Allergies and Illness Behavior

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Allergies and Illness Behavior

As a child I had terrible allergies towards animals, especially cats, grass and certain flowers. I had chronic stomach and headaches, constipation, trouble concentrating, sinusitis, tonsillitis, fatique and weight gain.

My daughter was born in 1965. Despite being breast-fed Danielle experienced her first illness at 5 months. It was the first of many chronic health problems including croup, ear infections, enlarged tonsils, anxiety, night terrors, hyperactivity, and wild tantrums. She took antibiotics almost continuously for the first two and a half years.

Eventually common sense told me that medicating my child continuously was not the answer. There must be a reason why Danielle was always sick. I started to research nutrition while working with a homeopath. Soon I decided to avoid most dairy products. Over the next months Danielle's health improved, and so did my own. I had more energy, less congestion, and felt that I was starting to think more clearly.

Slowly I eliminated more items from our diet such as sugar, products containing food dyes, preservatives, chemicals, and orange juice, realizing that whenever my daughter drank orange juice she would become more congested, and when it was eliminated, her colds would clear much faster.

As time went on Danielle's health continued to improve, but her tantrums did not. I noticed her behavior was what I will call the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. One minute she was sweet and loving and the next she would kick, hit, yell, and pull clothes off the racks in stores. When we went into a shoe store she was fine, but fifteen minutes later she would suddenly start displaying irrational behavior coupled with a type of super strength. If I tried to contain her she would become more and more violent, usually hurting me or destroying something in her path. Eventually I realized that Danielle was also environmentally sensitive to smells - alas, more allergies.

The more I learned about allergies in relation to the human body, the mind, and spirit, the more balanced my life became. I realized how often I too had been inflicted with food and environmental allergies. I was able to recognize depression and fatigue following sugar consumption. Or irritability and headache after being in a shoe store, perfume department, or the detergent, cleaning solutions, or pesticide aisle at the market. Once I bought a bottle of window cleaner with a `new and improved formula." The day after using it to clean all our windows Danielle got croup and the goldfish was dead. Needless to say we only use natural cleaning products now. The sources of allergens and exposures are endless.

My question was, "Why are some people more sensitive than others?" In my research and personal observations I have found that a large percent of our younger population has been treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are one of the great miracles of modern times and are the great scavengers of `bad' bacteria in the body. Unfortunately they also kill the good bacteria. Bacteria are important for the intestinal tract, because they keep the level of yeast in proper balance. If the good bacteria are gone, yeast takes advantage of the situation and starts multiplying in a systemic way, not necessarily showing up as a traditional yeast infection, but manifesting more physically in the form of skin rashes, thrush, or fungus under the nail. Allergic reactions to the environment producing sinus, earaches, and behavior problems such as tantrums, `attention deficit disorder' or hyperactivity can also be traced back to systemic yeast.

Once I started rebalancing our intestinal tracts by reducing the yeast, replenishing the natural intestinal flora, and sticking to our special diet, both Danielle and I have eliminated many of our allergies. I now own a horse, brush her and feed her hay, do all my own yard work and only get "spring" hay fever for one or two days a year. As for Danielle, she is fourteen now and hasn't seen her pediatrician since she was six years of age. She still gets sick a few times a year (with croup, sinus or a cough), in which case I take her to see our chiropractor and use herbs, vitamins and homeopathics. She is about the only child in her public magnet program who has not had any drugs (except two Tylenol last year) in eleven years. Most of her classmates are constantly I on antibiotics, Ritalin, Prozac, asthma medication, or other over-the-counter medicines.

And yes, we do cheat on our diet once in a while. Danielle still loves candy (and I can always tell when she has had some by her behavior, i.e. anything with dyes is the worst), and if I eat sugar I still get depressed. But our bodies have become strong over the years and there are not too many repercussions.

Article copyright LILIPOH Publishing Inc.

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By Kathy Arnos

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