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What the hell kind of advantage does over-reacting to allergies have?

  1. Oct 6, 2004 #1
    I can't understand this at all. I have bad allergies, without anti-hystamines, I would not have been able to breathe through my nose for the last 2 weeks. What the hell kind of advantage would something like this have, and why the hell hasn't this trait been selected against? You'd think when humans were still hunters/gatherers that people who couldn't breathe during the fall would die off real quickly...
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2004 #2


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    well waste, i am sure they had their homemade remedies...along with your meds, try taking raw bee pollen that is from the area you live in...suppossedly, your body builds up an immunity against the allergens when you ingest it directly...it works for me every year.
  4. Oct 6, 2004 #3
    Sounds like a plan, I'll just find the nearest bee-hive, rip it apart and start eating it's innards.
  5. Oct 6, 2004 #4
    One other thing about fall allergies. People slow their water consumption in the fall when the weather cools. Dryer sinus passages from general dehydration are more susceptible to irritation from allergens. So, drink more water, eat less salt and histamine containing foods. Supposedly pear skins have natural antihistamines. I am sure there are more foods that counteract histamine effects. Eat spicy food, like hot sauce so that your sinuses run at least once a day. Wash your hands, and then your face when you come in from outside. Make sure your cars ventilation system is set to inside air. Hose off your porches front and back. Not to excess, but to keep the dust and pollen off your doorstep. Keep your outside clothes out of your bedroom, so that the pollen doesn't follow you into your bed. Shower before bed.
  6. Oct 7, 2004 #5
    still havn't answered his question..
  7. Oct 7, 2004 #6


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    I don't know the answer, or if there is an answer, but I can speculate on a few alternatives.

    From what I've heard (but haven't looked into to confirm), incidence of allergies is on the rise. So, allergies may have been more strongly selected against in the past. Prior to antihistamines and modern medicine, if you went into anaphylactic shock, you'd die. So, maybe modern medicine is permitting allergies to increase because people don't die from them anymore.

    Then again, if you already had your children before the allergies got that bad, the allergies could still be passed along to the next generation. So, it could be that there isn't enough selection pressure against it because allergies slowly worsen with age, so they don't become life-threatening until you're old enough to have children already.

    Or, we may be getting exposed to things ancestral humans were never exposed to, and those chemicals may predispose us to allergies or cause immune system dysfunction.

    Maybe we grow up in too clean of environments, so aren't exposed to these allergens early enough in life for our immune system to know how to react to them properly.

    Just a lot of possible guesses here.
  8. Oct 7, 2004 #7


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    Allergic reactions are a desperate defense against substances it perceives would cause even greater harm if ingested.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2004
  9. Oct 7, 2004 #8


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    Yes, it's the immune system gone haywire: it's setting up an immune response to things it shouldn't. The body learns which substances are foreign and dangerous, but it should also learn which substances are part of the environment and not dangerous.

    As Moonbear said, allergies seem to be on a rise and it's probably because of our lifestyle. There've been studies that show that children growing up on a farm are less likely to develop an hay-fever allergy than kids growing up in the city.

    A friend of mine is allergic to about anything it seems: food allergies, pet allergy, pollen allergy. He walks around with a sky high IgE, it must be a real stress on the body and frankly I'm worried about the effects it'll have.

    There is a desensitization therapy, where the body is injected with low doses of the T cell epitope-containing hypoallergenic recombinant fragments of the allergen and that's supposed to bring about immuno-modulation.. Ofcourse during the course of the therapy (which takes months) you're supposed to stay clear of the natural allergen: it only works with a low dose.. that will be hard if you're allergic to what seems a very generic pollen epitope.
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