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ALLERGIES, transcript of the show.

John:   Hi! Welcome to “Living is Easy” with John and Josh.  I am John Petrozzi and I am Josh Hamilton.

Josh:    What is on the show today John?

John:   Well, Josh.  Today we are going to talk about allergies. Do you have any allergies?

Josh:    I don’t, actually.

John:   I just got one little allergy which is the tamarillo. It’s a fruit.  It looks like a tomato.  But, that’s about it.

Josh:    What happens if you eat a tamarillo?

John:   When I was a kid, I ate a tamarillo fruit and I came out in a massive rash, and hives all over my body.   It wasn’t very nice.

Josh:    So, we will be talking about all that?

John:   Exactly right, I think sometimes that allergies are a bit misconstrued.  Some don’t even know exactly what an allergy is.

Josh:    Well, what is an allergy?

John:   An allergy is really an abnormal reaction that your body has to a substance.  So for instance, let’s say you come in contact with dust or a pollen from a tree that is in your garden.  Normally your body produces an immune response to the substance that comes into you and it builds up a bit of a self defense mechanism as it turns on you produce some IGE cells which are killer cells.  It kills off the pollen that attach to it.  And then what happens is your body produces a desensitization to it.  But normally, if you are allergic to something, that thing that produced the allergy causes your body to go into an over-reaction so you start to produce watery eyes, for instance, itchy skin, runny nose and all those sorts of things.

Josh:    And what type of things can do this?

John:   Well you have got pollens, mold spores, house dust mites, animal, animal fur, foods can even do it.  Insect bites or stings, plants, insect spores, even latex rubber can cause allergies as well.  You’ve got viruses, bacteria, medications, and environmental conditions even like cold temperatures can produce an allergic reaction. 

Josh:    Okay.

John:   It’s amazing, isn’t it? 

Josh:    It is.

John:   It is an interesting fact because hot and cold temperatures are all a part of living but if your body is producing an over-reaction to cold weather for instance it comes out in hives or itchiness then you know your body is screaming out and saying “Hey I am not quite right.  Sit down and try to figure out what is going on.”

Josh:    Does that happen with many people? With the hot and cold?

John:   Actually you will be surprised which people it actually affects?

Josh:    Mostly the extreme cold.

John:   Yeah mostly the extreme cold.  So really whenever we talk about symptoms or allergies or  allergies or symptoms, whichever way you want to look at it,  it’s really a sign or a side effect.  It is a sign that your body is telling you “Hey something is not right!” so It’s a good time to take stock of your life style that may be producing too much over-reaction to your body or too much stress.  So, look at the amount of exercise you are getting. Are you getting enough exercise?  Look at the sort of food you are eating.  Are you eating too much of one sort and not enough of other foods?  Are you having too much stress in your life?  Do you sleep enough? Do you have enough rest and relaxation?  Is your nervous system working properly? So, as a chiropractor we work on the people’s nervous system and the spine.  So we adjust the spine to take the pressure off the nervous system so that your body can start to respond to the external environment and be healthy. 

Josh:    What else is there?

John:   Positive thoughts as well. So if you are down and out your body is not really responsive to the external environment so you might be as reactive to things and your body might start to suffer from allergies for instance.

Josh:    And can you develop allergies because of this?

John:   Yeah definitely. So for instance, let’s say you have a diet where you are just eating apples.  That’s all you eat: apples, apples for dinner, apples for lunch, apples for breakfast, apples as a snack as well.  What your body is actually doing there is you’ll be lacking in certain minerals and vitamins from your diet because you are not getting it by eating just apples.  And what will happen is your body will become sensitive to everything around you.  So because your diet is so restrictive you might start to produce allergies to other foods as you start to introduce them back into your diet again.

Josh:    Is that because you are not really used to that sort of thing?

John:   Exactly. And that’s really how a child develops their immunity. Because just say we were born an adults straight away and we did not actually go through the process of building our immunity from a new born, right through to a child, right through adolescence;

And, we just came out as an adult straight away we would be allergic to everything we touched.  We would be allergic to the air that we breathe.

Josh:    So when you are born you are constantly getting used to things around you.

John:   Exactly and they say that babies who are breastfed develop a stronger immune system from birth compared to someone who isn’t breastfed and you’ve got a lots of immune system cells going through moms milk right through to the baby and the baby’s blood and system responding to those chemicals and substances as producing its own immune system and immune defense system as a result of that as well

Josh:    So having an allergy to a peanut or something, that is not genetic or that’s how you have been raised?

John:   It can be, it can be when one is being raised, but there is quite a big genetic predisposition to it as well though. So, you’ve got your inborn intelligence that if it is not working right, for instance genetics is not working right you may be more susceptible to a certain substance.   They can also cause allergies to be created overtime if you are restricting your diet for instance or if you are restricting your environment. So actually I saw a really interesting program on the weekend it was about bacteria and microbes and they said that cultures who live in environments where they are surrounded by for instance cow manure because the cow manure has got a certain bacteria in that and the people, villages are always working around the cow manure that they have developed a certain immunity to a whole lode of things just by being in contact with cow manure.

Josh:    Yeah, to diseases and allergies as well.

John:   Exactly.  Because we got bacteria all over our body and we’ve developed a response to that to try to be healthy. If we didn’t have a healthy response to the bacteria for instance our skin, we would be allergic to everything around us.

Josh:    So when we come back we will go into that a little bit more.


Welcome to “Living is Easy” with John and Josh.  And today we are talking about allergies

John:   That is right Josh.  Before the break we spoke about how an allergy gets produced.  I’ve got a little example just so you guys can picture it in your head and how your body responds to an allergic substance. So just pretend that you are actually in a garden for instance and last year your neighbor planted a wattle tree and this year it is flowering and let’s say you’ve got a young child and that child has never been to this sunflowering wattle before.  So picture this, the wattle starts to flower.  There is lots of pollen in the air especially up around the tree “whoof” the wind comes across and blows a ball into your house and into your child’s nose, into the nasal passages.  What happens then is the pollen attaches itself to the lining of the nasal passages and up the airways as well. And then automatically because the body responds thinking that this is a foreign substance that is actually coming into the body, it produces histamine.

Josh:    And what is a histamine?

John:   Histamine is basically a chemical that is produced by mast cells, they basically line the mucous membranes of your nose, your throat and such sort of things

Josh:    What does that do?

John:   Histamine basically causes your blood vessels and blood vessel around the nose and face, and sinuses to constrict and then it basically cause them to become congested and after a while you start to become sneezy, you get the sniffling, stuffed up in the head, your eyes get red and watery and all the hallmark signs of an allergic reaction but actually all those reactions are actually very normal.  So having an allergy or that sort of runny eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing is actually not an abnormal response at all it is actually a normal response.  So what the body is trying to do there is when you come into contact with dust or pollen or some other section where it is not supposed to be your sinus cavity what is the best way to get it out?

Josh:    You sneeze.

John:   Exactly you get off a massive sneeze and basically put a big puff of air into your sinuses, into your nose, your mouth and whatever to get rid of the stuff that is in there

Josh:    So what the body is trying to do is to flush the stuff out.

John:   Exactly right. Just like trying to flush the toilet.  It is trying to get rid of all the pollen or dust or whatever out of the eyes as quickly as possible.  There are other sorts of symptoms that you get from allergies as well as for instance asthma.  You mentioned you had asthma

Josh:    Yes as a child. I got rid of it.

John:   Ah that’s right. Often people grow out of asthma depends on how or what the cause of the asthma is in the first place.

Josh:    And how does that happen?

John:   Some of it is actually a bit of a mystery. I haven’t actually tabulated it down and researched it but most of the time your body is producing immune system cells overtime and over the years that you have been alive you develop your massive immune system response so that when you get in contact with a certain allergy you don’t develop the tightness in the chest and the wheezing in asthma and all such things.

Josh:    Yeah, I remember.  It was terrible!

John:   It’s horrible isn’t it?

Josh:    Yeah.

John:   But as a chiropractor as well I look at asthma or somebody who has asthma a little bit differently to someone who for instance a medical doctor. So if someone comes in and they display the symptoms of asthma I’ll go directly to the spine and try to figure out, firstly, is the mechanics of the spine and chest cage working properly so the hallmark of someone who has asthma is they get tightness in the chest, they find it difficult to breath, they get some wheezing as well so it you look at your chest for instance all that really is, is 12 ribs on each side, 12 vertebrae at the back and its culicid at the front with the sternum, with the chest plate and all these basically does is to expand and collapses every single time you breath there is a big diaphragm, a big dome shaped muscle on the bottom part of the chest cage which lowers and raises every time you take a deep breath and to increase the volume inside the lungs and inside the actual chest cage is the lung tissue.  If you would actually collapse a lung, as when you say you develop an injury in the chest cage and one of the lung actually collapses the whole lung actually just shrivels goes down and probably takes up 1/3 of the volume of the chest cage.  So it’s actually just all full of air. So as a chiropractor we look at the spine, and the chest cage and the mechanics around there to make sure that the spine and chest cage is working properly because if there is a restriction or a misalignment of the spine that means the ribs won’t open and close as they need to and then you would actually start to develop tightness in the chest and will give you symptoms like asthma another phase or another we level we look into the nervous system and the nervous system basically controls all parts of the body. Every single cell in the body is supplied by a nerve.  So the brain send messages down the spinal cord and out through spinal nerves to the lungs if there is a misalignment through the spine there is going to be an irritation across the nerves so information does not get out from the brain to the lung tissue, so lung tissue cannot respond properly to air that it is breathing in or pollen allergen that it is breathing in

Josh:    Those come back to the spine a lot?

John:   Yeah well the nervous system controls everything and if you are looking after the nervous system or the nervous system is controlling everything correctly then really if something comes in from the outside the body should really know what needs to do to develop for instance an immune response to an allergy and get rid of it very very quickly.

Josh:    And with things like rashes does that work the same way?

John:   Yeah.

Josh:    It’s expelling it.

John:   Yes, it’s expelling it.  Yeah that is right. So for instance other sorts of allergies you can get are eczema, a contact dermatitis.  What a contact dermatitis is I know this really really well for I used to have a dog a German Shepherd a beautiful dog he had dermatitis above his tail.

Josh:    And what is dermatitis?

John:   Dermatitis is basically the roughening of the skin and again it is a histamine reaction.  Histamine is being released at the skin or derma layer and what its’ producing is swelling around the skin.  You would be able to see that as a redness, itchiness as well.  The reason why it becomes itchy is because the blood vessels in the area are dilating and again all the blood vessels are doing in the situation is basically trying to flush the area out. For instance, so, picture this you come in contact with something that is not good to be in contact with the skin for instance glass dust or something.  Real fine glass dust becomes contact with the skin or asbestos or something is not good for the body.  The body knows it is not good for the body so what the body does is to produce an allergic reaction to that dust that has been smeared onto the skin.  The body is so intelligent that it causes the mast cells in the area to release histamine.  The histamine basically causes local blood vessels in the area to dilate which means that the blood vessels get larger and there’s more blood that comes into the area and the reason that it does that and causes inflammation is to bring in more immune system cells so B-Cells, T-cells, Killer-T-cells to basically latch onto the thing that the body is allergic to and grab hold of it, get rid of it and flush it out.

Josh:    The body is an amazing.

John:   It is, isn’t it?

Josh:    Yeah it really is. When we come back from the break we will talk more of allergies.

Welcome back to “Living is Easy” with John and Josh, and today we are talking about allergies.

Josh:    John why is there such a scary things?

John:   It has been a mystery for me for a while so I have been sort of researching all these sorts of things but basically what happens is what I understand so far is that babies when they are being fed from a young age if they are being fed on mom’s milk diet has changed so much that we are not getting all the sorts of things that we need for getting a normal immune system. Our environment as a kid is too clean compared to what it used to be like. So, for instance there are too many antibacterial wipes being used on kids buns and on furniture.  Everything is very sterilized.  Milk has been sterilized and homogenized, things are being killed out of that.  The proteins that we get out of raw milk for instance to develop our immune system are very very powerful.  So, that’s the small little things that have changed during the decades and cause our immune system to be lacking in some areas so when for instance a child comes in contact with a nut or peanut for instance, sometimes they just have to be in the vicinity of a peanut and they will start to be allergic, get an allergic response.  The reason why they are getting an allergic response is because their particular immune system hasn’t developed a resistance to the allergens in a nut for instance.  But you need to be aware of it as a parent because sometimes these allergic reactions can become extreme and you will need the intervention of the emergency room at the hospital.

Josh:    How can you tell when these things start to happen?

John:   Well if the allergic response, the reaction hangs around for a long time and if the symptoms are rapidly worsening then you need be sort of on the bone and maybe calling 000.

Josh:    And what are the symptoms?

John:   Swelling of the tissues particularly around the lips, the lips become swollen, eyes become shut tight, they start wheezing as well because that means the airways are becoming congested and very very tight the lungs become tight as well, loss of consciousness, the child becoming extremely anxious, extreme itchiness of the skin, headaches, diarrhea, low blood pressure in the older ones, and convulsions.  These are really quite extreme symptoms that you can get from an extreme allergic reaction but it’s really important to be aware of these sorts of things so that you can identify them and see them straight away and get them seen to avoid any nasty repercussions.

Josh:    How severe do you think before you start panicking?

John:   That is a tough question.  I think it is, the main thing is the swelling of the lips.  When you see the swelling of the lips you know that there is something else swelling inside.  So if you see a distinctive alarming reaction on the outside, think and cast your eyes on the inside of the body and particularly see what is happening in the lungs. 

Josh:    Yeah just be cautious and get the kids to the hospital or to the doctors or wherever

John:   Because often what they’ll have to do is to give an unaflective or a shot of adrenalin to kick it out of the body but on treatment and things I’d like to sort of talk about that for a little bit.  Allergic reactions are a normal response that the body sets up to get rid of invading bacteria’s or invading allergens which are not meant to be in the body so allergic reaction is actually a normal response and I do not think it warrants going to the chemist and actually getting an antihistamine to try and reduce the symptoms just for the sake of going to work and being comfortable.

Josh:    It’s funny the impressions you got from these medications?

John:   Yeah well it depends on what you think is good and what you think is bad.  Someone might think they’re a good thing for I can go to work and have a clear head but the side effects might not sort of warrant that. For me, I think the good is that the body can get rid off and eliminate something naturally because it is developing an immune response.  It is strengthening the immune system by going through the healing process.  And if you keep taking in antihistamine for instance your body doesn’t develop that immune system response every time you become more and more sensitive and over reactive to your external environment.  Which means your health does not improve over time and really as you age your body start becoming more healthy and not less healthy.

Josh:    How can you tell if you have an allergy?

John:   The best way to actually figure that out is to pop into a doctor and they can do some examinations to figure out what you are allergic to and if you are actually allergic to anything at all and there is three common tests that they will do apart from medical history the first that they will do is a prick method, which is, it used to be called a mentor test all of this is basically they will get a set of vials, small little vials that contain different allergens in them so for instance one vial might contain liquid allergens of dust mite, one might be cockroach pooh, one might be dog fur, one might be dust, one might be a pollen

Josh:    Other few main things that they always look for.

John:   Yeah there will be a certain standard testing procedure that they will go through and all they do is basically to get a needle, they will dip that into the liquid and put that into the inside of the forearm for instance.  They will dot down your forearm and after a few minutes if you are allergic to something, you will get a little welt or a blister formed around the area that you are allergic to.  So, that is one test that they can do.  Another one is an introdermal test.  That is very very similar but what they will do is to get a small syringe with an allergen inside there and inject that just under the skin and if you are allergic to it will come up with a big blister.

Josh:    So, they are similar?

John:   Yes they are very very similar.  And another one is actually a patch test which is similar to getting a band aid with an allergen on the inside part of the in the band aid and you will put the band aid on your skin.  And if you are allergic to whatever it is in there, dust or dog fur or cat fur, then after awhile you will get a contact dermatitis which is very similar to eczema and it will develop very quickly as well.  So, it is always good to know what you are allergic to and you can take your kids in just to get tested and figure out what they are allergic to and they can build a stronger immune system because of that.  So, at the end of the day with knowing these things information is power the more you know about your own body the more healthy you become every time

Josh:    Definitely because you can be proactive instead of being reactive.

John:   And talking of being reactive, as well, taking an antihistamine is totally reactive, I think.  Especially if you just got a stuffy nose from a tree next door that has just pollinated.  You become aware of that and just sneeze it out. Get rid of it or blow it out.  Get a vaporizer in your room to try and get a moist environment which should help with the cleansing of the sinus cavity.  But to take an antihistamine means that your body does not go through that healing phase, and it does not actually sneeze the stuff out of the sinus passages  

Josh:    And also it does not develop a strong immunity.

John:   Exactly right it doesn’t go through those immune system phases where.  Coz really as you age you want to develop a massive encyclopedia of you’ve got an immune response to and become healthier as you become older.

Josh:    And if you do have a blocked nose what do you advice?

John:   Just blow it

Josh:    Blow it.  Any vitamins?

John:   Yeah, what we got is a good strong normally I would recommend horse radish and garlic for any other respiratory tract symptoms they are always good.  But even just anything that keeps you hydrated.  Lots of water, to try and hydrate your body.  Again another having an allergic reaction particularly in the sinus cavity can be very uncomfortable because your eyes become itchy, your nose becomes itchy and all those sorts of things but if you consider to lie it out for a day or two your body is going to become a whole lot stronger because of it.  I do thoroughly recommend that the first place you go and visit is you go and visit your local chiropractor because they can do an assessment of your spine to see if your nervous system is being compromised at all.  Because for instance, if you got a misaligned bone up in the neck particularly around c-1 and c-2 low no supply from there goes to your sinuses and head.  And if you’ve got a misalignment up there it is going to inhibit your body from healing and responding properly to allergens coming in contact with your sinuses and there’s a lot of research papers out there to validate that as well.  So, actually a patient said yesterday and she was really, oh that was this afternoon, she said john I haven’t had a sinus infection or a sinus allergy for such a long time and she puts it down to the fact that she’s been having chiropractor adjustments.  She has modified her diet as well and she stayed away from things that give her allergies which are generally milk, cream and those sorts of things.  So, a combination of avoidance, avoid the thing that’s producing the allergy can also be proactive and try and keep your body healthy and strong by having a strong nervous system, a strong immune system, keep active, exercise, get enough rest, keep your stress levels down and there is no reason why you should be unhealthy at any time

Josh:    You have been listening to “Living is Easy” with John and Josh.  I will see you next week.

John:   Until then stay well and stay happy.