It is estimated that 2.5 Million Canadians live with Allergies and Anaphylaxis and the number is expected to rise in the coming few years. As many as 3500 Canadians have an allergy shock each year from foods that they should not eat due to their allergies, of whom, almost 12 die due to the allergy.
As much as 0ne in two Canadians has a food allergy, it is more prevalent in children younger than 3 years old.
The incidence of food allergy in Canada increased up to 350% from 1996 to 2002. During that time, the peanut and nut allergies rose to 250% compared to its baseline. http://cai-allergies.ca/?page_id=631
Allergy problem in Ontario is seen in big cities such as Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara Falls. This does not mean that smaller cities or towns in Ontario are immune to the allergy health problem, however, due to the higher population density in the big cities, the statistics show a high incidence and prevalence in the bigger cities as compared to the suburbs.
Reasons for allergy
There are many factors that cause allergies such as exposure to environmental allergens such as dust, fumes, vapours, pollen and grass. This type of allergy is called environmental allergy. On the other hand, there are food allergens that can cause different forms of allergy and they cause food allergies. The body normally deals with these allergens by producing inflammatory markers such as immunoglobulins (two main types immune globulin E and G), and lymphocytes. These allergy markers and lymphocytes are produced in huge amounts after exposure to the allergens and cause tissue reactions such as skin rash, urticaria, nasal obstruction, asthma, bloating or loose motions. These allergy problems may develop acutely in a few minutes/ hours and it is called acute allergies such as asthma, nasal obstruction and laryngeal oedema or angioneurotic oedema. On the other hand, allergy may develop over time, and this is called chronic allergies such as chronic skin rash and gut problems.
How to treat allergies?
From the western medicine perspective, treatment of allergies is based mainly on steroids such as hydrocortisone and dexamethasone either in tablet or cream forms. The steroids manage the allergies by inhibiting the reaction between the allergy markers and the bodily tissues such as the skin and lung. It exerts its function immediately with immediate relief of symptoms and signs due to allergies. However, after some time the allergy symptoms may appear again after stopping the steroids and re-exposure to the environmental or food allergens.
Naturopathic medicine adopts different strategies in allergy treatment. First, avoidance of exposure to the allergen is imperative in the management of allergies. This can be achieved by the proper history taking from the patient and identifying which allergen can trigger the allergy and this is possible only in the acute form of the allergy, however in the chronic allergy diseases, the identification of the allergen(s) can be challenging and may need to do some allergy tests and blood work to identify the possible reasons for the allergy.
Moreover, the use of other naturopathic modalities such as acupuncture, herbal supplements, and vitamins can be very useful in managing and controlling the symptoms of allergy. The use of inhalational Glutathione proved effective in the allergy disease related to the upper respiratory passages such as maxillary sinusitis and asthma.
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