Atopic Dermatitis, Peanuts, and Genetics

Allergists and immunologists for years have noted the association of skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema and food allergies, especially allergies to peanuts.  Heredity has also been a suspect in both conditions.  But now there is more than anecdotal evidence.

A large group of researchers working in the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and Ireland published their findings last year in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  They were attempting to identify if the genetic coding for filaggrin is a candidate gene in the etiology of peanut allergy.  Filaggrin is a protein in epithelial cells. You can read the entire article here.  The researchers concluded that FLG null mutations represent a highly significant genetic risk factor for atopic dermatitis and also are the single most significant genetic risk for peanut allergy that has been identified to date.

The reason I am writing about this today is because I just read a post two days ago by a respected allergist that indicated that some food allergies may disappear as a child matures.  He specifically mentioned that this did not apply to peanut allergy. Could it be that the epithelial cells that line the digestive tract are the real culprit?

I’m not a doctor and I don’t have the answers. I do know that if you have peanut allergy or atopic dermatitis researchers are hard at work decoding the causes to find the cure.

Just something to think about….until next time!

Heat and Allergies – You Can be Allergic to Heat

Since the heat isn’t going to break anytime soon, I thought I would touch on the subject of heat and allergies.

Can you be allergic to the heat?  You can!

Cholinergic Urticaria is a type of rash or hives that is caused by an increase in body temperature.  The body temperature may be increased to to physical exertion, external heat exposure, emotional stress, or just eating spicy foods.  These hives are usually very small.  Smaller than a mosquito bite and more the size of a pin prick.  They can cover the face, torso, or legs and arms. They are more prone to appear where heat can be trapped next to the body as by clothing, the waistband of pants or underwear or the band of a hat.

It is difficult to properly diagnose this form of allergy.  Doctors can test using standard challenge tests or by exposing the body to heat. Treatment can be in the form of standard anti-histamines.  In some individuals, beta blockers can be used when the source cause is emotional stress.

This type of rash or skin allergy is not to be confused with heat rash.  Heat rash occurs when the sweat glands are clogged and the sweat can’t get to the surface of the skin.  Heat rash is not allergy-related.

As temperatures soar, grasses may start to release their pollens.  Pollens from grasses are very light-weight and are easily carried by the wind.  You might want to wear a dust mask for gardening (like the Q-Mask) if you are going to be outside on windy, dry days.

Trying to keep cool in the summer months can be tough.  But that’s why nature provides shade and cucumbers.  Did you know that the inside of a cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature?  Cucumbers are mostly water, so eating a chilled cucumber can be refreshing.  They also contain anti-inflammatory agents. That is why they work to reduce swelling around the eyes.

I have written before about the benefits of cotton in the heat.  Sleep on cotton sheets and wear loose cotton clothing as much as possible.  This will allow sweat to evaporate, keeping the body cool and your temperature regulated.

Don’t loose your cool.  Come January and February you will be wishing for this heat!
Until next time

Allergy Control Products for Beauty?

So Saturday, I was speaking to a friend about allergies.  Are you surprised?  I’m not because it seems no matter where I go, people want to talk to me about allergies.  It’s all right, it goes with the territory I guess.  In this case, the conversation turned to appearance and the use of allergy control products for beauty.

Anyway, Saturday, instead of talking about my recent cross-country trip, the weather, the economy, or the best recipe for hummus, my friend was talking about dust mite allergy.  His daughter had been recently diagnosed and they were going through the process of cleaning out all the dust catchers and getting dust mite covers on the mattress, box spring, and pillows.

The conversation turned from the obvious benefits of protection from dust mite allergen to those that are most important to the heart of a young lady…..puffy eyes.  Yes, Virginia,  there is a Santa Clause, and dust mite covers can help you in your fight against puffy eyes.  Hard to believe that there are allergy control products for beauty enhancement?

Dust mite covers help with those pesky dark circles under the eyes.  In the allergy biz, those are called “allergic shiners” and are caused by increased blood flow to the sinus area.  When you cut off the exposure to the allergy-causing protein (from the mite feces and body parts) the blood flow to the sinus area returns to normal and the dark circles disappear.  Likewise for the puffy eyes.

Using a denaturing agent and anti-allergen spray like ADMS Spray or washing bedding with De-Mite can also work to reduce those shiners and puffy eyes.

If you have problems with overly dry skin or eczema, it can also be caused by allergies.  It might not be extra lotion you need, but some Allergen Wash!  Most eczema has roots in allergy.

No, I don’t think Avon or Estee Lauder has anything to fear from The Allergy Store. But you might find beauty really does come from the inside out; and when you have your allergies under control, shiners, puffy eyes, and eczema can be a thing of the past.

Til Next Time