Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Are allergies actually good for you?

Researchers suggest that a body's reaction to allergens
may be designed to keep environmental pollutants out.
Some researchers are suggesting that allergies may have evolved to protect us from dangerous environmental pollution.

These scientists reject the idea that allergies are misdirected immune reactions to innocuous substances and are rogue workers from the body’s parasite-fighting workforce.

For them, parasites and the substances that trigger allergies share nothing in common and there are too many possible allergens.

Also, the body’s response to allergy triggers can be immediate, whereas a response to parasites often takes longer.

In a paper published in April in Nature, the researchers instead propose that allergic reactions may be there to protect us from potentially dangerous substances in the environment.

They cite studies that show that allergic responses to tick saliva, for example, prevent the pests from attaching and feeding.

Allergy symptoms keep pollutants out of the body

The symptoms many people experience with allergies (runny nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy skin and so on) would then serve the function to keep unhealthy environmental pollutants out of the body.

Allergic reactions could also serve to make people become more aware of their environment and to avoid certain places because of their experience, they say.

Of course, in some cases, allergies can be very excessive and even deadly – and sometimes they don’t seem to make sense. Why, for example, are one in 12 children affected by food allergies?

The researchers suggest different possible causes, including our evolutionary past and a guilt-by-association mechanism that could lead to allergies after eating something in a polluted environment.

It’s an interesting theory that might warrant some further speculation and research.

Source: Scientific American

Make breathing easier by filtering out allergens

Once a person suffers from allergies, airborne triggers can make reactions worse. Diligent source control, ventilation and air cleaning can all help in providing a clean and healthy environment.

For air purifiers for allergies and asthma, a medical-grade HEPA filter is an important feature to trap airborne particles, allergens, pollen and dust.

However, the air cleaner should also have an activated carbon filter to remove chemicals, gases and odors that can contribute to or aggravate the symptoms as well.

AllerAir air purifiers like the AirMedic+ Series contain a multistage filtration system made for the most complete protection from irritating airborne pollutants.

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.