Oct 25, 2013

New Treatment for Common Allergies

There are two treatments, one for grass allergy, which is commonly known as hay fever, and the other for dust mite allergy. They are expected to be helpful for the millions of people who, as a reaction to grass pollen or the tiny bugs that live in house dust, have sneezing, itching eyes and a running nose that often significantly impacts their productivity at school or work.

The two studies were conducted by Adiga Life Sciences, a joint venture between McMaster University and Circassia, a U.K. based biotechnology company, and was supported by St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.
It is estimated that together, these allergens are responsible for more than 50% of allergic respiratory disease.

Between 15 and 25 per cent of the population in North America and Europe is sensitive to pollen from different grass species. One in four people is sensitized to house dust mites, more than any other common allergen, which includes millions of people in these regions. The treatments are from a new class of therapy, known as 'synthetic peptide immuno-regulatory epitopes', or SPIREs.

The 280 patients in the phase two clinical trial for the grass allergy treatment recorded their allergy symptoms while exposed to grass pollen in a controlled environment, both before treatment and at the end of the hay fever season. Study participants received one of three treatment regimens over three months, completed prior to the beginning of the pollen season. Those who had the optimal short course of therapy had significantly improved symptoms at the end of the season, compared to those who had a placebo. This treatment, called Grass-SPIRE, was well tolerated.

During the clinical trial for the dust mite treatment, 172 patients who received four doses of the treatment over 12 weeks had significantly improved allergy symptoms a year after the start of treatment, compared to patients who received a placebo. The treatment, called HDM-SPIRE, was well tolerated.
"This result is an important validation of the approach we are taking to treat allergic diseases," said Mark Larché, who led the design of the treatments. "Positive results, first with a cat allergy therapy and now with house dust mite and grass allergy treatments, suggest that this approach may be used for many common allergies."

Larché is a professor of medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster and member of the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.
Hay fever is a seasonal response to many different grass pollens which are heaviest in the spring and fall.
Dust mites are close relatives of spiders and ticks and are too small to see without a microscope. They eat skin cells shed by people, and they thrive in warm, humid environments. Upholstered furniture, bedding and carpeting provide an ideal environment for dust mites.

Oct 17, 2013

Control fall allergies

Although many people associate allergy season with the onset of spring, fall can also wreak havoc with allergy sufferers. This year, instead of suffering under mounds of tissues or resorting to over-the-counter or even worse yet, prescribed medications or allergy shots, discover the relief that natural remedies can bring.

Fall allergy triggers

During both spring and fall, pollen is a common allergy trigger. Male plants that begin to pollinate during August, often continue this process into the fall season. The biggest offender is ragweed. A great number of people allergic to spring pollen are also allergic to ragweed. Moreover, the wind can carry ragweed pollen for hundreds of miles, so this offender may not necessarily come from your own back yard.

Another offender not to be overlooked is mold. Mold spores can easily become airborne, putting us at risk. Mold grows in damp areas, indoors and outdoors. A common place for mold growth is in those leaves that fall from trees during this season. Piles of damp leaves are perfect breeding grounds for mold.

Dust mites are another danger. Although dust mites are mostly present during humid summer months, they can be stirred up and become airborne when the furnace is first used on a cool fall night.

In certain parts of the country, fall allergens can also include goldenrod, curly dock, lamb's quarters, pigweed, sheep sorrel, and sagebrush.

Ways to control allergens
  • Avoid contact with allergens as much as possible. Keep your house well ventilated, making sure that your filtration system is up to date.
  • Rake those fallen leaves in your back yard in a timely manner.
  • A natural diet containing antioxidants and omega-3 essential fatty acids will help to detox the body, thereby strengthening the immune system.
  • Many people find significant allergy relief by consuming local, raw, organic honey.
Various nutrients, herbs and other supplements can support your immune system, minimizing or eliminating allergy attacks
  • Colloidal silver provides immune support to the body, lessening or eliminating allergic reaction. It is also instrumental in preventing infections that can occur with prolonged or severe allergies.
  • Butterbur taken four times a day is as effective as over-the-counter medications, without any adverse side effects.
  • Quercetin stabilizes cells and prevents the release of histamines.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. People who eat a high content of Omega-3 fatty acids are more likely to resist allergy symptoms.
  • Probiotics helps support the body's natural terrain and strengthens the immune system.
  • Cayenne, ginger, onions, and garlic are effective allergy treatments.
  • Use stinging nettle leaf at the first sign of an allergy.
  • Fortify your body with vitamins C and E to strengthen your immune system.
Lastly, keep your body hydrated with plenty of water. It is important to replace those fluids that are being expelled from the body.

Oct 10, 2013

Six tips for easy breathing

1. Boost the immune system - When we talk about allergies, boosting the immune system is integral to relief. Eliminate things that can weaken the immune system such as high sugar and refined foods. Substitute, instead, nutritional ammo such as carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, garlic and broccoli. Wallop stress with prayer, meditation, deep breathing techniques, massage, acupuncture and going for a walk in nature.

2. Elimination diets - Underlying food sensitivities can trigger the same post-nasal drip, runny nose, and sinusitis symptoms as environmental allergies. Elimination diets are fairly simple. Cut out the most common culprits, which include dairy, wheat, eggs and soy. At the end of two weeks, you will know if food sensitivities are involved by a vast improvement or resolution of your symptoms. Add one food group at a time back into your diet every three days until you identify the offender

3. Optimize gut health - Many of our immune system challenges are caused by an underlying gut dysfunction. These problems can begin in the stomach with inadequate enzyme and acid production. Food that has not been digested properly then makes its way into the intestines to rot, putrefy and ferment. Not a pretty situation. Hence, our resident gut flora do not flourish well, setting up the stage for dysbiosis, unwanted and unhealthy bacteria, fungi and parasites, and leaky gut. These conditions pave the way for allergies and multiple sensitivities. Correction of this problem begins by supplementing with enzyme and acid support for the stomach and probiotics for the intestines. Some dietary changes may be necessary if there is yeast or fungal overgrowth.

4. A healthy life demands a healthy liver - The liver is responsible for metabolizing all of the histamine that is being released by numerous cells in the body. When the liver is distressed or congested the removal of histamine and other offending substances is backed up, worsening our allergy symptoms. A distressed liver may not show up in blood work until it is 80 percent compromised. Functional questionnaires may be helpful in uncovering liver distress. Eliminating or reducing unnecessary drugs, alcohol, caffeine and environmental stressors needs to be considered. Feeding the liver cruciferous vegetables, beet greens and milk thistle helps in restoring function to the liver.

5. Healthy adrenals - Your adrenal glands function as the braking system for your immune system by secreting cortisol to keep the immune response from going unrestrained. Common symptoms of adrenal dysfunction include lack of energy, fatigue, sleep disturbances, muscle and joint pain, migraines, low sex drive, chronic stress and poor memory. Adrenal function can be easily assessed with saliva testing. If adrenal dysfunction exists, caffeine and sugar need to be eliminated from the diet. Foods and whole food supplements rich in the B and C complexes nourish the adrenals. Supportive herbs include licorice, rehmannia, rhodiola and Korean ginseng.

6. Move well and rest well - There are numerous studies and testimonials that regular exercise can improve or help resolve seasonal allergies. Exercise helps to burn off accumulated stress that taxes the adrenals, liver, gut and immune system. Regular exercise can improve the function of these systems. Likewise, adequate sleep is necessary to help these systems regenerate and recharge.

Oct 4, 2013

Egg Allergic Children Now Have No Barriers to Flu Shot

 All children should have flu shots, even if they have an egg allergy, and it's now safe to get them without special precautions.

The current recommendation from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is to observe children allergic to eggs for 30 minutes after a flu shot. Also to have the shot under the care of a primary care provider, if the reaction to eating eggs is only hives, or an allergist, if the reaction to eating eggs is more serious.
However, "In a large number of research studies published over the last several years, thousands of egg allergic children, including those with a severe life-threatening reaction to eating eggs, have received injectable influenza vaccine (IIV) as a single dose without a reaction" said allergist John Kelso, MD, fellow of the ACAAI.
This update, endorsed by the AAAAI/ACAAI Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters, concludes that based upon the available data, "Special precautions regarding medical setting and waiting periods after administration of IIV to egg-allergic recipients beyond those recommended for any vaccine are not warranted. For IIV, language that describes egg-allergic recipients as being at increased risk compared with non-egg-allergic recipients or requiring special precautions should be removed from guidelines and product labeling."
"The benefits of the flu vaccination far outweigh any risk," said Dr. Kelso. "As with any vaccine, all personnel and facilities administering flu shots should have procedures in place for the rare instance of anaphylaxis, a severe life-threatening allergic reaction. If you have questions or concerns, contact your allergist."
Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children. By age 16, about 70 percent of children outgrow their egg allergy. Most allergic reactions to egg involve the skin. In fact, egg allergy is the most common food allergy in babies and young children with eczema.
Further, the flu is responsible for the hospitalization of more than 21,100 children under the age of five annually, yet only two thirds of children receive the vaccination each year. Some go unvaccinated because of egg allergy.
ACAAI also advises the more than 25.7 million Americans with asthma to receive the flu vaccination. Because the flu and asthma are both respiratory conditions, asthmatics may experience more frequent and severe asthma attacks while they have the flu.