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 Annual 2007

Annual 2007

 

           
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Allergies

Fighting Asthma and Allergens

    More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, reports the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and Ron Starkey is one of them.

    Starkey, who lives in Alameda, has suffered from allergies all his life. “As a child, I had allergy shots as treatment, but later in life I gave up the shots and just treated the symptoms,” he says.

    In other words, he took large dosages of various over-the-counter allergy medicines and nasal sprays for the associated sneezing, wheezing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. Starkey also suffers from adult asthma, which is interconnected to his allergies.

    Allergies are diseases of the immune system that cause an overreaction to substances called allergens. There are many types of allergies, categorized by the kind of trigger, time of year or where symptoms appear on the body. There are indoor and outdoor allergies, which most people know as hay fever, seasonal, perennial or nasal allergies. People can also suffer from food and drug allergies, latex allergies, insect allergies, skin allergies and eye allergies.

    Allergies represent a weakness in the body’s defense system and can create physical reactions that take many forms and vary from individual to individual. Hay fever brings on sneezes, itchy eyes and runny or stuffy noses. Digestive allergies cause vomiting, cramps and diarrhea. Asthma, an allergic reaction itself, causes labored breathing, wheezing and coughing attacks. Skin allergies result in hives, eczema, cold sores and canker sores. Epilepsy and migraine headaches can be traced to allergies at times.

    Successful allergy treatment is available for many allergy sufferers. Treatment is generally based on the results of allergy tests, medical history and the severity of the symptoms. There are a few different treatment strategies, including avoidance of the allergens or specific triggers (staying away from cats, for example, or not eating nuts), medication options or immunotherapy (allergy shots). Many allergy sufferers try chiropractic treatment with great results. Starkey has been working with an allergy specialist for many years.

    “First, I was tested to find out what types of allergies I have,” Starkey says. These tests involve using tiny amounts of commonly troublesome allergens on skin or in blood. “The tests show that I am highly allergic to grasses and trees, less so to dust mites.”

    For years, Starkey received regular allergy shots in his doctor’s office, but now he gives himself shots twice each week to keep his allergies in check and takes an over-the-counter antihistamine every day.

    Although there are no cures for allergies, people who have them can improve their situation and live healthy and active lives when they follow a treatment plan. Starkey is an avid bicyclist and motorcyclist, spending considerable time outdoors.

     “I use a bandana with a charcoal filter sewn in when I ride my Harley,” he says. The practice allows him to take in the breeze and still breathe easily. ✚ Edit Module