For specific problems see Asthma, Hayfever and Eczema.From a laymans point of view allergic reactions can be put into three categories.
Contact with external or outside irritants such as smoke, dust, feathers, animal hair, pollen, plants, mould or damp, powders and oils used in cosmetics, chemicals in hair preparations, synthetic perfinnes, washing and cleansing products, air Fresheners, dis infectants and the whole vast mess of chemical and synthetic pollutants in the air can cause wheezing, sneezing, rashes, running nose and soreness, irri-tation and infiarnrnation of the eyes,nose, throat and mouth.
Any substance which is ingested may sci up an unpleasant reaction. Shellfish, fish, pork, nuts, dairy products, eggs, strawberries, tomatoes, white Hour, yeast, artificial sweeteners, flavour z enhancers, colourings and preservatives rare all common offenders.Some people are also allergic to antibiotics.The reaction to any of these substances can, either be unpleasantly swift or make its presence felt after some time by causingt sickness, diarrhoea, Hatulence, heart burn, giddiness, sweating, skin irritation, headache or sore mouth and throat.
The third category of allergies is that in which anxiety, emotional upsets,stress, nervousness and illness can create any of the reactions in the above groups.
Allergic reactions in the Hrst two groups are usually identifiable, ensuring that care is taken to avoid those things which will create problems, but the third sell-inflicted group requires a certain amount of self-examination.
Emotional upheavals can cause the most devastating wheezes which in some circumstances may develop into asthma.This seems to be a case of adding insult to injury. When we are adult we can attempt to be more phlegmatic about our problems and in analyzing them overcome our fears.
Children, however, can rarely d0 this and they unfortunately seem to suffer in proportionately higher numbers than adults from emotionally induced asthma.Try to avoid letting them get into this state. Although it may be difficult when you yourself are under stress try to ensure that children are not embroiled in your problems. When you think that they may have a problem persuade them to talk about it and listen carefully to all thatthey say and note what they do not say.Be calm, practical and understanding, hopefully coming up with a few positive suggestions.None of this is very easy to achieve but it is nevertheless easier in the long run than having a child ill with recurring asthma attacks.Ernotionally induced asthma in both adults and children usually becomes less frequent with the passing of time and ultimately disappears.
The way to test for a true allergic reaction on the skin is to place a small amount of the suspect substance on the soft flesh of the inner arm just below the belbow, cover it with a piece of non allergenic plaster and leave for 24 hours. Ifthe result is a nasty red pimply rash you have an adverse reaction.This test also works for some foodstuffs, for example strawberries.
Minimizing the Risks
Ensure that a sufficient quantity of vitamin B complex is taken daily and that food rich in calcium and magnesium is a regular part of the diet.Avoid of course those foods which you believe to be harmful to you, which are fattening or which have a bad effect on the skin, all of which can create further unhappiness and stress. Eat lots of fresh green vegetables and drink plenty of fresh water. Cut down on alcohol, tea, coffee, white sugar and salt. Practist deep breathing and take plenty of exercise out in the fresh air. Have more
early nights, read fewer newspapers and watch a little less television, especially those doomwatch documentaries
which are guaranteed to raise anxiety to a high level.
Avoid commercially prepared foods and more especially do not give them to babies, unless it states most specifically that they do not contain artificial additives. Small ehildren’s and older babies’ meals are simple to prepare yourself and whilst they may not be so apparently hygienic as commercial brands are more nourishing and tasty.Children do develop their own immunity to everyday bugs.
Do not use artificial air purihers and sprays. Insteads burn herbs and spices.Buy or make wax polish and buy unperfumed soaps.
Preventions and Cures
It has been recognized for many centuries that honey has curative properties that verge on the miraculous and consequently much mythology and mystery has grown up around the beehive. Sufferers from hayfever and asthma were at one time subjected to a carefully controlled course of bee stings in the belief that this would bring relief from their misery. A less painful cure has now been evolved with the discovery that for centuries beekeepers throughout the world have eaten the combs from their hives and recommended the practice to their neighbours to ease those ailments connected with the chest, nose and throat. There has been much research into the subject and several theories have been put forward, one of which suggests that the bee stings its own comb during production and therefore the all-important cure is in the composition of the sting.The other and more readily accepted
suggestion is that those small neat waxy compartments contain not only nectar and honey but also large amounts of raw pollen. It would therefore follow that a greater immunity to a pollen reaction can be built up by eating the pollen laden combs. To a lesser degree a preventative spoonful of honey or i teaspoon of pollen granules taken early each morning should have the same effect.
Seaside dwellers will swear that a daily plunge into the sea or washing the face with sea water each morning will reduce the chances of affliction. Other masochistic cures include a cold shower daily and sniffing cold water up the nostrils at the start ofthe day.
* Garlic perles Taken daily these provide a more social antidote than raw garlic.
* Crzmnrrzffe and sage tea Both herbs invoice feelings of stoicisrn and calm.
* Camomile, corrijlcwer, eyebright or merigold Use an infusion of any one ofthese healing herbs to bathe sore, irritating eyes. This remedy is especially useful if the eyes have proved allergic to a brand of cosmetic. If a tendency to allergy exists use almond oil to remove eye make up as it does an excellent job while being- very soothing.
* Cemnmile tea bags Used cold, tea bags reduce under eye pufliness.
* Lime, mellow and camcmile tea Use leaves and flowers, l5g(l¢oz) of each herb, boiled in I litre(l£ pints) of water for 5 minutes.Strain and leave until cold then apply on cotton wool pads to restore brightness to red, itchy eyes. It is also a pleasant and soothing tea taken.with lemon and honey.
Basic Herbal Moisturizer or Cream
2 teaspoons grated beeswax
1 teaspoon emuIsifying wax
5 teaspoons almond or sunflower oil
4 tablespoons purihed water
Place the waxes and oil in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat until the waxes are melted. Warm the water and beat it slowly into the oily mixture.Remove from the heat and continue beating until the cream has cooled andemulsified. Pour into clean, dry containers, seal and keep refrigerated.
To this recipe and method you may add any herbal infusion of your own choosing For a specific skin problem. Merely substitute For the purified water a strong herbal infusion. For example 4 Tablespoons of a strong infusion of golden rod used instead ofwater in this recipe will soothe a skin irritated by an allergic reaction.
* Qufnce The sharp, sweet spiciness of quince combined with honey and lemon has a gratifyingly swift effect on tickly throats, nipping in the bud any further desire to sneeze or cough. Below is an Italian recipe which, using the true quince, has a gloriously pervasive smell.
600ml(1 pint) water
juice of 1 large lemon
Wash the quinces and cut into small pieces without peeling or coring.Put into a stainless steel pan with the water, cover and cook gently until quite soft, adding more water if necessary.Turn the cooked fruit into a clean muslin jellybag and leave to drain overnight into a inina bowl.The next day measure the juice gained and add an equal quantity of honey.Bring slowly to the boil and zrmiinue on a slow bubble until the mixture is very syrupy. Pour into clean, jay, warm jars and seal immediately.Take by the spoonfui when required.it can also be added to hot water as a night-time toddy.