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These days, kids seem to have far more allergies than back when most of us were in grade school. While some kids would occasionally react to something back then, it’s now rare not to have some kind of allergy, whether it’s to food, animals, or plants. Allergic reactions aren’t just limited to IgE responses that may send some to the ER; what we typically call food hypersensitivities or intolerances are also technically allergic reactions. Allergies have become a very common problem. But what’s the solution?

Allergies—More Than EpiPens and Runny Noses 

According to the Allergy and Asthma Network, 7.6% of children under 18 have been diagnosed with a food allergy. The most common allergies were peanuts, milk, shellfish, and tree nuts, but nearly 40% of those diagnosed had allergies to multiple foods. Over 5.2 million, or 7.2% of children, reported hay fever (allergic rhinitis), and 9.2 million, or 12.6%, reported skin reactions. Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a common allergenic skin condition in children. [1]

Mayo Clinic explains the immunology behind allergies. Allergies occur when the body launches an immune response to a foreign substance. This can be pollen, mold, bee venom, pet dander, foods, or just about anything else that doesn’t belong in the body. [2]

There’s a wide array of cells and proteins involved in an immune response. These include neutrophils, leukocytes, mast cells, T cells, basophils, cytokines, antibodies, and lymphocytes. These mediators work to kill off things that aren’t supposed to be in the body. Normally, invaders are viruses, bacteria, parasites, mold spores, and the like. There are also some things that belong in the body but not in the bloodstream—at least, not until they’re fully broken down. Food is a great example. When there’s hyperpermeability in the gut, food may infiltrate the bloodstream before it should. In that case, the body labels it as an antigen. 

An antigen is treated the same way viruses and bacteria are. The immune system attacks it as an irritant because it’s not supposed to be there. As a result, we end up with symptoms. This is how we end up with cold or flu-like symptoms when the body is fighting off a bacterial or viral infection.

What Are the Symptoms? 

The immune response can manifest in a few different ways. It can affect your skin, sinuses, airways, digestive system, and more. Take a look at the following symptoms. You may recognize some as allergy symptoms, but chances are, you may not recognize all of them as signs of allergic reactions.

  • Eczema 
  • Breathing problems 
  • Swollen lymph nodes 
  • Red, swollen, itchy, tearing eyes 
  • Mental fatigue 
  • Brain fog 
  • Insomnia 
  • Abdominal bloating 
  • Skin rashes and redness 
  • Hives 
  • Coughing 
  • Itchy mouth, nose, skin, and other areas 
  • Loose bowels 
  • Allergic asthma 
  • Sneezing 
  • Intestinal cramping 

Few people consider bloating a sign of an allergy. But if you think about it, it makes sense that food allergies would inflame your insides, causing swelling and water retention. Of course, these symptoms can range in severity from mild to life-threatening. Many people will wave off some of these symptoms as not being allergy-related because they don’t lead to an anaphylactic reaction. However, continuing to trigger an immune response isn’t helpful. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consider that they might be a sign of some type of allergy. 

How Are Allergies Normally Addressed? 

How does our current medical system address allergies? The most common treatments include antihistamines, leukotriene receptor antagonists, glucocorticoids, corticosteroids, steroids, decongestants, and allergy shots. The medical journal Nature Medicine also mentions cutting-edge treatments used to ensure mast cells and basophils don’t respond to environmental proteins, even in the presence of immunoglobulin E (IgE). These treatments knock the immune response down so that symptoms disappear. [3]

The problem with this form of treatment is that the allergies don’t really go away; the immune system is just suppressed. As a result, the treatment sets the body up for a never-ending cycle of chasing symptoms. It will never be strong enough to defend the body as it’s designed to if you keep working against it. Does the current medical model even work? Look back at the statistics above. Is this method working to heal allergies? No. That means we need to look at things from a different perspective. 

Why is the Immune System Responding in an Exaggerated Way? 

Researchers published in Nature Medicine say that our limited knowledge of what causes allergies has been the greatest obstacle in finding the connections between genes, environment, and different types of allergies. [3While genes are often blamed, they generally play a very small part. Let’s take a look at things that can trigger an exaggerated immune response (we call them traumas, toxins, and thoughts): 

  • Physical injuries
  • Concussions
  • Subluxations
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Medications 
  • Vaccines
  • Pesticides and herbicides 
  • Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections
  • Mold toxins 
  • Toxic metals 
  • Chemicals (check your sprays, deodorants, hair care products, cookware, etc.) 
  • Chronic stress
  • Negative thinking

Most of these things are very obviously foreign to the body, and a few are not. You’re probably familiar with the idea of bee sting allergies or shellfish allergies. Not everyone reacts to bee stings or shrimp. But here’s where we can start to think differently. Most people with allergies will avoid exposure to the allergen, which is good. But what caused the substance to become an allergen in the first place? That’s a question few people bother to ask, including most doctors.

You might have noticed that not too long ago (maybe a few decades), the assault on our immune systems was a lot less: Not as many foods were processed. Fewer vaccines were on the childhood schedule. Kids got more outdoor activity and fresh air. The environment was less toxic, and people were just not as sick, vaccinated, and medicated as they are today. Many people argue that the increase in vaccines has nothing to do with the increase in chronic illness.

However, clinical studies show otherwise. Dr. Paul Thomas is one of the researchers sounding the alarm. He discusses some of his findings—including the correlation between vaccines and allergies—in this video. 

The Wellness Way Approach 

From childhood, we’re taught to seek quick relief with medication when we feel unwell, often suppressing our immune systems in the process. But our bodies can react negatively to this constant assault with toxins. The good news? There’s hope for restoring balance to exaggerated immune responses without relying solely on immune-suppressing drugs. There is another way — a less common solution. At The Wellness Way, we offer comprehensive testing beyond traditional methods, examining immune cells, antibodies, gut bacteria, and intestinal health, which all influence allergic responses. If you suspect allergies, it’s time to get tested. Contact a Wellness Way clinic today!

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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