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The Rise in Allergies

by Dr. Karen Clickner, ND


This spring I have seen more allergies in my patients than ever before. Not just environmental allergies, particularly in people who have had none previously, but food allergies as well. You might think this is somehow related to the weather, the pollen count or stress. Many people will assume it has to do with a recent vaccination. But the truth is that it has to do with our skin.

During the last year people have increased hand sanitizer use all of which contains alcohol in some form. This damages the skin by depleting the natural protective bacterial layer that the skin requires. This allows the skin to be more strongly affected by anything it comes into contact with and creates a strong immune response to normally harmless exposures. The alcohol also dries out the oils that are an essential part of the microbiome of the skin creating micro-tears in the epidermal and even the dermal layer. No one considers that hand sanitizer, like antibiotics, will create stronger pathogens that will be resistant to the hand sanitizer that you are using. This is especially true with antibacterial soaps, washes and towelettes.

Another problem is that during the pandemic, hand sanitizers were wiped off grocery store shelves and there was such a severe shortage that many people would buy anything they could. Much of the hand sanitizers sold over Amazon actually came from out of country. The problem with this is that many chemicals that are banned in the U.S. are still used in other countries. Methanol is a good example of this which even prompted warnings from the FDA. Children can actually absorb methanol through their skin in amounts that can be toxic.

One consideration that we haven't discussed are the vapors of hand sanitizers, particularly when applied in vehicles, bathrooms and other small areas. Regular exposure to these vapors has led to an increase in respiratory immune illnesses and may explain many people who have developed respiratory issues but do not test positive for CoVid.

All of this has created a perfect storm of sensitivity within our bodies. Since the skin is the same tissue as the gut and research has proven that gut sensitivity and food allergies begin with a dermatitis or chronic depleting skin exposure, stomach and intestinal disorders have exponentially increased. Crohn's, colitis, acid reflux, gastritis and even IBS are affecting many people who never had an issue before. Psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema are afflicting many of my patients, some along with digestive distress.

The solution is to avoid hand sanitizer and instead simply wash your hands with soap and water. Avoid antibacterial agents, because CoVid is a virus and destroying the bacteria that protect both your skin and your gut will only make your resistance less. Now you need to regulate your immune system and restore your normal microbiome of the affected areas including the skin, the respiratory system and the gut. Pre and Probiotics, glutamine, lymphatic remedies and my favorite herbs for epithelial tissue such as Burdock, Oregon Grape, Sarsaparilla and Marshmallow Root, all create healing for these delicate and damaged tissues.

In addressing the gut, time is the greatest remedy because it is essential to slowly rebuild the microbiome and restore normalized digestion. This is an important thing to note, because many people make the mistake of thinking their gut has an allergy and so they seek to avoid whatever irritates it. But this will cause the gut to reduce the variety of enzymes, flora and immune cells to match the reduction in variety of foods. This then makes it impossible to handle certain foods and slowly that list will increase as the gut variation reduces. So it's not a solution to eliminate foods, instead the solution is to strengthen the gut.

The rise in allergies is something that should not be ignored because as our immune system is tied up managing histamine, inflammation and immunoglobulins, it is not providing full protection from opportunistic infections and pathogens. Allergies are a sign of immune dysregulation, not something to be suppressed and tolerated. If we do not pay attention to this fact, we may experience more debilitating illness in the future.


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Article Archives  This Month's Articles  Click Here for more articles by Dr. Karen Clickner, ND
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Denali Institute
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