and worsen allergic diseases.

Vitamin D is critically important for the maintenance of calcium metabolism. Calcium is required for every cells of our body to function in a healthy way. It is one of the most vital mineral in our body. Calcium is needed for strong bones, it used by nerves and muscles, and it also needs to proper blood clotting.

Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D can be made in our bodies as a result of exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is an important nutrient and hormone. Most of it’s natural sources are animal-based, including oily fish, cod liver oil, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver, mushrooms. For this reason, those, who follow a strict vegetarian diet have to pay more attention to get the recommended levels of the vitamin D over time.

It has been estimated that the body requires daily 3000-5000 IU of vitamin D. Healthy blood level of 25(OH)D is between 80-100 nmol/L. Dietary sources and vitamin D supplements can satisfy this requirements. Multivitamins typically contain 400 IU of vitamin D. Several manufacturers provide 1000 IU.

There can be a wide variation in the vitamin D content of the natural sources (e.g., farmed versus wild salmon). Cooking methods (e.g., frying versus baking) can also deplete the amount of vitamin D in foods. Therefore, most of the vitamin D that we consume comes from fortified foods (in the United States, some dairy products and breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D) and from supplements.

Vitamin D has been linked to immune system and lung development in fetus, and epidemiologic studies show that higher vitamin D intake by pregnant mothers reduces asthma risk by as much as 40% in children 3 to 5 years old. Providing adequate vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy may lead to significant decreases in asthma incidence in young children.

The findings, which are published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggest that increased exposure to sunlight could help to reduce children’s chances of developing food allergies and eczema. The finding suggests new ways to interact with the immune system.

We spend less time in the sun today than in any time before in the history. This is the reason why more than 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency.

Sunlight is the best and only natural source of vitamin D. Unlike dietary or supplementary vitamin D, when you get your ‘D’ from sunshine        your body takes what it needs. Vitamin D experts and many health groups now advocate 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily which is five to ten times the old recommendations.

Nobody really knows for sure how much supplementary vitamin D is safe.

Vitamin D might be best obtained by getting a reasonable amount of sun exposure, such as 15 minutes a day between 10 AM and 3 PM as suggested by some experts. After this limited exposure should you apply a broad sprectum sunscreen.

So get outside and enjoy some sunshine on a regular basis. But like anything else, moderation is key so don’t overdo it.

Related articles

Sources:


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Proposed New Air-Pollution Standards.

The UThe EPA was directed to set standards for radi....S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new standards for fine particulate matter (PM) pollution  to reduce soot in the air we breathe.

The White House recently modified the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to limit soot emissions, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, inviting public comment on a slightly weaker standard than the agency had originally sought.

The EPA had originally wanted to tighten the annual exposure to fine-particle soot from 15 micrograms (µg) per cubic meter of air (this is the current legal limit) to 11 micrograms per cubic meter, but the Office of Management and Budget directed the EPA to make the limit between 12 and 13 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Howard Feldman who directs regulatory and scientific affairs for the American Petroleum Institute told the Los Angeles Times that a more stringent standard would be expensive and be of little benefit.

The 12-13 µg is a less strict standard than many environmentalists wanted. A 2011 report by the American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force, and Earthjustice suggested that A 2011 report by the American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force, and Earthjustice suggested that a limit of 11 µg per cubic meter of air could prevent more than 35,000 premature deaths a year.

The World Health Organization estimates that 3% of all mortalities from cardiopulmonary disease worldwide are due to exposure to fine particles, as are 5% of lung cancer deaths.

Particle pollution, commonly referred to as “soot,” is one of the deadliest forms of air pollution. It is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Fine particles linked to a wide range of human health problems. Once inhaled they pass through the throat and nose , enter the lungs, the bloodstream and other organs, causes serious health effects. They worsen allergy, asthma, and other respiratory diseases.

Fine particles, 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller, can be directly emitted from sources such as forest fires, or from gases emitted from power plants, oil refineries, other heavy industries and automobiles which react in the air.

Cleaning fine PM from the air can help to reduce emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and lost productivity caused by asthma exacerbations.

A new study by a group of researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that curbing ozone could provide greater benefits than previously thought. The team looked at 20 states and the District of Columbia where power plants and boilers are required to limit nitrogen oxide pollution between May 1 and Sept. 30 each year. As a result, these states and the District cut prescription drug expenditures by 1.9 percent, or $900 million a year, and had 2,200 fewer annual premature deaths among individuals aged 75 or older, within the studied period from 2003 to 2008.

Particulate matter

standards are important to protecting the public’s health and current standards are inadequate.

AAFA urge everyone — especially those whose health is more likely to be compromised by pollution — to let EPA know that it should act to protect their health by issuing stronger standards to control particulate matter pollution.

AAFA post details online on how to comment at: www.aafa.org/advocacy.

Source:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/white-house-weakened-epa-soot-proposal-documents-show/2012/07/17/gJQANH3yrW_story.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZufPT4IKM0&feature=colike

www.aafa.org/advocacy.

Drinking green tea may provide relief for allergy sufferers.

English: Tea of different fermentation: From l...

Although tea drinking has been associated with health benefits since ancient times, only in recent years have its medicinal properties been investigated scientifically.

“Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents,” says Hirofumi Tachibana, the study’s chief investigator and an associate professor of chemistry at KyushuUniversity in Fukuoka, Japan. “If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it.”

Do not confuse green tea with oolong tea or black tea. Oolong tea and black tea are made from the same plant leaves, but they are prepared differently and have different medicinal effects. The longer the tea leaf is fermented, the more caffeine and the less polyphenols in contains. Polyphenols, also referred to as flavanoids, are chemicals that act as antioxidants and help rid of the body of free radicals.  Tea’s health benefits are largely due to its high content of flavonoids . Green tea is not fermented at all. Oolong tea is partially fermented, and black tea is fully fermented.

Green tea contains six primary polyphenols, known as catechins. Catechins according to the latest study are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties.

Researchers in Japan identified a polyphenol in green tea , methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which appears to be the most potent and biologically active antioxidants found in tea. The compound is found in higher concentrations in green tea, the least processed of teas, than in black and oolong variety. EGCG might be able to prevent inflammation and swelling, protect cartilage between the bones, and lessen joint degeneration.. Studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder.  A Chinese study published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed a 46%-65% reduction in hypertension risk in regular consumers of oolong or green tea, compared to non-consumers of tea. Drinking green tea may also fight fat.

It now appears that the compound works by blocking the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two compounds in the body that are involved in triggering and sustaining allergic reactions- Tachibana says.

Green tea contains 2% to 4% caffeine. Caffeine is thought to stimulate the nervous system, heart, and muscles by increasing the release of certain chemicals in the brain called “neurotransmitters.”

Although promising against allergies, no one knows how much green tea is needed to have a therapeutic effect or which green tea varieties work best. Researchers are currently looking for additional anti-allergenic compounds in the tea.

Green tea is the second-most consumed beverage in the world, behind water. It is very popular in Japan, and has a growing following in the United States.

The October issue of  Archives of Internal Medicine provides a few tips to get the most out of tea-drinking: Drinking a cup of tea a few times a day to absorb antioxidants and other healthful plant compounds. In green-tea drinking cultures, the usual amount is three cups per day. Allow tea to steep for three to five minutes to bring out its catechins. The best way to get the catechins and other flavonoids in tea is to drink it freshly brewed. Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink tea preparations, and instant teas have less of these compounds. Tea can impede the absorption of iron from fruits and vegetables. Adding lemon or milk or drinking tea between meals will counteract this problem.

Allergy sufferers schould take some precautions:

  • See a doctor for the best treatment options.
  • Avoid allergens that can cause the allergy: dust, pollen, certain foods and chemicals
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Educate yourself about allergy

Green tea also contains alkaloids such as caffeine (although in lower amount than black tea), which give green tea its stimulating properties.

If you are hypersensitive to caffeine or tannin, you may want to consider avoid drinking green tea.

Sun exposure may decrease the risk of Food Allergies, Asthma and Eczema

Sunlight Feed

Sunlight

People living in areas with lower levels of sunlight are more likely to develop food allergies, asthma and aczema than those in areas with plenty of sunshine, according to a new scientific study.

The research was led by Dr. Nick Osborne from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health. He used data from analysis of Australian children and how rates of food allergies, eczema and asthma varied throughout the country. He believes these findings provide us with an important insight into the prevalence of food allergies and eczema, which appear to be on the increase.

Australia is an excellent place for this type of study as it spans nearly 3000 miles from north to south, with a large variation in climate, day length and sun strength. On average children in the south of the country were twice as likely to develop eczema as those in the north. There was also a link between latitude and allergies to peanuts and eggs. The report suggests that exposure to the sun may play a role in rising levels of food allergy and eczema.

Researchers pointed to exposure to sunlight as the cause for the findings. Generally speaking the further south or north from the equator you live the higher the incidence of developing food allergy or eczema.  People who live in sunnier climates – closer to the equator – get more sunshine on a daily basis.

Always, care has to be taken we are not exposed to too much sunlight, increasing the risk of skin cancer- warned Dr.Osborn.

Sunlight is the body’s greatest source for vitamin D. Researchers say that deficiency of vitamin D could be involved in the increase in asthma and allergies. Vitamin D could lower the risk of asthma in children by up to 40 per cent, according to a new report.

The theory is that people due to modern lifestyle spend more time indoors with less sunlight exposure  – travelling in cars rather than walking, for example – as well as the widespread use of sunscreen. These habits have led to the decreased production of vitamin D in the skin of many people.

In fact, by some estimates, around half of the world’s population is vitamin D deficient. For the body to make vitamin D, the skin needs to be exposed to light. At most latitudes, you can get enough vitamin D simply by spending 15 or so minutes in the sunshine everyday without wearing sunscreen; at extreme latitudes, the atmosphere filters more of the UV out and you need longer exposure. Vitamin D supplements are also available.

Sources:

Journal of Allergy and clinical Immunology

Science Daily

http://www.pcmd.ac.uk/news.php?id=310

Meat Allergy linked with Tick Bites

English: The tick Amblyomma americanum (Lone S...

These fall are bringing out more ticks than it was usual before in the Mid South and East Coast area.

A new study suggest a connection between the rise in creepy crawlies, and the increase in a certain allergy to beef and pork.

“Every patient I’ve had with this allergy has had a tick bite. It seems to be related to what is called the Lone star tick”. –said Dr. Tina Merrit of the Allergy Clinic of Northwest Arkansas. They are very common in Arkansas and Missouri, but cases of the freaky allergy are popping up along the East Coast too where areas also abound in Lone star ticks. 90 percent of the meat allergy patients had a history of tick bites.

“We’re in the process of collecting the very tiny amounts of liquid out of a tick mouth and learning how to analyze that. I believe there’s evidence that ticks are causing the allergies. If it’s a tick disease, it might involve fighting ticks. We’re searching for proof,” said  Doctor Jack Lay from the University of Arkansas.

Delayed allergic reaction showed up roughly three to six hours after eating red meat. Symptoms can range from hives to anaphylactic shock. Experts say the six-hour lag between exposure to meat and the allergic reaction complicates things even more. It’s very atypical because most food allergies occur very quickly.

The Lone star tick is a very small tick that can have a white dot on the back and it’s very common in the Mid South area, but is found throughout the eastern, southeastern and south-central states.

All three life stages (larva, nymph, adult) of the lone star tick will feed on humans, and may be quite aggressive. Lone star ticks will also feed readily on other animals, including dogs and cats, and may be brought into the home on pets. The saliva from lone star ticks can be irritating; redness and discomfort at a bite site does not necessarily indicate an infection.

The infection may be hard to diagnose because there’s no rash and the tick and its bite are very tiny. Lab inspection of a blood sample under a microscope is currently the only way to confirm infection.

Tick-borne illness may be prevented :

–         by avoiding tick habitat  Avoid tick habitat like wooded and bushy areas with high grass and  leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.

–         by using insect repellents containing DEET or permethrin, Use insect repellents that contain 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up  to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings.

–         by wearing long pants and socks,

–         by performing tick checks and promptly removing ticks after outdoor activity. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

–         Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

–         Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.

Be extra vigilant in warmer months (April-September) when ticks are most active.

Sources:

http://nwahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=367332
http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/health/medical-lone-star-tick-makes-people-allergic-to-red-meat#ixzz271ZWCVYi

Raising awareness for food allergy is crucial

English: Food types likely to cause allergic r...

Life can be difficult with allergy.

Food allergies are a growing health concern. As many as 6 million children in the U.S. are affected and food allergies are more common and more danger than ever before.

Kids can be born with food allergies but most of the time it is acquired. Many food allergies in children are mild and fade over time. They can outgrow selected food allergies, but peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish allergies usually last a lifetime.

There is NO CURE for allergies.

There is NO MEDICATION available to prevent reactions.

AVOIDANCE  of food is the ONLY way to prevent a reaction:

–          be aware of the foods being eaten

–          read ingredients label

–          speak up when going out to eat

–          educate yourself

Symptoms of Food Allergies can include various degrees of the following:

–          Hives

–          Flushed skin or rash

–          Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth

–          Swelling of the face, tongue, or lip

–          Vomiting and/or Diarrhea

–          Abdominal cramps

–          Coughing or wheezing

–          Dizziness and/or light headedness

–          Swelling of the throat and vocal cords

–          Difficulty breathing

–          Loss of consciousness

Over 150 foods can cause allergic reactions, but 90% of all emergency situations involve just 8 specific food items:

    • Milk
    • Eggs
    • Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
    • Peanuts
    • Fish
    • Shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
    • Wheat
    • Soybeans

The most severe reaction to a food allergy is the anaphylaxis.  Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction which including:

    • A dangerous drop in blood pressure
    • A constriction of the airways in the lungs
    • Suffocation by swelling of the throat

TRIGGER food allergy short film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnwczy3_IFg

TRIGGER is a not for profit awareness campaign. Please help protect food allergy sufferers by watching and sharing the information provided.

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Hidden Ingredients In Processed Food Can Be Fatal – Food allergy Alert!

52 Weeks - Week 5 - Food Allergy and Intoloren...

A college student, Emma Egerton, 18, ordered a Chicken Tikka Korma from Spice of India in Greater Manchester, through the Just Eat takeaway online website.

The police chief’s daughter was killed by a chicken curry from her local takeaway after she suffered a massive allergic reaction because a nuts warning was left off the menu.

Just Eat is a UK-based online takeaway website that connects customers to some 25,000 food outlets across Europe, allowing them to form a personal directory of menus and choose their favorite restaurant, place an order and select from pick-up or delivery options.

Most restaurants do not know about food allergies. Just a few of them process and cater food for food allergy sufferers, others are unaware of it. Some restaurant owners and staff not even know how dangerous a food allergy can be.

Many restaurants fry the meat, vegetables, even fish or shrimp in the same oil.

No courses have yet been organized to educate the industry on the allergy related cooking procedures. Restaurants should add nut warning signs next to the dishes on the menu that contain nuts, to help consumers.

Food allergies are not rare at all, and should not be underestimated! Food allergy is a growing public health concern. In fact, it is estimated that 150 to 200 Americans die each year because of allergic reactions to food  – according to the FDA.

  • As many as 15 million people have food allergies in the U.S.
  • An estimated 9 million, or 4% of adults have food allergies.
  • Nearly 6 million or 8% of children have food allergies with young children affected most.

The prevalence of food allergies and associated anaphylaxis appears to be on the rise.

  • According to a study released in 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about an 18% increase in food allergy was seen between 1997 and 2007.
  • The prevalence of peanut allergy among children appears to have tripled between 1997 and 2008.

To reduce the risks, FDA is working to ensure that major allergenic ingredients in food are accurately labeled. Since 2006, food labels must state clearly whether the food contains a major food allergen. The following are considered to be major food allergens:

Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree nuts ( such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans), Soybeans, Wheat, Fish, Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, and shrimp).

These foods account for 90 percent of all food allergies in the United States.

So, remember to take all measures to protect yourself and your family members who suffer from food allergies. In addition to avoiding food items that cause a reaction, we recommend that you:

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace stating that you have a food allergy
  • Carry an auto-injector device containing epinephrine ( adrenaline).
  • Seek medical help immediately if you experience a  food allergic reaction.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) was passed by Congress to ensure that there would be clearer labeling of food for the millions of people with food allergies. As of January 01, 2006, all food products regulated by the FDA must be labeled in a specific way to identify the eight major food allergens.

For a look at the complete law, visit:

fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodAllergensLabeling/GuidanceCompliance
RegulatoryInformation/ucm106187.htm

Walk for Food Allergy

Have you ever participated in a Walk for Food Allergy event? Have you ever asked somebody why they walk? They walk, because they know or love someone with food allergies. They walk because they want raise funds to help the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) to educate the public and find a cure for food allergies. They walk to save a life!

Food allergy afflicts as many as 15 million Americans including about 6 million children.

FAAN is a non-profit organization provides information and educational resources about food allergy to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials.

Walk for Food Allergy events, which have raised more than $14 million for education, research, advocacy, and awareness programs since 2004, bring together families, educators, healthcare professionals, and corporate partners. Training materials for schools and restaurants, clinical studies such as oral immunotherapy, and community outreach grants are just a few of the programs that have been funded as a result of FAAN’s Walk for Food Allergy.  FAAN has set a goal to raise at least $2.4 million through its Walks in 2012.

Findings from research studies have been used to change federal and state laws, improve the daily lives of individuals with food allergy, raise public awareness, improve school policies, and provide education for patients, caregivers, and health professionals.

The Walk for Food Allergy will be held in the following cities:

Come join us for the 2012 FAAN Walk for Food Allergy.

Sept. 16 Pittsburgh, PA
Nashville, TN
Sept. 22 Austin, TX
Lansing, MI
Northern Virginia, VA
Sept. 23 Baltimore, MD
Boston, MA
Columbus, OH
Sept. 29 Charlotte, NC
Portland, ME
Triangle Area, NC
Sept. 30 Chicago, IL
Seattle, WA
Oct. 6 Detroit, MI
Las Vegas, NV
Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 7 Miami, FL
Milford, CT
Oct. 13 California Bay Area, CA
Oct. 14 Lincoln, NE
Atlanta, GA
Long Island, NY
Oct. 21 Ridgewood, NJ
Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 3 San Diego, CA
Nov. 10 Tampa, FL
Virginia Beach, VA
Nov. 17 Dallas, TX
Dec. 1 Phoenix-Tempe, AZ

You can also sign up for a walk in your area, if you are interested.

Find out the nearest events to you: http://www.foodallergywalk.org/site/PageServer?pagename=walk_locations_by_state

Top 5 Airborne Allergy Triggers

Inhalant allergens are airborne allergens. Inhaling airborne allergens can affect the eyes, nose, ears, voice box, throat, airways, lungs, trachea, bronchioles and skin. Typical allergic symptoms caused by airborne allergens include sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion (allergic rhinitis or hay fever). When an allergic victim’s eyes are affected, they may experience itchy, watery and red eyes.

Most common airborne allergens:

  • Pollen : Pollen come from wind-pollinating plants. These include trees, grasses and weeds. Common tree pollens are olive, birch, elm, and walnuts. Grasses generate much pollen. Examples include blue, rye, bermuda grasses, and red top. Weeds  are mostly wind-pollinated. Examples of these are ragweed, pigweed, sagebrush, tumbleweed. Ragweed is the most important cause of seasonal allergic hay fever. There are many more trees, grasses and weeds that generate allergy-cause pollens.
  • Mold Spores: Many types of molds live in our environment. Mold can be found almost everywhere in indoor and outdoor areas that are warm, dark, and/or moist. Molds are that commonly grow on bread and food left out in the open. It is also mold that grows along the grout in the shower. Mold reproduce by sending tiny spores into the air.
  • Cat Dander, Dog Dander: Cats groom themselves, they lick their fur and when the saliva (which contain a specific protein) dries, it flakes off into microscopic particles that float throughout the air. Dander does not come from hair or skin itself, but comes from a protein produced by the saliva. Cat dander is not dandruff. Dandruff is composed of skin cells.  Cat dander becomes airborne, landing on different surfaces, like human’s skin and clothing. Through the air, dander can enter the mucous membranes in the lungs, causing allergies to some individuals. Cat dander allergens can remain airborne for long periods of time. They are also very sticky and cling to wall surfaces and clothing.  Cat dander particles are about 1/10th the size of dust mites. Cats may be more likely than dogs to cause allergic reactions because they lick themselves more, may be held more, and spend more time in the house, close to humans.
  • House Dust Mites: Dust mites are microscopic animals. The droppings and decaying bodies of dust mites are common allergens. These dust mites live all around us, in bedding, carpets, stuffed furniture, stuffed animals, old clothing. They feed on human skin scales. Dust mites are most common in humid climates. They don’t survive when the humidity is below 50%. If droppings or dust mites are inhaled or come in contact with the skin, they may cause allergy, asthma, eczema symptoms.
  • Cockroaches: Cockroach allergen is believed to derive from feces, saliva, and the bodies of these insects. Cockroaches live all over the world, from tropical areas to the coldest spots on earth. The amount of roach allergen in house dust or air can be measured. Allergen particles are large and settle rapidly on surfaces. They became airborne when the air is stirred by people moving around.

Cleanliness may cause allergy

Allergies have become widespread in developed countries. The reason?  Excessive cleanliness is to blame,” said Dr. Guy Delespesse, an immunologist and director of the Allergy Research Laboratory at the University of Montreal. While family history, air pollution, processed foods, stress and other factors can trigger allergic reactions, Dr. Delespesse is concerned by “our limited exposure to bacteria” .

The idea that too-clean environments contribute to allergies is called the “hygiene hypothesis.”

The study suggest that exposure to germs and infection helps build the immune system, which can protect against allergies and asthma. The explanation is simple: we are so hygienic we aren’t being exposed to the same level or variety of bacteria as in the past, so our immune systems are unable to build up defences.

There is an inverse relationship between the level of hygiene and the incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases,” said Dr. Delespesse. “The more sterile the environment a child lives in, the higher the risk he or she will develop allergies or an immune problem in their lifetime. Some 50 million Americans suffer from allergic conditions and about 15 million Americans have asthma, and the numbers are increasing, according to the AmericanAcademy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The cost of treating allergies and asthma stands at about $32 billion a year. And there is much misery: 60 percent of allergy sufferers say they were unable to find ways to stamp out the seasonal ills, according to a survey released this week by ConsumerReportsNationalResearchCenter. Dr. Delespesse also frets about the burgeoning allergic population. He noted that 10 percent of people in developed countries suffered from allergies two decades ago. Today, the percentage has increased threefold to 30 percent, with one in 10 children suffering from asthma. Deaths from that condition are also increasing, he said.

Allergies rose rapidly in developing nations where living conditions and hygiene standards were becoming more like those in the West.

Cleanliness does reduce our exposure to harmful bacteria. As the human immune system matures, normally it learns how to differentiate what is not dangerous from what is dangerous. If you raise children in too clean of an environment, this distinction is missing.” If infants encounter a wide range of bacteria they are less at risk of developing allergic disease later in life. This is the conclusion of research from the University of Copenhagen, which suggests completely new factors in many modern lifestyle diseases.

“In our study of over 400 children we observed a direct link between the number of different bacteria in their rectums and the risk of development of allergic disease later in life,” says professor Hans Bisgaard, consultant at Gentofte Hospital, head of the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood, and professor of children’s diseases at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

Reduced diversity of the intestinal microbiote during infancy was associated with increased risk of allergic disease at school age. But if there was considerable diversity, the risk was reduced, and the greater the variation, the lower the risk. When the immune system not constantly battling dangerous bacteria, “it doesn’t know what to fight against,”

“So it makes a difference if the baby is born vaginally, encountering the first bacteria from its mother’s rectum, or by caesarean section, which exposes the new-born baby to a completely different, reduced variety of bacteria. This may be why far more children born by caesarean section develop allergies.” said Professor Bisgaard.

In the womb and during the first six months of life, the mother’s immune defenses protect the infant. Bacteria flora in infants are therefore probably affected by any antibiotics the mother has taken and any artificial substances she has been exposed to.

“We have studied staphylococci and coli bacteria thoroughly, and there is no relation. What matters is to encounter a large number of different bacteria early in life when the immune system is developing and ‘learning’. The window during which the infant is immunologically immature and can be influenced by bacteria is brief, and closes a few months after birth.

“I must emphasize that there is not one single allergy bacteria,” Professor Bisgaard points out. “I think that a mechanism that affects the immune system will affect more than just allergies, he concludes. It would surprise me if diseases such as obesity and diabetes are not also laid down very early in life and depend on how our immune defenses are primed by encountering the bacterial cultures surrounding us.”