When your immune system reacts to something that does not bother most other people, the cascade of bodily responses that follow are often referred to as allergic reactions. Often people who have allergies are sensitive to more than one thing. Scientists think that our genetic makeup and our environment contribute to whether or not we will experience allergies.
We need our immune system to sound an alarm and fight germs. It is our body's defense system. But, if you suffer from allergies your body may be sounding a false alarm and causing a runny nose, sneezing, swelling, and rashes that make you feel bad when you are exposed to a triggering substance.
Some of the substances that often trigger allergic reactions are:
- Dust mites
- Mold spores
- Pet dander
- Insect stings
Probiotics can assist allergy sufferers with three of the main allergens on this list.
Of the many substances that can trigger and allergic reaction, dust mites are the most important. House dust mites are microscopic spider-like creatures that feed off of scales from human skin. The dust mites eat the skin scales and produce fecal material encased in an allergy-inducing protein substance. Dust mites also reproduce rapidly with a new generation appearing about every 3 weeks. When someone who is hypersensitive to dust mite fecal material comes in contact with dust which contains it – their cells release histamines and other chemicals that cause an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, high levels of mites can be found in mattresses, pillows, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies and stuffed toys. If these items are disturbed the tiny dust mites and fecal matter become airborne and can stay suspended in the air for up to 30 minutes.
If you wish to reduce dust mite allergens it is best to start in the bedroom. If your allergies are severe, you may wish to encase your mattress and box-springs in specialized impermeable cover. Chrisal recommends that you spray your mattress, box springs, pillows and bedding with Allergy Free if your allergic reaction is moderate to mild. Don't forget to lightly mist your drapes and upholstered furniture as well. Allergy Free is a probiotic product that contains viable friendly microbes. These bacillus consume dust mite fecal matter thus reducing the allergy count. The microbes can live for up to 72 hours and are consuming the offending fecal protein for their entire life span. Reapplication by misting the pillows and bedding every 3 days will keep the dust mite allergen count low in your bedroom. Use on upholstered surfaces, drapes and rugs throughout your home to keep dust mite allergen counts to a minimum.
Mold and mildew are types of fungi. Mold fragments, spores and mycotosins (toxic chemicals) can trigger allergy symptoms even in individuals who have no other known allergies. The Mayo Clinic has implicated fungus as the cause of almost all chronic sinusitis that afflicts more than 37 million Americans.
Molds reproduce by sending microscopic spores wafting through the air. When the spore lands in a humid place, with a pH anywhere from 2 to 8, mold will thrive. Indoor mold can not always be seen or smelled. Mold can trigger asthma and allergy reactions like: coughing, wheezing, sneezing, throat irritation, sinus congestion, watery eyes, red eyes, skin rash, headache and fatigue.
Molds require nutrients and they compete with bacteria for organic nutrients. This is why probiotics are able to reduce mold spore counts. The good microbes compete with the mold for nutrients eventually starving the mold out. Also, the probiotics create a drier condition which makes it more difficult for mold to thrive. If you experience allergies to mold and mildew, there are also probiotic cleaning products available that will minimize these fungi. There is an all-purpose cleaner, floor cleaner and bathroom sanitizer and each contain viable probiotics to help reduce the mold and mildew in your household.
What is about our fur covered and feathered friends that cause allergies? The main allergen is found in tiny pieces of dead skin (called dander) that have flaked off the animal. A protein in dander is the culprit. Pet saliva and urine also contain allergy-causing proteins. Microscopic dander, like mold spores and dust mite allergens, can float in the air for long periods of time before settling.
Pet dander can be found in homes where pets are not allowed because it can be carried in on clothing and shoes. If your body is hypersensitive to the protein in pet dander, urine and saliva exposure will incite the release of histamine and you will soon have an itchy nose, red and watery eyes, and congestion. Pet dander can also trigger asthma attacks.
Probiotics view pet dander and the offending protein as a source of food. The microbes use the dander and protein as a nutrient. So when you mist areas where pet dander is a problem the probiotics lower the allergen count by doing what comes naturally to them. The friendly microbes eat and eat and eat.
Since owning a pet provides many health benefits like decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels and reduced depression due to loneliness, you might want to check into whether probiotics can assist in keeping pet dander allergens under control. Some individuals will find that they are so hypersensitive to pet dander that it is just better to not have a pet in the house, but many people with mild to moderate symptoms are sneezing and wheezing unnecessarily.
You may be surprised to find that research has directly correlated depression and allergies. In one study 70% if the patients being treated for depression had a history of allergies. Being congested all the time can make anyone feel exhausted and grumpy. Sinus headaches, itchy red eyes, and feelings of fatigue can lead to the allergy blues. Some of the symptoms of depression linked to allergy are lethargy, inability to concentrate and a low mood. Antihistamines are not a cure because they can contribute to poor sleeping patterns. They might initially make you sleepy but may cause you to awaken when they wear off four hours later.