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Treating Food Allergies With Cromolyn Sodium

Our immune system generally attacks disease-causing agents such as bacteria and viruses. However, when we develop a certain allergy, our immune system incorrectly assumes that the particular foreign body or the allergen, which can be pollen, food, dust, etc., is harmful, when in fact they are actually harmless and attacks these allergens by producing antibodies. These antibodies in turn initiate certain cells to produce histamine directly into the blood stream. Histamine is the product that causes the allergic symptoms of sneezing, itchiness and the other symptoms that an allergy would have.

The standard treatment for allergies is to block the immune response. This method will not however deal with the main cause of the allergy but will only suppress the symptoms, sometimes causing patients to suffer from various side effects. The patient becomes dependent on their medication and constantly suppressing the immune system may affect an individual's overall health and well being.

The best treatment is therefore to avoid the allergen. This is not 100% possible but it can be done to a certain extent. Some ways you can avoid them are:

. If you suffer from a cat or dog allergy - cat allergens are sticky and can be carried unknowingly on your clothing. They may also be air borne. Therefore using an exhaust fan, opening the windows often, usage of air filters and cleaners can minimize risk. Pets should be bathed regularly in order to reduce dander. Pets should not be allowed into the bedroom.

. If you are allergic to pollen - Keep your windows closed when it is pollen season and change your clothes immediately when you come back indoors. If you suffer from allergies caused by dust and other environmental factors - Make sure the environment is kept clean all the time. By cleaning up the surrounding environment you can reduce dust mites, dust etc. Stop smoking, drink clean water, avoid using air fresheners, mothballs. Avoid the use of perfumes, hair sprays. When using chemicals use a surgical mask, also use gloves.

. If you suffer from allergies caused by mold - Limit houseplants, good ventilation is essential, therefore open windows whenever and wherever possible, avoid using carpeting as much as possible in homes as carpets tend to collect dust more than hard floors. Keep bathrooms clean and dry. Avoid going to damp areas.

. Food allergies - If you know what types of food you are allergic to, it is best you avoid these types of foods as most food allergy treatments are avoidance of the allergen itself.

If you do get an allergy, however, shots and medications are used to treat some of them.

Shots - Here a small amount of the allergen itself is injected into the system, thereby causing the development of antibodies. The longer the period of time the person has been receiving the shots the more antibodies will have developed thereby raising a persons tolerance level when encountering the allergen, in turn severity of the symptoms reduces and also fewer symptoms appear. This is known as allergen immunotherapy and is only used for specific allergies.

Medication - Some of the medications are antihistamines, epinephrine, decongestants, Cromolyn Sodium/Nedocromil Sodium and corticosteroids.

Michael RussellYour Independent guide to Allergies