November 21, 2016

Asthma and Allergies

If you suffer from one of these two chronic illnesses, then you know how annoying it is to sneeze constantly, have a stuffy nose, and have trouble breathing when you exercise or go to bed. In the United States, 8.6% of children suffer from asthma while allergies affect 40%. As a Pediatrician, the high prevalence of these diseases makes them a high priority issue for targeted prevention strategies.

Looking at these problems from 30,000 feet, it is clear that airborne pollution, poor quality nutrition, and chemical exposure are major concerns for the average allergic American.

Here is a list of interventions that can help an allergy or asthma sufferer improve their life quality:

1) Diet is the key piece of allergic disease amelioration. Inflammatory foods increase circulating inflammatory chemicals known as prostaglandins as well as increasing lipopolysaccharides derived from a dysfunctional gut microbial makeup. These inflammatory chemicals worsen allergic diseases. Click the link here for the anti-inflammatory diet information.

2) Critical - avoid known triggers of allergic disease. If you do not know what you react to, get a blood test and ascertain the triggers. Then go to for information on avoidance measures. This has been shown in recent studies to be as powerful as your steroid based asthma inhalers at controlling disease flairs.

3) Control the air quality of your house by keeping air conditioning running through high efficiency filters to remove particulate matter that irritate the lungs and nose. This is especially true this week as the western North Carolina fires are causing asthma flairs state wide as the smoke drifts eastward.

4) Keep your nose and lungs humidified so that your allergen clearing mucous functions well. This can be achieved through nasal saline sprays, humidified saline, and neti pots for irrigation.

5) Make sure that you have adequate micronutrients in your system. Pay special attention to vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium which play unique roles in immune function and airway responsiveness. These nutrients help to prevent infections from taking hold in your body which will exacerbate asthma and make allergic symptoms more severe.

6) Take a daily probiotic, consume fermented and prebiotic based foods. There is clear evidence that this will decrease allergy sufferers global symptoms. All three of these bacterial food types are beneficial for the health of the micro biome which in turn decreases systemic inflammation.

7) Avoid contact with all chemicals either in liquid or aerosol form. For example perfumes, aerosol plug ins, smoke, strong detergents and cleaning agents will irritate the nares, skin, and lungs making disease worse.

8) Take your medicines as directed. People that do not take their anti inflammatory medicines as directed suffer significantly more disease and sometimes death. The goal is to follow all of the other prevention techniques in order to not need the medicine, however, don't fool yourself into believing that you will never need medicine.

9) Consider herbals to help with allergies. Quercetin, stinging nettles, bromelain are a few of the potent allergy inhibitors. My personal favorite is D Hist Jr.

10) Reduce stress. Practice prayer, meditation and breath work to keep yourself centered and calm.

Be Proactive,

Dr. M