Health & Wellness Blog


Ready Your Allergy Arsenal

According to Estelle Levetin of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology aerobiology committee, allergy seasons are getting worse year after year since pollen levels are increasing. In 2012, fall allergies are likely to affect over 12 million Americans and they will last about 27 days longer than in the previous year.

To prepare your allergy arsenal, you first have to know what to expect in terms of symptom and the triggers of these symptoms. Different allergies have different symptoms and different triggers. Most fall and spring allergies cause itchy eyes, running nose and sneezing. Spring allergies run from February towards the end of July. They are mainly caused by tree pollen, weeds and grasses. Fall allergies start from the middle of August and end at the beginning of the first fall frost. These allergies are mostly caused by ragweed plant pollen, dust mites and mold.

Pollution Induced Allergies

Pollution does not help issues. According to Jeffrey G. Demain who is the director of the Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center of Alaska, global warming now means spring allergies are now starting sooner while fall allergies are ending later. Global warming is being fueled by the burning of carbon-based fuels which generate greenhouse gases. These gases trap heat within the atmosphere and causes increase in temperatures.

Allergies in PollenAccording to Jeffrey G. Demain, carbon dioxide emission from the burning of fossil fuels, especially by car engines and factories, has the effect of increasing the amount of pollen generated by each plant. This is particularly so in urban areas where cars and factories are concentrated. The high CO2 emissions are also contributing to the high levels of allergies in that they are making the pollen more potent.

According to Estelle Levetin, temperature increases due to global warming prompt plants and trees to flower earlier each spring and they delay the death of the ragweed plant from frost in the fall. The fall allergies are now going into winter. The high temperatures also increase mold growth and the production of its spores.

Allergies Growing in Numbers

According to the National Institute of Health, the number of Americans who have allergies is 2 to 5 times higher than it was 30 years ago. Genes can be attributed to this. Estelle Levetin asserts that we are cleaner than we used to be, leading to the overreaction of our immune systems whenever they find pollen and other harmless substances. We are cleaner at a time when the environment is dirtier.

The modern diet is contributing to the rise in allergy levels. According to Gary Huffnagle of the University of Michigan, we are eating processed and preserved foods, foods that do not have the tough fibers from grains and plants our ancestors used to eat. This throws off the delicate bacteria balance in our stomachs and makes us more sensitive to allergies.

It is important that you ready your allergy arsenal months in advance since chances are that somebody close to you will have an allergic reaction this spring or fall. You could go online for the latest information on the allergies and what you require to prepare for them.

There are websites, blogs and discussion forums where you can get the latest information. Your arsenal could comprise of natural remedies, unfiltered honey, pills, rinsing to keep the sinuses clean and several others.


15 Facts About Allergies You Probably Didn't Know

Allergies are hypersensitivity disorders of the immune system. You get an allergic reaction when your immune system reacts to substances that are normally harmless (allergen). Allergic reactions are predictable, rapid, and acquired. There are several things about allergies that you probably did not know.

1) Based on statistics from the National Institute of Health, 1 in every 2 U.S. citizens has at least one allergy.

2) The body's immune system runs on white blood cells. These white blood cells are responsible for fighting diseases and sustaining optimal conditions for the body. The white blood cells sometimes lie dormant for years and launch attacks where an attack is not called for. They can be taken to act like the small bands of Japanese soldiers who did not hear about the end of the Second World War for years and who would attack peaceful villagers in guerrilla attacks years after the war had ended.

3) Being allergic to penicillin is the scariest of all allergies. The allergy often causes fatal anaphylaxis. To many people, the most disgusting allergy is allergy to cockroaches.

4) Protein causes most food allergies. The body's immune system responds negatively to some proteins. Studies are however, showing that it is possible to distract the immune system from rejecting proteins. Parasites that will not harm the body can be injected to distract the immune system from proteins. A 2004 experiment by Trinity College, Dublin team worked.

5) The experiment by the team from Trinity College, Dublin was well received in the scientific world. Jasper Lawrence, a British entrepreneur, in 2007 visited Cameroon and acquired hookworms by walking barefoot near pit latrines. He hoped that as the body fought the hookworms, his seasonal allergies and asthma would be defeated. This too, worked.

6) Jasper Lawrence has ventured into the business of shipping parasites to different parts of the world (but not the U.S. where this is prohibited by the FDA). He sells 35 hookworm larvae for $3,000.

7) The hookworm larvae are applied to a bandage and the bandage slapped on. The hookworms will wriggle through the skin after several minutes.

8) Allergies to food cause fatalities. In the U.S., between 150 and 200 people die each year as a result of allergies to such foods as nuts, shellfish, eggs, fish, and milk.

9) Hannes Harms is in the process of coming up with edible radio-frequency ID tags. The industrial engineer who is based in London is designing tags that will be mixed with meals to record the meals' composition. You will then get warnings whenever you are about to eat meals that have ingredients you are allergic to.

10) Walking in the grass could lead to tick bites. Tick bites can cause the body's immune system to produce alpha-gal antibodies, meaning you will not be able to eat lamb, beef, and pork again.

11) 40,000 women in the U.S. are believed to be allergic to the male ejaculate. The condition is called seminal plasma hypersensitivity. This can lead to social and psychology issues as well.

12) Women who suffer from autoimmune progesterone dermatitis can get allergic rashes as a result of their own sex hormones.

13) Your dander can cause an allergic rash in cats and dogs as well as to other humans.

14) Many people in the U.S. are allergic to ragweed pollen. The ragweed pollen season has been lengthening over the years, thanks to climate change.

15) Nickel can trigger a metal allergy that will last a lifetime. Avoid nickel coated jewelry.

Do you know of any interesting facts about allergies that you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.


Can Clothing be Harmful to Your Health?

custom neon tanks topsFrom body shapers to skinny jeans, we know all the latest trends these days. Be it men or women, everyone wants to carry latest fashion clothing in the best possible manner. But, did you know that some of the latest trends in the world of fashion, from fabric to styles, can actually be harmful to your health?

Let’s explore a few current fads and clothing styles that you might be wearing (and may be hindering your wellness.)

Synthetic Fibers and Allergies

Let’s start with the basic - fabric! Today, market is full of synthetic materials, not because they are in trend, but because the clothes that new labels make, use synthetic fibers to make the fashion industry more affordable for fashionistas.

From a neon tank tops to full-fledged jeans, you can find each and every clothing line, and label using synthetic fibers like lycra, polyester, spandex, nylon and microfiber. These fibers predispose us to develop a number of skin allergies that can have long term effect on one’s health and overall well-being. Instead, opt for organic cotton neon tank tops and soft jeans that don't wreak havoc on your skin.

Skinny Jeans and Digestive Issues

Tight clothes, particularly skinny jeans, low waist trousers and tight pants are ruling the market and closet of every adult and teen. But, not many people realize that wearing tight pants can have a number of harmful consequences to their overall digestive system, particularly when somebody overeats.

Tight clothes put excessive pressure on the stomach, which is known as “intragastric pressure” or “intra-abdominal pressure”. These conditions can actually trigger the problem of acid reflux. Acid reflux is a condition when your stomach starts pushing the stomach acid back up through your lower esophageal junction, causing heartburn.

Acid reflux has become a common problem, and not just for older adults, but also for people between the age of 20 and 30-year-old. Even someone who is totally fit and active can develop reflux by wearing tight clothes continuously over a two-week period.

Compression Undergarments and Nerve Pain

Who doesn't want to look slim? Everyone does, but the new trend is definitely not doing any good to anyone in terms of health. Designed to make your flab and bulging tummy disappear, body-shapers like control-top pantyhose and compression undergarments also have a severe downside.

Tight garments worn regularly on the upper thigh and lower abdominal region can cause meralgia paresthetica - a condition that leads to irritation in the nerves of your thighs. The symptoms include pain, tingling, burning in the thigh area and hypersensitivity.

The only prevention is to stop using body shapers. Once in a while is fine, but over using can be really harmful for your skin, nerves and muscles in the long run.

Tight Ties, Shirts and Poor Circulation

Men can also have issues with tight-clothing. It has been proved that constant use of tight ties can lead to a number of neck related problems. Doctors suggest that tight neckties can result in poor blood circulation in the neck, leading to a number of health conditions.

It has been studied that necktie can lead to a number of modest changes in cerebrovascular reactivity, which can affect the dilation ability of arteries in the human brain, a potential reason for stroke.

These were just a few type of clothing and some effects that they can have on your health. Apart from these body-hugging dresses, neon tank tops and other clothes that might make you look appealing can lead to a number of complications, when worn on regular basis.


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