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Allergies: Are treatments worse than the condition?
An allergy is an inappropriate or exaggerated reaction by the body's immune system to a substance that in most people causes no reaction. Mold, dust, pollen, pet dander, and even some foods can cause allergic reactions.

Allergic reactions range from mild itching, sneezing or inflamed, itchy skin, to severe hives, hay fever, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Allergens--substances that trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals--can be swallowed (food allergens), inhaled (respiratory allergens), or come into contact with the skin.

Although most people view allergies as nothing more than inconvenient or an annoyance, for some they are a serious and debilitating condition heavily impacting their quality of life. Allergies effect over 1/3 of the population and can cause asthma. Allergic reactions may also cause dizziness, eczema, fever, hay fever, high blood pressure, hives, hypoglycemia, mental disorders, and stomach ulcers.

Allergy shots (Immunotherapy) and antihistamines are the most common treatments used to treat allergies. Their potential effectiveness is limited to allergies other than from foods.
Allergy shots involve giving gradually increasing doses (in some cases up to five years) of the substance, or allergen, to which the person is allergic. The increasing doses are supposed to cause the immune system to become less sensitive to the allergen. Allergy shots do carry the threat of severe adverse reactions. In some cases people have died after receiving an allergy shot.

Antihistamines are a classification of drugs that treat allergies through blocking the effects of histamine, a chemical released in body fluids during an allergic reaction. They can reduce itching, sneezing, and runny noses.

Antihistamines carry risks related to memory, and cognition. They can impair thinking; cause sedation effects similar to alcohol, delayed reaction times, reduced ability to focus and impaired memory. They have been shown to impair children's learning and school performance. They have also been linked to fatal automobile accidents and occupational injuries.

Natural Alternatives
Elder is reknowned for its beneficial effect on colds and flu and allergies. Elder flowers contain anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve the discomforts of upper respiratory tract infections. Additionally, this herb helps to reduce the excessive mucous production that occurs during colds, flu, and allergies.

Oregano is an effective treatment for allergies and allergic complaints. It reduces mucous production and thins the mucous that is produced. This reduces coughing, sneezing and congestion. It helps to open clogged sinus passages allowing for easier breathing. Oregano relieves spasms in the bronchial passages allowing for easier breathing.

Eyebright has traditionally been used to treat conditions of the eyes and mucousal membranes. Acting as an astringent, it helps to control over-production of catarrh in the eyes, nose, and throat. Eyebright has anti-mucous and anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce and relieve the symptoms, and misery of allergies.

Goldenseal is a natural antibiotic herb that boosts the immune system. It is effective in treating many infections and irritations. Goldenseal is ideal for allergy sufferers, as it is a mucous membrane anti-inflammatory that cleanses, soothes and dries mucous membranes.
Natural alternatives can provide new options to allergy sufferers without frightening risk. There are no cases described in the medical literature of systemic allergic reactions to oregano. However if you are allergic to any of the herbs listed above, do not attempt to use them as part of your allergy treatment.
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