ENVIRONMENTAL AND FOOD ALLERGIES
Vancouver has some of the highest rates of allergies in the world. Research shows ¼ of all children have allergies. In the few years, people who have never complained of environmental allergies have all of a sudden started getting symptoms. Needles to say the sale of anti-histamines is through the roof. But if people aren’t dealing with the exhaustion from allergies they are dealing with the side effects of anti-histamines, which include exhaustion. We become tolerant to anti-histamines too so they don’t always work forever.
One of the best conventional treatments for allergies is allergy de-sensitization through injections of the same substances we are allergic to. This is a painful, too frequent and inconvenient and not-always-effective strategy. Some people even have allergic reactions to the injections. It seems allergists are also moving away from shots.
A newer model of therapy called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) uses the same antigens (things we are allergic to) like grass and dilutes the substance to a very small amount, which is then taken as a prescription medication by mouth every day for months. This can allow for our immune system to become familiar with the antigen and allow for the stopping of the allergic response thereafter.
Many people don’t even know what they are allergic to in the first place. Scratch testing is an assessment tool we use to determine what the allergy is and then determine what SLIT would be suitable. Scratch testing used to be only reserved for allergists, but trained NDs can use it with great success in practice. SLIT treatments are also covered by most drug plans as they are by prescription.
Food sensitivities and allergies are often found together with environmental allergies. Testing for these potential triggers can also be part of the solution to getting rid of allergies altogether. Atopic conditions like eczema and asthma are connected to allergies. Often people find when one is improved the others follow.