Friday, 17 October 2014

How to Keep Allergies at Bay

Steve watched a fascinating Horizon programme on BBC2 a while back, Allergies: Modern Life and Me, about people with severe allergies.  Apparently all the studies quoted showed that the sharp increase in allergies, especially the more severe cases, could be attributed to Caesarean births, formula feeding, use of chemicals in the home, parents who smoke/d, and other less natural* practices.  Any one or a combination of these meant a deficiency in gut flora that meant the children studied were more prone to allergies and asthma.

Of course, there are plenty of Caesareans that are essential for both mother and child's well-being, but there are also an awful lot that aren't strictly necessary.  And yes, even in 'primitive' societies there will be around 1% of mothers who physically cannot breastfeed.  I suppose in those cases the wider community helps by nursing that child.  It's such a shame that breastmilk banks are now so rare in the UK.  Maybe those first few weeks of breastmilk for the mothers who cannot (rather than don't want to) breastfeed would make all the difference in terms of a child developing allergies.  And of course a sea change in our Western attitudes to breasts and breastfeeding would go a long way to ensuring more mothers choose to breastfeed.

Unfortunately, in the meantime, the number of people with allergies, whether mild or severe, continues to rise.  Summer may be over, but for many alergies are not confined to just the hayfever months.  So the people at Piriton asked me to share with you some ideas on how to keep allergens at bay:

  • get rid of pollen particles by washing your hair and changing your clothes when you come in from outside during the summer;
  • bathe pets to get rid of the saliva and dander that cause pet hair allergies;
  • keep soft toys free of dust mites by popping them in the freezer for a while and then putting them through the washing machine;
  • avoid pollutants like cigarette smoke, perfume, aerosol sprays and insecticides as much as possible.
Do you have any other top tips to add?

For me, October and November can be pretty tricky as I'm allergic to smoke from bonfires, the slightest hint through a car window can set off a major asthma attack.  So it's inhalers and antihistamines at the ready at Attachment Towers!

*less natural as in not the norm in evolutionary terms

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