Monday, June 22, 2009

Is Allergy Immunotherapy in the same category as Vaccination?

Do allergy shots fall into the same category as vaccines?That is a good question. The answer is both yes and no.

Allergy shots are often called “vaccines” because (1) they are injected and (2) the intention of both is to confer immunity. However allergy shots are unlike vaccines because (1) they are injected subcutaneously - under the skin, and (2) they do not contain the viral/bacterial material and toxic chemicals that vaccines do.

Allergy Immunotherapy is only recommended for allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and stinging insect allergy. It is not recommended for food allergies. It is not clear why this therapy does not work with foods. This might suggest that perhaps injecting attenuated food substances trigger more severe allergic reactions. It is said that allergy immunotherapy works like a vaccine and allergy shots are often referred to as vaccine. The immunologic basis for this form of treatment, however, is actually unknown. The theory is that both allergy immunotherapy and vaccinations manipulate the immune system into creating some type of immunity or resistance to the allergens and pathogens. The literature says that allergy shots must stop after 3 to 5 years and at that time the doctor has to decide whether to continue them or not. That would suggest that the cumulative effect of getting allergy shots compromises immune function in some way or has other side effects.

Allergens injected subcutaneously under the skin unleashes histamine or other mediating chemicals. The immunological reaction is similar to the allergic reaction a person has to the allergen in the environment. In other words, the immune system is allowed to behave the same way it does when the substances are encountered in the environment. This means that the mechanism INCLUDES both the normal cellular reactions and the complex non-specific reactions that happen under NORMAL circumstances of exposure. Allergy shots contain a non-toxic water-like base along with the allergen (which is not a virus or bacteria). Allergens cause allergic reactions (sometimes death, as in stings, etc.) but rarely morbidity. This is because the injection is subcutaneous, not into the bloodstream. A subcutaneous injection or oral medicine triggers normal immunological reactions. This permits completion of the complex process involved to create real immunity, and it allows the immune system to modulate appropriately. The substances are not driven into the bloodstream or deeper tissues of the body where vital organs could be affected.

Vaccines, on the other hand, are infection by injection – they are injected into the deeper tissues and bloodstream. Vaccines BYPASS the normal cellular reaction system and the complex communication process between the cellular immune system and the non-specific immune system. Life-long immunity can ONLY be conferred when the immune system deals with infection naturally (as in getting it from the natural environment). The immunity conferred with vaccines is only temporary, never life-long. Vaccines include both DISEASE-CAUSING viral or bacterial substances AND are loaded up with toxic chemicals and pharmaceutical medicines. These adjuvants are included because the immune response behaves quite differently with infection by injection and the adjuvants are needed to stimulate an immune reaction. Vaccines ALWAYS create morbidity – however, and except in the case of massive allergic reaction which is immediate, the signs/symptoms of vaccine reactions are often delayed due to the way non-specific immunity works.

Both allergy shots and vaccines have risks for allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. The risk is higher and more common with vaccines (for obvious reasons). Sublingual allergy immunotherapy has less risk for this kind of allergic reaction because the substances are not injected subcutaneously or into the bloodstream. When chronic allergies become debilitating or life threatening and suppressing the inflammatory response with antihistamines and/or steroidal drugs does not improve the individual’s health, the conventional approach is to identify the specific allergens so that they may be eliminated from the individual’s diet and/or environment or, as in the case of allergy immunotherapy, try to create immunity to the specific allergens. Allergy immunotherapy is successful for many people and is an efficacious way to deal with a very debilitating problem. Often, however, the therapy only lessens the severity of the allergy response and creates other side effects (headaches, skin conditions, additional allergies). If the allergy immunotherapy is only partially successful, then it is not curative and the health of the individual is still compromised and in a weak state.

The question should not be “What is a person allergic to?” but “Why does the person have allergies at all?” The real problem is not this or that allergen but the health of the individual and his/her ability to resist ANY disease process or infection. Neither vaccination or allergy immunotherapy addresses the underlying organ weaknesses and immune system problems that make the person susceptible to infections and allergic reactions. It is well known that repeated vaccination compromises immune function and weakens the health of the individual. What are the limits to such an approach?

Are there ways to improve health so that a person is not hypersensitive and susceptible to infection? Yes. For chronic immune deficiency states (repeated infections, severe allergies), consult with an experienced holistic physician who can diagnose and treat the underlying causes and patterns that are specific for you. For mild allergies begin improving your health today by making holistic healthcare a lifestyle choice. Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy provide life-promoting nutritional medicines that improve the health and vitality so that you can become more resistant to infection and less hypersensitive to the natural environment. There are many effective over the counter Chinese medicines and clinical homeopathic remedies that safely relieve allergy symptoms while improving overall health.

Three of my favorite Chinese herbal medicines for symptomatic relief of mild to moderate air-borne allergies include:

Dr. Shen’s Allergy Pills: for itchy eyes or skin, runny and stuffy nose

Dr. Shen’s Sinus and Nose Pills: nasal and sinus congestion or sinus headache

Bloom Season Support: for sneezing, post nasal drip, watery eyes, facial congestion

Homeopathic remedies for symptomatic relief of mild allergies to pet dander, pollen, hay fever, dust, insect bites, medications and food include:

Liddell Allergy: sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, post nasal drip, itchy eyes, rash, sinus discomfort

Liddell Sinus Congestion & Headache: sneezing, stuffy or congested nose, discharge, sinus pain, headache, throat inflammation

One of my favorite Chinese formulas for improving immunity (good support for those with seasonal or chronic allergies) is:

Dong Chong Xia Cao (cordyceps): used historically as a daily tonic to help the body build strength, improve breathing and lung function and strengthen the immune system

All these formulas have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-biotic properties. Dr. Shen's brand formulas contains no drugs, dyes, pharmaceuticals, animal products, or unlisted ingredients and contain premium grade herbs. You can learn more about these safe and effective remedies by visiting

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