To learn how to handle allergies, it is important to understand what an allergy is. We hear about grass, mold, cats, dogs and bees causing allergies but the reality is that your immune system is the root of all allergies! In his book, Allergy Free with Dr. Z, Dr. Z tells us why.
The Science Behind Allergies
Allergy Free with Dr. Z defines allergies as occurring “when our immune system misidentifies a benign, harmless external substance as a threat to health.” While people see allergies as itchy eyes, runny noses and skin rashes, allergies affects people on a microscopic level. The external substance that has offended the body is attacked. While the two fight it out, another substance is released. These substances (chemicals, such as histamines) cause all the reactions that impact the body. It is the Battle for the Body!
So it is really the reaction of the immune system to kittens, that is an allergy—not the sweet and innocent kitten itself. Some allergic reactions are genetic (Thanks Mom!) while others are can be the result of not enough exposure to the allergen during infancy.
Babies, Dirt, Allergies…Oh My!
Today’s infants spend their time in very clean environments. No one has their babies crawling around in the backyard. However, as Dr. Z states, “a baby’s instinct to put things in their mouth is actually an important part of developing a healthy immune system.” In other words, eating a little dirt here and there helps build our immune systems. Since allergies are the immune system overreacting, coming in contact with at least some dirt or allergens can help the body to learn proper reactions to the various objects in our environment. Unfortunately, people are missing this opportunity and allergies have become more commonplace.
Now that you know what allergies are, you’ll be better equipped to deal with them. In the next few blogs, we talk about the next steps. Naturally, we would say the first order of business will be to make an appointment with your allergist. (In the meantime, you can order Dr. Z’s book on Amazon!)