JUNE 16, 1997
A: I find allergic reaction to things in the air (pollen, grass, molds, spores, and fumes) to be a matter of how much you are exposed to and how susceptible your body's "allergy" system is at the time of exposure. Therefore, reducing either exposure and/or susceptibility might reduce the severity or number of attacks. Even if pollen is the big trigger, reducing contact with dust, cigarette smoke, cut grass, etc., will help.
You can lower susceptibility by getting as much sleep as you need, reducing body stimulants such as sugar, caffeine, or nicotine, avoiding foods you might be sensitive to, and drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water per day with a squeeze of fresh lemon for flavor.
Some people find a 1-3 day fast is helpful. A number of herbal formulations for allergies, and higher doses of vitamin C and citrus bioflavinoids are also helpful. Acupuncture, by stimulating the immune system, is effective in many instances. There is also an acupressure point in the center of the webbing between the thumb and index finger that, when stimulated on both hands, works like an antihistamine.
Henry Hochberg, M.D., is a board certified family physician with a special interest in wellness and natural approaches to healthcare. Send your health and medical questions to: Ask Dr. Henry, c/o Woodinville Weekly; P.O. Box 587; Woodinville, WA 98072; or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.