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Is It The Flu Or Allergies?

Q: I have been coughing, sneezing and feeling achy for a while now. There are also some red bumps on my skin that I've had for ages. I keep hearing about the flu going around, but my symptoms don't respond to over-the-counter cold and flu preparations or skin creams. Could this be something else?

A: Yes, it could! Conservative medical estimates are that 60% of the population has some type of allergy. Many more progressive doctors that work in this field feel that the number is closer to 80% or even higher. When people think of allergies, they think of stuffy sinuses, blood-shot eyes, a runny nose and fits of sneezing. Other symptoms that can also be caused by allergies include asthma, nausea, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and insomnia among other things. Allergies can weaken your body, make you more susceptible to illnesses, cause you pain, inconvenience, loss of work, and spoil your enjoyment of life.

Also, many people don't realize that allergies are the cause of, or strong contributing factors in, many ailments that are normally thought of as incurable. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, arthritis, heart and lung problems, migraines, skin problems like psoriasis and eczema, and hyperactivity all have strong ties to allergies, especially to foods. Digestive problems like ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and colitis also respond amazingly to correct allergy detection. Fortunately, people who have serious immune related diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus can also make huge strides in their care when this area of their health is addressed.

The tricky part to this can be the detection process. There are at least five different pathways by which a body can physically develop an allergy. The allergy testing method many people are aware of is skin testing. This is the common method used by allergists wherein a small amount of a substance is either injected just under the skin or scratched on the surface. If a redness or swelling develops in that area an allergy is diagnosed.

Unfortunately, this type of test only detects one of the five possible pathways for contracting an allergy. Patients are usually aware of this type of allergy as it causes quite immediate reactions, such as hives. However, this type only accounts for about 10% of all allergies. As you can see, there is a huge gap in the testing if this is the only detection method used.

The other pathways of developing an allergy comprise 90% of all allergies and can be detected by advanced kinesiology (muscle testing) or specific blood tests. These testing methods detect delayed reaction and acquired allergies.

When these allergies are detected, if the patient avoids the substance or is desensitized to it by certain methods that I and other doctors are trained to do, the difference in health can be like night and day. As more and more physicians become aware of this aspect of health care, the costs for detecting and treating many chronic and debilitating conditions will be greatly reduced. And the best part is how much better the patients feel!

Dr. Susan Player