What is an allergy?
By Definition, “Allergies are abnormal or inappropriate reactions of the nervous system that occur in response to otherwise harmless substances.”
– Alternative Medicine Encyclopedia
An allergy is defined as the body’s inappropriate reaction to an otherwise harmless substance. This is why most people can drink milk, eat peanuts and spend time outdoors even during the peak of spring bloom. Some people have weaker immune systems than others which creates a genetic predisposition to conditions such as allergies and asthma but the substances that cause the chronic symptoms in some people are individually harmless in the vast majority of the population. The reasoning is the nervous system mistakenly believes that a specific and otherwise harmless substance is toxic or poisonous and triggers histamines to fight and expel the substance from the body. If you research allergies, you’ll find a number of different explanations for how somebody develops an allergy but everyone is in agreement that it’s a combination of genetic predisposition, a weakened immune system and in many allergy sufferers simply learned inappropriate causal association in the brain. Almost everyone can identify a food such as shell fish, a medication or environmental substance that never caused any discomfort and later in life triggered an allergic reaction.
In many cases, the negative association with a substance is caused by a trauma the body experiences. The brain assumes the substance caused the trauma and the next time the substance is in proximity to the individual, the brain assumes the trauma is soon to follow. It is a simple causal association, much like Pavlovian conditioning. In an effort to save you from going through the trauma, the brain tries to expel the substance triggering an allergic reaction.
Even though we know the problem is simply a learned response or association, the traditional treatment approach is medication designed to stop the production of histamine. Our approach is different, we believe in a school of thought that reasons, if a reaction can be learned, it can therefore be unlearned. Through Pavlovian conditioning or positive conditioning, we can teach the body to respond in a neutral manner.
“Exposure to allergens at certain times when the body’s defenses are lowered or weakened, such as a viral infection or pregnancy, seems to contribute to the development of allergies.” — National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
ALLERGIES IN NORTH AMERICA
- Approximately one in five or more than 50 million (53,980,772) Americans suffer from allergic diseases.
- An estimated 37,786,541 Americans have a pollen allergy.
- Between six and seven million adults in the US have a food allergy.
- Roughly 20 million Americans have asthma — three times as many as 25 years ago. One in eight children suffer from the disease.
- It is estimated that 12,000,000 American have food allergies.
- In 2002, approximately 14 million office visits to health care providers were attributed to allergic rhinitis.
- Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic disease in the United States, costing the health care system $18 billion annually.
- Chronic sinusitis is the most commonly reported chronic disease, affecting 16.3% of people (nearly 32 million) in the United States in 1997.
- It was estimated in 1998 that increased absenteeism and reduced productivity due to allergies cost U.S. companies more than $250 million.
- The estimated overall costs of allergic rhinitis in the United States in 1996 totaled $6 billion.
- The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital states that not only has the number of children suffering from allergies increased, so has the severity of the allergic reactions.
- Over 6 million people in Canada have allergies.
- An estimated 4,182,998 Canadians suffer from pollen allergies.
- 12% of Canadian children are affected by asthma and it continues to be a major cause of hospitalization in Canada.
- In 1993, over $12 billion was spent on asthma
At Advanced Allergy Centers, we do not diagnose, treat or cure.
Only a licensed physician in the U.S. can claim to do that.
We do not take the place of your physician.