Allergies refers to a group of symptoms including sneezing, runny nose or eyes, nasal congestion, and possibly headaches. Seasonal allergies generally occur in the spring, summer, and fall, although people can have more than one of these. Year-round allergies are usually due to fungus spores, dust, or animal dander. Seasonal allergies are usually tree pollen in the springtime, grass pollen in the summertime, and weed pollen in the fall. Asthma and sinusitis are considered separate illness from allergies.
Most patients with allergies have a history of being treated with repeated antibiotics as children as well as eating a diet high in sugars and sweets, dairy products, fruit juices, and grain products containing yeast. Stress may also play a part in this condition. Western medical treatments mainly relies on antihistamines and sympathomimetic type drugs, such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. However, both of these drugs have side effects which make them impractical for many people. Glucocorticoids and corticosteroids may be used if antihistamines aren’t enough; long term use of steroids also have side effects which many people find objectionable.
In Chinese medicine, all patients with allergies are believed to have deep-lying or hidden phlegm in their lungs which only becomes apparent when the lung’s function is damaged by an external source. There is also considered an underperforming defensive mechanism as well as digestive system. The digestive system’s problems are mainly due to either improper nutrition or inappropriate use of antibiotics. Allergies left untreated for a long time can also lead to adrenal fatigue.
Herbal medicine and acupuncture will be different depending on whether the patient is in an acute allergy state or not. If the allergy is seasonal, begin treatments six weeks to three months before your allergy season.
— Jeff Fox, L. Ac.