Allergies are simply reactions of our immune system to the foreign bodies for our protection. In other words, allergies appearing as rashes, runny nose and eyes, shortness of breath, etc, are alarm signals that a foreign body has invaded our body territory.  While such reactions and alarm signals could be after any invasion to our bodies including an infection or drug reaction, allergies are mostly denoted to reactions to our natural environments including food items.  Such common allergies are reaction to natural and simple items, such as grass, pollens and dust to food items such as sea foods and nuts.  While anyone would react to the real foreign insults such as infections by bacterias,  viruses and poisons, common allergies to nature and foods are peculiar reactions in some of us. Why?

Our immune system, comprised by antibodies specially Immunoglobulin E (IgE) secreted by special white blood cells called mast cells and basophils, react to even the natural and food items if they are recognized as not familiar but foreign, so to cause allergy reactions and symptoms.  This happens only in some of us, for either having a weak immune system, or not being exposed enough to the proper item(s) throughout the life and not early enough!  That is why the natural and perhaps most effective treatment for allergies are exposure to the offending agent(s), gradual or sudden, like the treatment of a fear or phobia!  The allergic shots or vaccines are based on such treatment approach.  

But the most common and over-the-counter treatment of allergies are only symptomatic treatments for alleviation of unbearable symptoms e.g. rashes, runny nose and eyes, congestions and shortness of breath. These common remedies while may alleviate the above annoying symptoms, are never the conclusive treatment, but will lengthen the condition for long and for ever and forcing the patients to avoid the allergic items and go against exposure that is the true and natural remedy.  Most of these common remedies are antihistamines , decongestants and steroids that basically suppress our immune system that secrets histamine other antibodies in our defence.  Therefore by taking these medications, we are suppressing and weakening our immune system.  

Lastly it is imperative to mention that instead of taking and prescribing anti-allergic medicines that suppress our immune system and linger on the allergy for ever and deprive the subjects, mostly our children from enjoying the nature and foods, we as clinicians need to encourage early on exposures.  Most humans of course do not need to get used to poison ivy and poison mushrooms, but it is hard for them to avoid nature altogether and not go for a walk to the woods, gardens or eat common and delicious food items such as sea foods and nuts. So it would be common sense to encourage parents to expose their children from early on to the nature and these food items in order not to develop such miserable allergic reactions and hence foster their immune system!            

Dr.Mostafa Showraki, MD, FRCPC                                                               Lecturer, University of Toronto,School of Medicine,Author: “ADHD:Revisited” Book “”/””

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