Do You Want to Just Suppress Your Allergy Symptoms or Actually Fix What’s Causing Them?

 

Source: natural-health-journals.com
Spring has arrived. Maybe you’ve been hit hard with seasonal allergies this year and are suffering with clogged sinuses and the other symptoms that often go along with that misery: sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sore throat, fatigue or weakness.
Have you noticed that the numerous ads for allergy medicines, both OTC and prescription, tout their ability to alleviate your SYMPTOMS but don’t say they’ll address the inflammatory response that’s CAUSING the allergies themselves?
Symptom relief is Western Medicine’s standard approach to allergies, as represented by this statement on  WebMD:

“In general, there is no cure for allergies, but there are several types of medications available — both over-the-counter and prescription — to help ease and treat annoying symptoms like congestion and runny nose. These allergy drugs include antihistamines, decongestants, combination drugs, corticosteroids, and others.” (WebMD, 2017)
Read on if you’re interested in addressing what’s actually causing those symptoms – and much of what else is ailing you.

 

 

CHRONIC INFLAMMATION & ALLERGIES

Source: statistics.ge
The symptoms of seasonal allergies are actually indications of chronic inflammation in the body that are producing an autoimmune response. Taking drugs may suppress these symptoms but does nothing to reduce the chronic inflammation – and actually makes it worse. Chronic inflammation in the body is a precursor of chronic disorders and diseases.

Chronic inflammation –> autoimmune conditions & diseases

“Autoimmunity is the system of immune responses of an organism against its own healthy cells and tissues. Any disease that results from such an aberrant immune response is termed an autoimmune disease.” (Wikipedia, 2017)
Source: Many infinities, Inc.

 

Autoimmune conditions and disorders include:
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Skin conditions (such as acne, eczema and rosacea)
  • Digestive problems (such as irritable bowel disease, gut strictures and Crohn’s disease)
  • The combination of diseases called Metabolic Syndrome (elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting plasma glucose, high serum triglycerides and low high-density cholesterol (HDL) levels)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Repeating sinus and yeast infections
  • Gum disease and tooth decay
  • Cancers
  • … and many more
Inflammation accumulates in the body until it can’t deal with it any more and the inflammatory symptoms turn into a full blown disease.

 

Source: Easy Paleo

 

The immune systems of people with seasonal (and other) allergies have developed low level, chronic inflammation. When they are exposed to a harmless substance like pollen, their immune systems respond as if a severe threat to the body has been encountered and  needs to be destroyed at all cost. In this overblown immune response, the body tries to sneeze the pollen out, mucus and local inflammation in the sinuses and nose build up to try to isolate the rest of the body from the ‘perceived-as-dangerous’ substance. And you’re miserable!
So if you want to fix your allergies, you have to reduce the chronic inflammation in your body and let your immune system calm down.

 

 

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET

A good way to reduce inflammation in your body is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. You’ll find many such diets online. This one is from Dr Gary Kaplan, a pioneer in the field of Integrative Medicine:
  1. Consume at least 25 grams of fiber every day
  2. Eat a minimum of nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day
  3. Eat four servings of both alliums and crucifers every week
  4. Limit saturated fat to 10 percent of your daily calories
  5. Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  6. Eat fish at least three times a week
  7. Use oils that contain healthy fats
  8. Eat healthy snacks twice a day
  9. Avoid processed foods and refined sugars
  10. Cut out trans fats
  11. Sweeten meals with phytonutrient-rich fruits, and flavor foods with spices
See 11 Food Rules For The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Diet for the details and a good information on the connection between allergies and chronic inflammation. (Kaplan, 2015)

 

 

 

 

ALLERGY MEDICINES’ SIDE EFFECTS, WARNINGS & INTERACTIONS

 

Other reasons to reconsider taking medications for seasonal allergies are the negative side effects you may get from taking these drugs, the warnings about who shouldn’t take them, and the drug interaction warnings.

 

XYZAL ALLERGY 24 HR (levocetirizine)

 

 

Xyzal (levocetirizine) is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of histamines in the body. Histamines can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose.

MOST COMMON SIDE EFFECTS

  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • sore throat
  • stuffy or runny nose

SOME OTHER OBSERVED SIDE EFFECTS

  • anxiety
  • dark urine
  • decrease in urine volume
  • painful urination
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • blurred or loss of vision
  • disturbed color perception
  • dizziness
  • double vision
  • over-bright appearance of lights
  • night blindness
  • dry mouth
  • fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
  • hyperventilation
  • irritability
  • itching skin
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • nausea and vomiting
  • nervousness
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • seizures
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble  sleeping
  • tunnel vision
  • body aches or pain
  • diarrhea

Additional side effects have been observed. Here’s the entire list.

WARNINGS

To make sure Xyzal is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • gallbladder problems
  • urination problems (caused by conditions such as enlarged prostate or spinal cord lesion)

You should not use Xyzal if you are allergic to levocetirizine or cetirizine (Zyrtec).

It is not known whether Xyzal will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Levocetirizine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Xyzal is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 months old.

Do not take Xyzal if you have end-stage kidney disease or if you are on dialysis. Any child younger than 12 years old with kidney disease should not take this medicine.

Before taking Xyzal, tell your doctor if you have liver disease, kidney disease, or gallbladder problems.

It is very important not to give a child more than the prescribed dose of Xyzal. A child’s body absorbs twice as much of the same dose size of levocetirizine as an adult’s body.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, if they get worse, or if you also have a fever.

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking Xyzal with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • ritonavir (Norvir, Kaletra)
  • theophylline (Aquaphyllin, Asmalix, Elixophyllin, Theolair, Theosol)

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with levocetirizine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

(Drugs.com, 2017A)

 

ALLEGRA ALLERGY 24 HR (fexofenadine)

 

 

MOST COMMON SIDE EFFECT

  • Vomiting

SOME OTHER OBSERVED SIDE EFFECTS

  • chest tightness
  • feeling of warmth, redness of the face, neck, arms and occasionally, upper chest
  • large, hive-like swelling on face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • shortness of breath, difficult or labored breathing
  • body aches or pain
  • chills
  • coughing
  • difficulty moving
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • loss of voice
  • muscle pains or stiffness
  • nasal congestion
  • nausea
  • stomach upset
  • diarrhea
  • pain in arms or legs
  • pain or tenderness around eyes or cheekbones
  • painful menstrual bleeding
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • swollen joints
  • unusual feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • viral infection (such as cold and flu)
  • nervousness
  • sleeplessness

Additional side effects have been observed. Here’s the entire list.

WARNINGS

If you are allergic to any drugs or if you have kidney disease, ask a doctor or pharmacist before taking Allegra.

Fexofenadine is primarily eliminated by the kidney and the risk of toxic reactions may be greater in patients with renal impairment due to decreased drug clearance. Care should be taken in dose selection and it may be useful to monitor renal function.

Do not take Allegra with fruit juice (such as apple, orange, or grapefruit).

It is not known whether Allegra will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine. It is not known whether fexofenadine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

DRUG & FOOD INTERACTIONS

A total of 71 drugs (285 brand and generic names) are known to interact with Allegra.

  • 56 moderate drug interactions (229 brand and generic names)
  • 15 minor drug interactions (56 brand and generic names)

There may be other drugs that can affect Allegra. Tell your doctor about all medications you use, including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Consuming large amounts of certain fruit juices, including grapefruit, orange and apple, may decrease the levels of fexofenadine in your body. Fexofenadine should be taken with water. Refrain from drinking large amounts of grapefruit, orange, or apple juice.

(Drugs.com, 2017B)

Look at ads for pretty much all the pharmaceuticals in Western Medicine’s arsenal and you’ll see they too are designed only to suppress or reduce symptoms, not address the underlying cause of those symptoms so you become healthier, not just feel less unhealthy.

 

 

CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE VS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

Source: Integrated Wellness Bountiful, Utah
If you truly want to fix your allergies, you’re going to have to reduce the amount of chronic inflammation in your body and not rely on conventional Western Medicine, which generally focuses on reducing symptoms.
Source: Restore to Health Wellness Center!

 

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE

While on YouTube looking for real allergy medicine ads, I came across this parody, for a fake drug called ‘Antihistemenia’ and its side effects. Laughing at it cleared my sinuses.

 

 

 

FURTHER READING

Chronic inflammation in the body:

     Increased Gut Permeability – Causes & Consequences

     Reducing Inflammation in the Body

Functional Medicine and its focus on identifying and rectifying the underlying causes of symptoms:

     Dr Amy Myers Explains Functional Medicine

     Functional Medicine vs. Western Medicine

     Incremental Medicine + Functional Medicine = Good Medicine

Addressing the underlying cause of seasonal allergies:

     Probiotics for Spring (and Other) Allergies

 

 

Source: NicksFit

 

 

This post is dedicated to the memory of Russell Hardin.

 

 

REFERENCES

Drugs.com. (2017A). XYZAL. See: https://www.drugs.com/xyzal.html

Drugs.com. (2017B). Allegra. See: https://www.drugs.com/allegra.html

Hardin, J.R. (2/14/2014). Reducing Inflammation in the Body. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/02/14/reducing-inflammation-body/

Hardin, J.R. (12/7/2014). Dr Amy Myers Explains Functional Medicine. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/12/07/dr-amy-myers-explains-functional-medicine/

Hardin, J.R. (5/10/2015). INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/05/10/increased-gut-permeability-causes-consequences/

Hardin, J.R. (6/2/2015). Functional Medicine vs. Western Medicine. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/06/02/functional-vs-western-medicine/

Hardin, J.R. (2/5/2017). Incremental Medicine + Functional Medicine = Good Medicine. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2017/02/05/incremental-medicine-functional-medicine-good-medicine/

Kaplan, G.(2015). 11 Food Rules For The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Diet. See: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-22607/11-food-rules-for-the-ultimate-anti-inflammatory-diet.html

WebMD. (2017). Allergy Medicines. See: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-medications#1

Wikipedia. (4/15/2017). Autoimmunity. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoimmunity

 

 

© Copyright 2017. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.