Allergies and Homeopathy
Allergies are becoming increasingly common, affecting about one in three Australians at some time in their lives. There can be many different causes, and symptoms vary from very mild to potentially life threatening. There is also a strong link between instances of allergy and progression into asthma.
An allergy occurs when a person’s immune system over-reacts to substances — called an allergen — in the environment. An allergen for one person may not be a problem for another person, and everyone reacts differently.
What happens when you have an allergic reaction?
Antibodies are supposed to protect our bodies against viruses, parasites and infections. But for people with an allergy, their immune system mistakenly identifies the particular allergen as an invader and begins to create antibodies against it. When the allergen is encountered, the antibodies grab it and powerful chemicals, including histamine, are released, which causes the allergic reaction. Unlike an intolerance, an allergic reaction often occurs within minutes or up to a few hours after contact and may lead to many different symptoms.
How can homeopathy help?
Homeopathy has a long history of treating allergies, and many have found it to be the only effective treatment, even after having tried seemingly everything else under the sun! Medical experts assert that there is no known cure for allergies, but in my experience much can be done to ease the symptoms and prevent them from getting worse, especially by using homeopathy.
There are several over-the- counter homeopathic preparations available for allergies in health stores, which can often provide some relief. However, they can be very much "hit or miss" (since there are literally dozens of possible remedies for allergies), and by consulting a professional homeopath, you will receive a properly prescribed remedy, which is individualised to you, and therefore far more likely to give results.
The symptoms of allergy, although uncomfortable, are merely a signal that something deeper within the body is out of balance, so your immune system is not functioning as it should.
A correctly prescribed remedy from a homeopath will trigger a healing response from your own body, so you yourself start correcting the imbalance from the inside out - in other words it's correcting the cause of the issue instead of just managing symptoms, with the aim of giving lasting, natural relief with no side effects and no reliance on ongoing medications.
Other measures which may help ease or prevent allergy include:
• Do a thorough spring cleaning: a lot of dust and mould collect throughout the winter.
• Be aware your local pollen and mould count.
• Keep windows closed - especially if you see a film of pollen on the frame or sill. Use air filters or air conditioning if possible, and remember to change the filters regularly.
• Turn your pillow over when you get into bed - it may sound simple, but it can help reduce exposure to pollens and dusts which have gathered throughout the day.
• When traveling by car, keep windows up and air conditioning on.
• Stay indoors on hot, dry and windy days
• Don't hang your laundry out to dry. Allergens will collect on them.
• Wash bedding often in hot water.
• Shower and wash your hair every night before going to bed.
• Mould spores thrive in moisture: Fix all leaks inside and out, and clean mouldy surfaces regularly – especially in bathrooms and kitchens.
• Mould spore counts are high after a heavy rain and in the evening.
• Limit the number of household plants which carry both pollen and mould.
Why do people develop allergies?
Ultimately, the cause of allergies is not known, although there are several factors which can contribute towards the development of allergies, or increase one's risk.
One of the main risk factors is a hereditary link (thanks Mum and Dad!). For example, if one parent suffers from allergies, there is a 33% chance of their child suffering too, and if both parents are affected, the chances increase to 70%.
Obesity also seems to be a risk factor for developing allergies.
The home environment in the first year of life is pivotal. Parental cigarette smoking triggers allergy, Infant diet and early introduction of allergenic foods play a role. Air Pollution has been implicated; early use of day-care institutions, early use of broad spectrum antibiotics and birth just before the spring pollen season all seem to promote allergic sensitisation.
Factors that seem to prevent allergies developing include certain viral illnesses such as Hepatitis A and Measles exposure, living on a farm (especially livestock farming) and intestinal microflora such as Lactobacilli. This highlights the “hygiene hypothesis”, whereby children living the so-called “clean western lifestyle” are at greater risk for developing allergy. Recent studies suggest that heavy exposure to dog and cat allergens in the home may actually prevent allergies developing in infants (they suggest having two or more pets in the home!). Vitamin D deficiency has also recently been implicated as an allergy trigger.