So, I left my office for a stroll in the summer sunshine, to breathe in some fresh air and stretch my legs and within five minutes my nose was stuffed, my mouth, tongue and lips were itchy and the insides of my ears were itchy too.
What was going on?
As of August 12th, here in New York, I was an itchy-mouth mess all due to an allergy to ragweed.
What is an allergy? Just to recap: allergies are an overreaction of a person's immune system to substances that normally cause no problems. These allergenic substances can cause allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, urticaria, dermatitis and even anaphylaxis.
What is ragweed? Dr. James Thompson on this site has written an excellent post all about ragweed allergy and managing it during the fall season .
For those of you wondering just what the deal is, according to Wikipedia: [Ragweed] is highly allergenic, generally considered the greatest allergen of all pollens, and the prime cause of hay fever in North Ame...
Pediatricians, general practitioners, internists, allergists and
pulmonologists can all treat asthma and allergies.
Allergists or immunologists are internists and pediatricians,
who have additional training in the immune system and special
skills in evaluating and treating asthma and allergies.
They become board certified when they pass an examination in the
specialty area of allergy and immunology. Because allergists tend
to see more allergic and asthmatic people than other kinds of
doctors, they are more experienced in treating them.
This is especially important because about 90 percent of
children and 50 percent of adults with asthma have allergies that
trigger asthma symptoms. Identifying and learning to control these
allergies can be the key to better asthma control.
Your primary care physician may refer you to an allergist to
test you for allergies and to get your asthma under better control.
Once your asthma and allergies are better controlled, you can
expect to visit your alle...
Back in 2005, I started weekly acupuncture treatments. Primarily, I went for stomach distress. However, during that first summer of treatment, I felt less anxious, better able to tolerate the brutal New York City summers and I felt less sensitive to environmental seasonal allergies, which I have every season.
How was this possible? Was it a result of acupuncture? I asked my practitioner about these unexpected results. She said, "Yes. Very often even though we work on other issues, decreased anxiety, decreased sensitivity to heat and decreased seasonal allergies are happy side effects of acupuncture." Apparently, most acupuncturists, according to her, know about this. But the public? Not so much.
At the time, though, she didn't have any western studies to back that up. But lo and behold, a new study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (the Journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology ) found that the effects of acupuncture on allergies ar...
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