Monthly Archives: October 2017

Zap Allergies with a Chemical Holiday

People who suspect they have chemical sensitivity should organize a chemical holiday, i.e. a fortnight away from chemicals. This involves considerable upheaval in our modern world. The aim of the ‘holiday’ is to see whether symptoms disappear or not. If they do, chemical sensitivity is a real possibility; if they don’t, it’s not. The ideal holiday involves admission to an Environmental Control Unit. This is a highly specialized hospital unit which ensures a chemical-free environment. All of the materials used in the construction of the unit are chemical-free, and all of the air is filtered to prevent the entry of pollutants. The unit is kept under positive pressure, which means that there is a draught from the inside out, rather than the converse. Staff and visitors are careful not to bring chemicals into the unit by means of freshly polished footwear, dry-cleaned clothes, perfume, aftershave, hair gel, and so on. Visitors who appear with chemical smells are offered a shower and a change of clothes before they are allowed in. If they refuse, they are politely asked to return another day more suitably prepared! Symptoms of chemical sensitivity quickly disappear in such a unit. Patients are then tested in a special booth for their sensitivity to individual chemicals. (This is part of the research being carried out on veterans with Gulf War Syndrome.)

However, such units are expensive and are reserved for those who can afford it, and those who really need it. In practice, most chemically sensitive patients get away with arranging their own chemical holiday. The first requirement is a house not polluted by petrochemical heating fumes: in other words, a house free of gas, oil, kerosene, etc. An all-electric house is ideal, or one where the heating boiler is in a separate shed. Stay with a co-operative friend if you need to – we did! Rid the house of everything that smells. You will need to recruit the co-operation of all household members to achieve this. Do not use cosmetics, air fresheners, polish, etc. Keep all windows and doors open to ventilate the house, weather permitting. If all symptoms disappear, return home and follow the instructions for the chemically sensitive. These measures will increase your tolerance to small amounts of chemical. If you find that symptoms are still too easily provoked, consider a course of Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation. This will increase your tolerance further.

References
1. American Lung Association Family Guide to Asthma and Allergies by Norman H. Edelman

Affordable Allergy Relief Solutions

If you are like me, you suffer from allergies in the Spring and the Fall seasons. Allergies can be so annoying and can sometimes make me feel like I have the flu. I’m always looking for ways to help alleviate my allergy symptoms, and I found the following affordable tips are good to use when you’re seeking allergy relief.

If you can afford it or if you have health insurance, you should consult with a doctor about your allergies. They can prescribe medication that can help you with your allergy symptoms, or even just supply you with some tips for managing your allergies. Your doctor may recommend management techniques which will help you learn to live with your allergies. As long as you have health insurance, it’s very affordable to consult with a doctor about your allergies.

If you don’t have health insurance, or simply don’t want to go see a doctor, you can try over the counter allergy products available at your local drug store. You can research online to see which over the counter products work the best for other people and then try them yourself to see what works for you. Always be sure to read warning labels and follow all directions printed on the over the counter allergy medications.

A free method to help alleviate your allergies is to avoid what causes them. This is easier said than done for most though because most people have to go outside eventually. If you are allergic to a family pet, it can be even more difficult to avoid the source of your allergies. It might be best to find a good home for your pet if you’re allergic to them. If you can’t or won’t find a new home for your pet, try to limit contact with them. You should also make sure all furniture and flooring is kept clean and free of pet hair.

Cleaning your home as much as possible can also help you relieve your allergy symptoms. Some people are allergic to molds and dust and cleaning your home will help keep those things from forming in your home. If you find that keeping your home clean isn’t helping, you may want to consider hiring a professional mold remover. If it’s molds and dust your are allergic to, you should also avoid moldy places like basements and dusty places like attics.

If your skin breaks out in hives from an allergic reaction, you can try oatmeal for relief. You can mix one cup of boiling water with the oatmeal and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then strain and use the remaining liquid to rub on the area of skin with hives. When I was a child, I would break out in hives from playing in the lawn and the oatmeal trick would work every time.

There are many things that cause allergies and many things that help relieve the symptoms of them. If you suffer from allergies, I would suggest that you give the above mentioned tips a try. They are cheap and easy, so you really don’t have anything to lose. Who knows, one of these tips may work for your allergies.

Product Review: the Candle Breeze

I am a candle lover who has enjoyed scented candles for years. I recently had to give up my passion because I discovered that candles were a contributing factor to my daughter’s allergies.

Looking for a compromise, I tried many scented products on the market. Diffusers were “ok” for small rooms such as bathrooms, but could not scent a large room.

Store products just didn’t last very long.

I found that wickless candles and scented wax tarts were only effective if you were within very close proximity.

Then I discovered the Candle Breeze.

The Candle Breeze is candle warmer unlike any other I’ve seen. It has a self-contained fan that distributes the scent into the air.

The manufacturer claimed their product would “fill your home with aroma in minutes”. I decided to put that claim to test and purchased a small unit.

When I received my Candle Breeze, it was well packaged and fully intact when I opened it. I found the included wickless candle to be an added bonus.

The unit was very simple to use. I decided to place my Candle Breeze on the kitchen counter. I uncapped the wickless candle, set it on the base and placed the chimney on top. I plugged in the unit and within 10 minutes it was already working. Within 20 minutes, both my kitchen and living room were filled with the scent of cinnamon candy.

Having a curious six year old at home, I decided to do some testing of my own from a child’s perspective. After running the Candle Breeze for 2 hours, I touched the base. It was cool to the touch. This made me feel very comfortable using this product with children in the home.

The manufacturer also claimed that the wax will not burn, that you can stick your finger in it like a paraffin wax bath. To test this claim, I did exactly that. I dipped my finger into the melted wax. It was very warm, but their claim was true. I did not burn my finger as I have in the past with liquefied candle wax. Please note that the manufacturer does not recommend touching the melted wax in order to prevent spillage into the Candle Breeze unit.

The company offers wickless candles in 28 scents and claims that each candle has a use time of 30 to 60 hours. I have been using my Candle Breeze for 9 months now and have been rotating between 6 different scents. My Candle Breeze runs approximately 3 times a week for 2 to 4 hours at a time. I am still getting scent out of the original wickless candle that came with the unit!

Best of all, after 9 months of use, my daughter has not been adversely affected by it as she was with candle burning. She has not experienced any sneezing or itchy, watery eyes. She used to ask me to blow out the candles because they “hurt” her. Now she asks me to turn on the Candle Breeze and even has her own favorite scents!

I did have one mishap with my unit. One of the wickless candle spill guards was not properly attached and wax leaked into my unit, causing the fan to stop working. I wrote to the manufacturer. They were very helpful and said that I could return the unit and they would clean it out for me, or I could do it myself using a hair dryer. I followed their instruction to clean it myself and my Candle Breeze has worked great ever since.

Overall, I am very pleased with my Candle Breeze and continue to recommend it to family and friends. I even recommended it to my day care center one day when they were complaining about odor control in the infant room. (They loved it!)

I would highly recommend this product to anyone looking for a safer alternative to scented candles.

If you would like more information about this product including where to purchase it, I recommend the following site: www.bestcandlewarmer.com.

Sunflower Seed Butter: Great Alternative for Those with Peanut Allergies

When I was a young child, back in 1971, I was diagnosed with asthma at age three. After an extensive bout of testing to target the things I was allergic to, one of those allergens was found to be peanuts.The allergy to peanuts apparently stems from an allergic reaction to the protein in them.Back in 1971, I was the only kid I knew who had peanut allergies, and I was almost looked upon as being freaky or weird because of it. It made my life really difficult, because no one understood or was aware of peanut allergies back then as they are today. Now, every product containing peanuts or tree nuts is specifically labeled with allergen information. Even if an item was processed in a facility that used shared equipment with peanuts or tree nuts, the manufacturers let you know.

Peanut allergies, according to MedicineNet.com, is the most common cause of death from a food allergy, and affects 1.3% of the population. Peanut allergy can cause a wide array of symptoms, ranging from gastrointestinal, skin and respiratory, even sometimes causing death.One of the most severe reactions to peanut allergy can result in anaphylactic shock. When anaphylactic shock occurs, there is a release of histamine that may cause swelling, difficulty breathing, heart failure and even death. I am sure many of us have heard the sad tragedy about the young girl who had a severe peanut allergy, who died after kissing her boyfriend who has just finished eating something with peanuts in it.

Needless to say, peanut allergy is a serious health concern. My allergies to peanuts as a young child would result in an asthma attack, and I would begin wheezing. So, I was forced to give up one of my favorite childhood foods. That’s pretty tough for a little kid. (I also was found to be allergic to my puppy and had to give him up, but that’s another story!) Then as an adult, I have grown accustomed to avoiding foods containing any type of nuts, and that was just the way it was…until I got pregnant. Oh man, those cravings! I would always crave peanut butter when pregnant, and the urge was extremely difficult to fight. I would have to make PB J;’s for either the kids I was babysitting, or for my own children, and it would get overwhelming. One time I caved and took the tiniest lick, which was really stupid, by the way, so do NOT try it! I could almost immediately feel the spot on my tongue where the peanut butter was, begin to swell. It subsided after several minutes, but even that confirmed the allergy was still ever present and serious.

So what are we people who love peanut butter to do? Without is usually the answer! I remember eating sunflower seeds one day and mentioning that I wished they would make something like a peanut butter from them, because to me, they taste so much like what I remember peanuts tasting like. Apparently , others thought the same thing, because one day a lovely little Trader Joe’s flyer came in the mail, and lo and behold, it was advertising their Sunflower Seed Butter. After doing a little online searching, I guess other stores, such as Whole Foods and others, offer a sunflower seed butter too, and apparently the idea is not quite as new as I thought it to be, but nevertheless, here is a great alternative to those who love peanut butter but cannot eat it

After I first saw the ad this past year, I rushed out and bought some. Unfortunately the price is about twice as high as the standard peanut butter they offer, but it was worth it to finally “experience” something SO similar to peanut butter again!! Oh the taste, the texture, the creamy smoothness,and man is that stuff sticky! I’d forgotten the sticky part. What a fabulous alternative to peanut butter for people like myself!

Most people do not tend to be allergic to sunflower seeds, as they are a seed and not a tree nut. (However, some people have extreme allergic reactions to sesame seeds! Always check with your/your child’s doctor if you are unsure, before trying anything new.) So, once you are certain you are not allergic to sunflower seeds, try some of this great sunflower butter. I even had my kids do a taste test and they thought it was extremely similar to peanut butter, and after all, kids are the PB J; experts.

So, now that you know, you can go make yourself a SSB J; sandwich, enjoy!

Soy Allergy: Symptoms, Treatments and Hidden Ingredients

Soy allergies is one of the most common, yet one of the most understood, allergies that exist today. Most doctors know the triggers for this allergy, yet cannot figure out why it effects humans the way it does. You may think that the reactions come from the actual soybean, but that is not entirely correct, rather the allergens spring from the soy protein. Because of this, believe it or not, some people may be alright with soy sauce due to the processing soybeans go through (though I don’t suggest trying it).

Unfortunately, many types of food have soy, some of which do not even state it. If you do have this allergy you should stop eating at fast food places, as their buns are made from soy flour, the meats include soy protein, and they are commonly cooked in soy oil. For those eating vitamin E supplements, you may want to stop that as well, as it commonly contains soy.

Soy products not listed as an allergy, but would still be in the ingredients list is: soya, edamame, gylcine mix, lecithin, vegetable oil, natural flavoring, and vegetable gum to name a few. So read everything with an analytical eye to ensure you cut off all soy consumption, even the hidden types.

Why does this allergy effect people and how can you stop it? Again, the reason why it occurs is debated over, but what is known is that people who are allergic treat soy as an enemy. Their bodies believe it is like a virus, and deploy histamines to destroy it, thus causing the reactions. Rashes, swelling, itching, diarrhea, and some wheezing. The more severe cases are: trouble breathing or constricting or airway, anaphylaxis shock and passing out.

If you know someone who goes into shock like this they need to go to the hospital immediately! There they will administer epinephrine to take them out of the shock. Though commonly not fatal, people with this severe a reaction can indeed die, so if you are living with someone who has a soy allergy don’t be irresponsible and cook soy because you think they are overreacting. While most people are only allergic to ingesting soy protein, there are a few that are allergic to it becoming airborne (the reason is that there would be a lower concentration of soy in the air and most people with the allergy have a higher threshold than what their body would take in. But again, those with severe soy allergy and low thresholds will have the same allergic reaction as if eating the soy).

To help stop the symptoms, for the more severe cases, you should carry around an EdiPen or an EdiPen Jr, both of which contain an injection of epinephrine. Consult your doctor to know what use is appropriate. You could also try using antihistamines to block the histamines causing the effects on your body, or allergy medication to ease the effects. If you are not in the severe category then staying away from consumption should be enough, just be sure to read every ingredient and don’t risk it if you think the food may have even traces of soy in it.

And don’t forget your cosmetics and skincare products! Soy is everywhere. We suggest going with a trusted allergy free provider of skincare products for sensitive skin such as Allergy Free Me.

Allergy Preventables

If you’re like me and get allergy shots every ten days, there are still things you can do to make your life easier at home when it comes to these nasty bugs.

Use a dustbuster and keep batteries charged. (Source: Dr. Robert Fenton).

On the bed cover with hypoallergenic blankets, pillows, sheets, and pillow cases, use anti-dust mite bedding, mattresses, encasings, mattress toppers, protective covers, box spring encasings, keep your car vacuumed, and have two pet sponges to remove pet hair. You can buy the latter at Linens n’ Things. If you can afford it, get a Hepa Air Cleaner, take sleep supplements at night, and wash all non-encased bedding in hot water at a temperature of at least 140 every ten to 14 days.

Buy a mold tester for the home, only have hyporallergenic plants inside, bathe pets weekly if you don’t want to get rid of animals, use allergy-free soaps and towels, and avoid foods that allergist tells you you’re allergic to.

If you have the money, shop at your local health food store, take allergy pills if they’re still working and you can’t afford shots, flea bomb the house without pets present, and treat your yard for fleas. (Source: National Allergy).

Use filters over incoming vents or use a whole house furnace filter. Have only wood, leather, vinyl, or rattan furniture.

If you don’t have a nebulizer, get one like the Aeroneb Go Portable Nebulizer Compressor found at erclk.about.com, a Doser Inhaler Usage Counter (see doser.com), a Whistle-Watch Peak Flow Meter (look it up at medindustries.com/peakflow.htm), or an OptiChamber Inhaler Spacer also found at erclk.com. (Source: asthma.about.com).

If you’re familiar with Flovent, the popular asthma medication, the company who makes the product released a new formulation of it called Flovent HFA two years ago. You can find out about it at medisave.ca. (Source: Shane McGlaun).

For those who own a nebulizer, it’s important to keep it clean to keep them working efficiently and reducing the chances of infection from dirty equipment. It usually takes at the most 30 minutes to clean.

Use Nasonex nasal spray which you can get samples of from your allergist if you can’t afford to pay for it. Always make sure, too that you stay on schedule with your allergy shots.

Sweep and dust the house regularly. (Source: Dr. J.M. Garmendia).

Make your cigarette-smoking friends partake in their habit outside.

Plan your defense against winter’s bugs by eating well, exercising, not smoking, and getting plenty of rest to make your body strong.

Save Money by Using Generic Allergy Medicine

Allergies can make you miserable, especially when you don’t use any allergy medicine. That said, with the cost of medication being what it is-sometimes two or three dollars per pill-how can you afford to buy it? The answer is simple: buy generic allergy medicine. People often have a fear of generic products, seeing them as inferior to name-brand products. This fear is usually unfounded however, and generic allergy medicine is no exception. This article will clear up some issues regarding generic allergy medicine and tell you why it’s a good idea to use it.

Why is Generic Allergy Medicine Cheaper than Name-Brand Medicine?

Pharmaceutical companies must go through a great deal of research and testing before they are able to put a new drug on the market. This is a very expensive process. After developing a new drug, the pharmaceutical companies must charge rates that not only allow them to make back the money they put into research, but also to make a profit. Allergy medicine is therefore-like most medicine-relatively expensive. Generic allergy medicine can be produced without much expense, as little to no research goes into its creation-the research has already been done by the pharmaceutical companies. It is for this reason that generic allergy medicine is less expensive than name-brand allergy medicine; this is not an indicator that generic allergy medicine is of poor quality.

Is Generic Allergy Medicine as Effective as Name-Brand Medicine?

Generic allergy medicine is absolutely as effective as name-brand medicine. This is because the two allergy medicines are actually made with the same active ingredients. If you examine name-brand and generic allergy medicine together, you will see this. The dosage and active ingredients are almost always identical. The only time they differ is when a compound is currently patented, and even then the difference is usually an inactive ingredient in the compound.

How Much Cheaper is Generic Allergy Medicine?

Generic allergy medicine is usually less than one-fourth the cost of name-brand allergy medicine. If the generic allergy medicine is a prescription drug, the savings are often even greater. Many pharmacies offer one-month supplies of generic medications for under ten dollars, while their name-brand counterparts may run close to $100.

Generic allergy medicine is for many reasons a better choice than name-brand allergy medicine. It is just as effective at providing allergy relief, and it is a small fraction of the cost. Rather than suffering through your allergies or spending hundreds of dollars a year on allergy medicine, be sure to give generic allergy medicine a try-you won’t be disappointed.

Plavix Lawsuits

Plavix is an antiplatelet medication prescribed to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi/Aventis, Plavix is a thienopyridine drug that inhibits platelet activation by blocking the ADP receptor on platelets and costs $4 per pill. This medication has been promoted to medical professionals as a superior drug over simple aspirin in preventing blood clots that can cause heart attacks and stroke for anyone at risk. Manufacturer representatives have convincingly claimed that there is no other medication as effective as Plavix for use after stent placement. The side effects listed on the patient medication guide include increased risk of heart attack, stroke, gastrointestinal bleeding, severe ulcers, and a serious blood disorder called Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Pupora (TTP).

Several individual lawsuits and class action lawsuits have been initiated since 2010. The lawsuits allege that the makers of Plavix falsely promoted this medication by claiming it has far more benefits than simple aspirin. The suits claim the manufacturers were more interested in increasing sales revenue than providing safety information to both patients and doctors. In the class action suit was filed on behalf of 11 patients in several states who suffered excessive bleeding, heart attacks, strokes, and needed stent replacement while taking Plavix. The lawsuit also claims some patients experienced disfigurement, loss of earning a living, increased medical expenses and permanent heart damage.

Although thousands of patients have been taking Plavix since it was introduced in 1997, there are an increasing number of studies indicating Plavix may have no significant benefit over aspirin, with one study of over 22,000 patients showing only a slight benefit of Plavix versus aspirin. For individuals with high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure, this drug may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, a serious bleeding event or TTP. Studies have also shown that some people may have a genetic factor that reduces the ability of Plavix to prevent blood clots. There is a test for the CYP2C19 gene variant which should be given to patients before starting Plavix. This information is indicated in a black box warning required by the FDA in 2009.

The FDA issued a reprimand in 1998 to Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi for promoting the use of Plavix for patients who received stents when it wasn’t approved for that application. Another warning letter was issued in 2001 when the manufacturers’ advertising presented favorable information to physicians while ignoring unfavorable data and serious side effects. Federal investigators are continuing to monitor this medication and the claims made by the manufacturer.

Aspirin is a salicylate acid derived from processed plants such as the willow tree. Discovered in Europe in the 19th century, it treats not only fever, forms of arthritis, headache and pain, but it is also an antiplatelet that has been used for years for heart and stroke patients. It inhibits production of a chemical called thromboxane that binds platelets together to create clots and only costs 4 cents per pill. The main side effects of aspirin are gastrointestinal ulcers and stomach bleeding, which may be controlled by using coated aspirin and over the counter heartburn medications.

I’m writing this article because I had to do some research before having a lung biopsy to avoid hemorrhaging due to the blood-thinning effects of Plavix. I was prescribed Plavix and aspirin when I had a stent placed after my heart attack in February. I was not tested for the gene variant and wasn’t even informed that there was a test. My cardiologist insisted that Plavix was the only medication available for me even though the cost is almost $190 as a Medicare recipient. My pulmonologist obtained permission from my cardiologist to take me off both medicines. Today, the pulmonologist informed me that in his research and his conversation with the cardiologist he found that Plavix has only a 15% benefit over aspirin in preventing blood clots. It was his opinion that aspirin works almost as well and the benefits and side effects of Plavix aren’t worth the price. I happen to agree.

Sources:

http://www.heartheavy.com/plavix-law-suit-claims-strokes-heart-attacks-internal-bleeding/

http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000802/

Gluten Allergy vs. Celiac Disease

People allergic to gluten are not necessarily sufferers of celiac disease. Although both must follow much the same diet, the person only slightly allergic to gluten can have small amounts of gluten as long as they can tolerate them. The person suffering from celiac disease, must stay away from all gluten and gluten-laden products and by-products, including anything that contains natural flavorings, hard candy dusted with flour to prevent sticking although the flour is not listed on the ingredient list, many vinegars and soy sauce. If you suffer from gluten allergies, you must be aware of the products that have gluten even if the ingredient list does not state gluten.

The degree of the allergy ranges from mild to severe. Many symptoms are not noticeable. The symptoms range from irritability, to constipation or diarrhea, stomach pains following eating gluten-laden products, chronic fatigue, mouth ulcers, short stature in children, anemia, Crohn’s disease, skin problems and autism. Some of the symptoms may seem contradictory but you can get any of them at different times in reaction to the different forms of gluten you ingest.

Many small children that have a reaction to foods containing gluten will outgrow the allergy. Some of the symptoms that are immediate include swelling of the face, hives, asthma, skin rashes, vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms may take days for a reaction although this is less common. Many allergies are just a wheat allergy and not a gluten allergy.

Gluten is the ingredient in bread and baked goods that hold it together. Without gluten, breads would not be as airy and would be dense. Gluten is in many spices to prevent them from clumping and listed as natural flavoring on the ingredient list.

The only way to be sure, if you are allergic to gluten or if you suffer from celiac disease, is to be tested by your doctor. It may only take a skin prick test to test for the allergy or a blood test. Reducing your intake of gluten products can be enough for the person that only has a mild allergy to gluten. For the more severe cases, eliminating gluten and its by-products completely from your diet will be necessary. Supplements and/or allergy shots to bring your nutrients back to the proper level in your system may be necessary. Your doctor, allergist or nutritionist will guide you to the proper treatment.

Celiac disease affects those of European descent and is genetic. It affects the lining of the small intestine. Furthermore, gluten allergies can affect anyone and do not cause the damage that celiac disease does. If you notice that after eating gluten-laden food that you become uncomfortable or have stomach problems, or any of the above listed problems, try an elimination process in your eating habits. Take wheat, barley, rye and flour products out of your diet. If you begin feeling better, you may only have an allergy to gluten.

Source:
The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Peter Green

Honey as Pollen Allergies Home Remedy

I get sneezing fits or hay fever during spring season and many drugs do not work or feels worse than not taking them. So I decided to try out the common belief of getting my body acclimatized by taking honey.

Basically there has been few studies done about using honey as pollen allergies homeophatic remedy. And the few that do conclude that it doesn’t work. I however, do want to try it out myself. Simple logic being it might not relieve 100% of the symptoms but if it just reduce the amount of hay fever or sneezing fits that happen, I would conclude that its partly useful for me.

This article for me explain it quite well http://www.pioneerthinking.com/to_honey2009.html. Allergies are an overreaction of body system. Its not exactly a bad thing. So as long as the symptoms are not crippling, I am actually fine with dealing with them.

So as many has suggested, I start drinking honey couple of weeks before the season starts. I try to get honey manufactured at least in the region, and I put honey as replacement for sugar in my drinks. I also drink a honey water mixture first thing in the morning.

As for the result, I still have running nose and itching eyes. But so far the sneezing fits are few and not as bad. No hay fever, swollen eyes. So as far as I am concerned it works!