Under normal circumstances, a healthy body quietly neutralizes the numerous foreign substances it encounter on a daily basis. But in millions of cases, the body overreacts to these irritants, producing great discomfort and sometimes life-threatening symptoms – these people are allergic, suffering from asthma, eczema, rhinitis, hay fever or rashes. Some occasionally suffers from a more dramatic swelling of the mouth and throat, which requires urgent hospitals treatment, possibly even a stay in the intensive care unit. Two ideas are important when it comes to allergies: a predisposition to allergies often runs in families and a family history of the condition can regularly be discovered through questioning of the patient: and although psychological factors may worsen the symptoms, they are certainly not the causes of them. Cases of respiratory allergies have doubled over the last 20 years, most likely because of changes in lifestyle, and the overwhelming influence of environmental factors, such as atmospheric pollution and greater exposure to recirculated air and food additives. But by following some of the complementary therapies I propose in this chapter, the great majority of allergy sufferers should be able to lead almost normal lives.
Dust and dust mite allergies – Food allergies – Asthma – Hay fever.
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