Bismillahi Rohmani Rohiym
In The Name of Allah
On Allergies: Is Modern Medicine Fighting the Causes of This Ailment?
Are Doctors Telling Us Everything?
A Case Against Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtac, and other «allergy relief»
medicines and their makers together with distributors, prescribers, and
By Mamurjon Rahimov, May 12/2004
Allergies are abnormal reactions of the immune system that occur in
response to otherwise harmless substances.
An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance (called an
allergen) which causes the body’s defense system (the immune system) to
overreact when defending itself. Normally, the immune system would only
react if a harmful substance, such as a bacteria, attacks the body. For
people with allergies, their own immune system is working too hard, and
it reacts even when relatively harmless substances such as pollen are
present. The severity of an allergic reaction can vary from mild
discomfort to life threatening situations.
Allergies are among the most common of medical disorders. It is
estimated that 60 million Americans, or more than one in every five
people, suffer from some form of allergy, with similar proportions
throughout much of the rest of the world. Allergy is the single largest
reason for school absence and is a major source of lost productivity in
Wow! These dreadful allergies are going to get us! What kind of
wunderkinds wrote the above paragraphs, and trying to fool everyone?
I feel I have been deceived in a big way for the second time, maybe
more, by the medical profession. I wonder why would doctors hide all
the information about the truth on allergies and other medical
knowledge, and the only explanation that comes to my mind is financial
stakes behind this single largest industry in the USA — that in size
leaves behind aerospace, automotive, petroleum industries, to name a
few. In fact, by economic size Medical Industry is at least three times
as large as the Automotive Industry of the USA!
I was able to understand allergies through my conversations with
friends, doctors, reading news, encyclopedias, articles and books on
immune system, and most importantly — through observations of myself and
those around me. Why can I understand some things in such a plain way
while doctors try to keep the fog around it, and my part is only obeying
to their prescriptions?
Humans are like cars…
…In many ways human beings are similar to cars…Driver is like a
soul, a car is like our body, and immune system resembles on board
computer of the car…
I have some university engineering education, so when my car has a
problem, I first try to find a solution by myself before taking it to a
mechanic. Someone told me that in America one should not trust three
categories of people: mechanics, doctors, and politicians.
Once my car lost power, and I tried to find its causes. Symptoms showed
that fuel was not burning properly inside cylinders (computer
diagnostics at AutoZone). I searched the causes in electrical and air
system. I did an expensive tune-up, changed air filter and airflow
sensor, but shortly «check engine» light came back on. Then I turned to
fuel system, and mixed injector cleaner and fuel pipe cleaner with
several fill-ups. Every time the light would turn off for few days, and
come back on again.
Finally, I came to the last thing I suspected to be the cause of the
power loss — fuel filter. As soon as I replaced it (very cheap), the
car became like new! It was accelerating faster than ever before, and
moreover «check engine» light never came back on again! Hence, until I
found the real cause of the problem — the fuel filter that was clogged
with dirt over the years — my car was suffering and could not tell me
what was hurting most…
Chicago — a pollen capital? Location, location, location… What else?
(Intensity of exposure)
Until I came to Chicago, I never had pollen allergy. Furthermore, I
observed that I did not suffer pollen allergy the first year in spring
(in Chicago). What was different that first year? Is that my IMMUNE
SYSTEM was working properly then, and eventually failed in protecting my
organism which caused my sufferings (runny nose, itchy red eyes,
occasional nasal congestion)? That is unbelievable because I live a
healthy way of life, avoiding smoking, drinking, and other hazardous
habits. I spent over two years in Atlanta also and never «suffered»
allergies there. Plus, I grew up at a rural town, and all the farm
work, and our wonder garden never caused any trouble during blossom
time. Pollen maps of the USA show that Chicago is in the «heavy» zone,
which is second to «very heavy pollination» zone. Pollen maps are made
using pollen count of a cubic meter (or another unit of measurement) of
local air. Within a state or a city, neighborhoods can also be
classified according their pollination level, vegetation type. For
instance, I live in Hickory Hills, IL, and hickory pollen is a
well-known «allergen» (pollen.com: pollen library).
But even in Chicago, many people are not having pollen allergies, while
some cashing out on prescription allergy-relief drugs after exhausting
the power of OTC drugs. Why?
Another thing to know about Chicago is that it is a very windy place.
Although it is not the windiest city in the USA, its winds take pollens
around for hundreds of miles, and most importantly at high speeds.
What is pollen?
n : transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma of a plant [syn:
WordNet, Princeton University
Every spring most trees and other plants blossom, and most of them emit
pollen. Insects and birds are good carriers of pollen, but the best and
invisible one is wind. As said before, winds carry pollen for hundreds
of miles, and even after the winds subside, since pollen is so tiny and
light, it stays afloat for a very long time in the air.
Rains are very good at washing away pollen from air and various
surfaces, but short and light rains only make things worse by elevating
already settled pollen from surfaces back into the air
Most of the pollen certainly comes in spring in majority of places, and
some plants continue to blossom and emit pollen throughout the year.
Pollination season is better described by blossom season. Blossoming
trees and weeds produce the pollen as a natural way of multiplying.
When plants start blossoming we should know that pollen is in the air
and should keep ourselves away from this natural process’ way.
«Allergies» can be thought of as a punishment that is inflicted on us
for intervening with this natural process…:)
Is Pollen Really an Allergen?
Yes, and no. The very definition of allergen is somewhat confusing, I
believe. I read postings on Internet sites dedicated to allergies,
where people ask what is so dangerous in pollen that it causes
allergies. Certain sites, such as allergyinfo.com maintained by Zyrtac,
even mention some super allergens (certain weeds and trees).
There is no need to create a new word and definition, such as allergy or
allergen. We learnt that allergy is an immune reaction (action), which
is allegedly «abnormal». Interestingly, I believe that allergy is 100%
normal. I will write in detail below.
By definition, allergens are anything that can cause allergy. Virtually
anything can cause allergy, even people. For someone who does not like
me, I would be an allergen. So, if one can call anything allergen, then
there is no need to have the word itself, because words are needed for
us to differentiate between things. That in turn makes us to believe
that the word allergy is also redundant.
I am suspecting that these words were adopted by learned medical men
mainly to confuse people from the main thing that we are dealing with —
I did some enlightening for myself in the field of vaccines recently
(nvic.org), and I do not trust medical professionals in this field
anymore. My family is now protected from vaccines and everything else
that comes with it, inshaallah. My knowledge of immunology led me in
understanding allergy phenomenon. I came to understand that immune
system works in all of us unnoticeably most of the time. Our
responsibility is to take appropriate measures to consciously assist our
immune system when it undertakes some extreme and noticeable actions,
which is the case of «allergic reaction».
Medical and other encyclopedias referred to allergies as
«hypersensitivity» to a substance (britannica.com). In plain language,
hypersensitivity would be «too sensitive», «job overdone», «false
alarm», «false start», I suppose. But, having read the descriptions on
how immune system works, I doubt that such a sophisticated system fails
in such a big way.
Allergies are divided to many kinds such as pollen, chemicals, food, and
medicine, to name a few. In this case I will be talking specifically
about pollen allergies, but most of my observations can be related to
other allergies as well.
When a substance, called allergen, touches the inside walls of our nose,
according medical literature, immune system mistakes it for invaders and
launches immune attack by producing histamine and a lot of nasal fluid.
Histamine clogs the small capillaries inside the nose, which leads to
congestion. When we take Claritin, its antihistamine reduces histamine
production by immune system — that qualifies it to be immunosuppressant
drug, i.e. a drug that lowers the body’s normal immune response [syn:
immunosuppressive drug] (WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University).
This made me very cautious because the immunosuppressants usually
suppress immunity in all ways, not just towards one or two substances.
This means by taking convenient allergy-relief medicines people are
making their bodies susceptible to many other dreadful infectious
diseases. It is also like removing air filter in one’s car and
continuing driving when engine has «breathing problem» due to the
clogged air filter.
So what made me decide that I had «pollen allergy»?
Observation of my allergy history and pattern lead me to some very
clear-cut conclusions about pollen allergy. I remember my sneezing and
itchy eyes started immediately after we visited a local forest preserve
with my family in spring 2003. My wife and child were with me but their
window was closed, and thus they avoided direct exposure to
high-concentration pollen dust current blowing inside. At first my wife
and I thought I caught cold or flu, but it cannot continue for over a
month without any improvement. Within a month I used more than a dozen
boxes of paper tissue. Finally I spoke with Dr. Sahloul, a
pulmonologist from Syria, and after I explained him the symptoms he
recommended me Claritin. I took the medicine and eventually my
allergies subsided, but I now realize that pollen season was almost over
until I took the medicine.
New spring came and by early May I started having the same symptoms as
last year. My wife got away with little sneezing and occasional
coughing, and my daughter Nargiz had very mild form of pollen allergy —
because pollen dust hit her where she usually sits — right behind me in
a car seat. This time I knew for sure I was «suffering» pollen
«allergy». So I got my good old Claritin, in order to feel not just
clear, but «Claritin-Clear». But after two pills I was feeling dry
mouth and eyes, fatigue, dizziness, slow reaction, and all the rest that
was forewarned by the medicine’s insert. I gave up the medicine right
away, and turned to Internet and books to learn about allergies on my
I also noticed this year that my left eye was hurt more by pollen dust —
which I traced to my habit of keeping driver’s side window open.
I never had properly functioning car A/C until now (now I have), and
that was a big problem last year. The year before that I drove only
occasionally during spring and made very short trips, that is why
allergy spared poor me. Since I gave up my intention to feel «Claritin
Clear», I do not go to parks for too long and too often, keep my car
windows closed all the time, and A/C on, and I am getting well day after
day! That is my allergy myth uncovered!
How Does Immune System Work to Prevent Passage of High Quantity of
Pollen into the Lungs?
That is The Question. The question is not how allergies work, or how
dangerous pollen is. We have to inquire into the realm of IMMUNE
SYSTEM, one of the wonders of ALLAH’s creation — this divine, super
fast, and complex mechanism, that leaves far behind all the military and
civil protection measures devised by men.
I was in the military couple years ago, and I passed all the training
and tests for a lieutenant. Back then we were taught about chemical
warfare. Enemy is most likely to use chemical weapons when the wind is
blowing towards our lines: that keeps them safe and helps to inflict
maximum chemical damage to our troops. That is not the most interesting
part I learnt about chemical attack. The most interesting thing that
struck me is that after the wind blows away the chemical dust away from
our lines, we, soldiers, can get up, clean our clothes and ammunition,
and continue the battle. Eventually, if no more chemical attacks are
expected, we can even take off our protective clothing, and walk further
and follow the retreating enemy. When I was modeling how IMMUNE SYSTEM
works when too much garbage (like dust, pollen, chemicals, and whatever)
keeps entering through nasal tract (as well as mouth), I remembered that
the concentration of the chemical (pollen, dust, dander) in the air is
more important to keep in mind than its mere existence. That is, when
we take off our protective chemical suits, there maybe some more
chemical particles left in the air and some of it still airborne after
we shake off the chemical residue from our ammunition, but the
concentration is not lethal anymore! That is well known in allergy
circles, and some sites even offer zip code-by- zip code pollen forecast
Furthermore, the speed, intensity at which these particles hit our eyes,
body, nostrils is also very important, since this determines how deep
the particles can infiltrate into our body. This is not emphasized in
most of the sources that I encountered.
My purpose was to find a natural cure or something like that, herb or an
exercise. I found out that besides countless doctors, pharmacies, and
clinics, a lot more self-learned wunderkinds were offering their
services to rid you of the dreadful allergies. Some went as far as
making hypnosis-based CD courses, for $29.99 plus shipping and handling,
to make you immune to allergies! I myself drank an herbal tea that my
wife believed would make me free of allergies. But eventually, what I
found out literally put things upside down, and exposed the truth about
Pollen dust is more convenient description to use, and I see no wisdom
behind separating allergies into «pollen allergies» and «dust
allergies». This is consistent with what I said about my findings, and
that what I am writing here is highly relevant to any other kind of
«allergies». Pollen is fine dust that is emitted by plants into the
air, in order to multiply themselves, and some of it ends up in our
nasal passages, and if we, trying to use quick-fix nasal decongestants,
and allergy medications open the way — this dust goes all the way into
the lungs and cause worse things than congestion, sneezing, and runny
nose — and one of them is asthma. It is already established that the
people who suffer most from allergies are also very likely to develop
asthma. That is no wonder. Opening air passages with artificial drugs
when actually these passages need to be clogged, closed, and cleaned in
natural way. Let’s make one more step into the modern medicine, and ask
why so many companies in the USA sell contact lenses, glasses, and eye
drops (Visine)? For example, CLARITIN and other allergy medicines cause
dry eyes (I suspect they interfere with body liquid production in some
way, because they also cause dry mouth). Dry eyes become open target
for pollen dust bombardment and that worsens human vision. Of course,
Americans generally «work» a lot with computers, watch too much TV, and
read too much also, but I just exposed one more CLEAR reason of bad eye
health. I can’t help making another intrusion into medical mystery: why
so many people have bad breath and teeth? Human saliva has cleaning and
disinfecting effect. It maintains teeth enamel and kills germs and
bacteria… Dry mouth that caused by allergy medicines — is probably one
of the main causes that make our teeth and mouth vulnerable to «foreign
invaders»…And bad breath and teeth is a big business, we must not
forget, both for medical profession and food producers that make gums
and mints of all kind.
I remember using decongestants in my childhood, and quite predictably —
I had asthma afterwards for more than ten years. Our immune system
produces various fluids to keep our body clean. One of them is nasal
fluid. Our nose is a special organ created to pre-screen the air that
we breathe in. Normally, minimum of nasal fluid is enough to clean the
If anything is abnormal about «allergies», that is the concentration of
dust (pollen dust) in the air during pollination season (summer, spring,
and fall). And quite predictably our immune system is expected to work
much harder during such seasons. Just like American tanks’ air filters
needed frequent changing during sand storms in IRAQ in spring of 2003.
Hence, it is also abnormal to expose our nose and eyes to a high current
of this pollen dust. Pollen dust irritates our eyes and nose. In
response, our immune system produces «abnormal» amounts of tears to keep
eyes clean and nasal fluid to keep our lungs protected — and this
abnormal quantity is quite normal for such abnormal season(s). When
this pollen dust sticks to the fluids tears flow, and sneezing happens —
that is IMMUNE SYSTEM is flushing the waste!
Hmm, I live in Chicago, and the first thing that comes to mind is
So, what is the main reason for traffic congestions?
Road construction, those guys who are trying to repair the potholes on
the asphalt highway!
Then, do we use decongestants for the traffic congestions?
No. We wait for construction workers to finish their job.
Because repairing those potholes is necessary for a healthy traffic in
Now do you see the parallel?
Congestion of our nose is also a process of repair of damaged tissue
inside the nasal tract and it is necessary for a healthy, smooth traffic
in the future!
Then why do we blow away the construction workers in our nose, i.e.
nasal fluid sent to repair and clean the area damaged by too much
traffic (caused by truckloads of pollen dust), while trying to open the
congestion? That leads me back to my recommendation that we should not
blow our nose too frequently during blossom season.
People most susceptible to pollen allergies:
1) People with convertible cars
2) People whose car’s A/C does not work properly
3) People whose home is not properly ventilated and/or air-conditioned
4) People who like to keep car window open while driving (especially,
5) People with open motorboats
6) Motor bikers (especially without a helmet)
7) Bikers (especially during high-pollen hours of the day)
8) Children, because they breath more frequently and stay outside longer
9) People whose job or hobby keeps them outdoors most of the time during
It is well known that human saliva has disinfecting effect just like
human sweat that besides cooling kills germs attached to the skin. The
same is true about human tears — they not only lubricate eyes, but also
wash away and kill germs in the eyes. Likewise, I think nasal liquid
has cleaning and rehabilitating effect in the nasal tract and should not
be blown frequently. Moreover, I suggest that it be held as long as
possible for faster results. If both nostrils are congested, we should
breathe through mouth, and stay away from high pollen spaces, especially
outdoors. We should filter the air we breathe through mouth by A/C
and/or piece of cloth.
Hence, I think one should consume plenty of liquids to provide his body
with raw material to produce the nasal fluid. …And do not try to save
Congestion is also necessary during immune reaction. Just like road
construction crews close a highway temporarily for repairs, immune
system is doing exactly this!
Go out to play and rest in the nature after rains, not during «dry» days
of pollination season. There are maps and tables showing pollination
seasons in each state.
Do not allow draught (draft) to take place in the house — his may bring
in more pollen inside.
If much pollen get inside the room, it is advised to hang moistened
sheet in few corners which will act as pollen-catchers. Do not forget
to wash away the pollen afterwards from those sheets!
Keep all windows closed and A/C on while your car is moving.
Most of the information I have used here is in public domain, but it is
fragmented, and mentioned as secondary measures to prevent allergies.
For instance Zyrtac’s website gives a lot of natural ways of preventing
allergies, behind its main endorsement — the medicine itself.
But it is up to us, people, to decide what is secondary and what is
first thing to do. Each and every individual is obliged to learn at
least basics of medicine to protect himself and his family against
diseases and incompetent doctors, and other authorities.