Allergies, Asthma, and Forest Fires
We all love our summers here in Vancouver, but for many reasons, this season can be a challenge. Whether you have environmental allergies, asthma, or are just sensitive to the smoke from forest fires we are experiencing, summer weather can trigger a variety of immune disorders.
What increases our susceptibility to allergies and other immune disturbances?
Our immune system can be thought of as a bucket. Every day, this bucket gets filled with different things that require immune processing. As this bucket becomes full, it is no longer able to manage the workload efficiently and starts to become dysregulated. Our immune system may then start to overreact (think inflammation, physical pain, environmental allergies, food sensitivities, etc.), or not be able to wage a proper immune response in order to fight the common cold.
Here are some of the exposures that we can consider in our daily lives, that weigh down our immune system, and fill the bucket:
- Physical and emotional stress
- Environmental exposures – dust, mold, smoke, water contamination, industrial pollutants
- Toxicity – drugs, alcohol, prescriptions
- Chronic infections – bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic
- Diet – pesticides, food sensitivities, sugar, nutrient deficiencies
- Inadequate sleep
- Advancing age
All of these triggers contribute to rising levels of inflammation in the body, which the immune system then has to clean up. In reducing some of these triggers, we lower inflammation in the body and strengthen our immune response.
Many conditions are inflammatory in nature. Arthritis in the joints, chronic pain, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns and Colitis, eczema and psoriasis affecting the skin, sinusitis, bronchitis, and food and environmental allergies, amongst many others. Any triggers for inflammation will in turn, worsen these conditions.
A healthy immune system has the ability to better adapt to, and overcome exposures to external pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, food sensitivities, dust, pollen, smoke, etc.
Beyond limiting exposures, we can also support the immune system in reducing current toxic burden. Regular detoxification and liver support can help our bodies to respond appropriately to pathogens and triggers by emptying our buckets. Through diet and supplementation, we can also address the specific demands on the immune system that each particular condition requires.
For the summer specifically, we can also make our home into more of a safe space free from triggers. Windows may be kept closed, regular vacuuming to eliminate dust and pet dander is helpful, as well as a high-quality HEPA filter to purify the air.
Your health doesn’t have to suffer during these summer months. Simple changes to support your body can make the world of a difference.
— Dr. Brett Simpson, ND
To book in for an initial visit with Dr. Brett Simpson to address your concerns around inflammation and immune health visit our website at theiv.ca or give us a call at 604-974-8999.