So why are you sick? Compare your immune system to a rain barrel, and the water level in the rain barrel represents all the stressor to your immune system. These stressors come in the form of exposures to chemicals, food, pollens, pollution in all forms, etc. Other factors include increased stress, illness and insufficient rest, little or not exercise, and subnormal nutrition. The level of the water barrel increases with each stressor. When the water overflows the barrel the system is overloaded and begins to break down. The result is an overwhelmed immune system that can no longer function to keep us well. We can then develop allergic symptoms and many other health problems. We can help reduce the water level in the barrel through proper nutrition, exercise, and rest. Along with these factors, some patients may require testing and treatment, as well as minor adjustments to their environment. Success of any treatment is usually directly proportional to your personal commitment to optimum health. Our office is committed to helping you set and reach your goals for optimum health. We can provide you with information and assistance with any of the factors and treatments we provide. Working together we can provide positive changes in your overall health. Allergies and sensitivities are abnormal responses by the body to substances that the body recognizes as foreign, and to which most people normally don’t react. Such substances include dust mite feces, pollen, mold spores, foods, chemicals, and drugs. Any system of the body can be affected in a large variety of ways. In fact, some specialists in this field say that you can get just about any kind of symptom from any kind of substance. The most common and familiar kind of allergic disorder is hay fever, which occurs in spring, summer, or fall. Common symptoms of hay fever are itchy or watery eyes, nasal congestion, runny or itchy nose, and itching of the roof of your mouth. Less common symptoms of allergy and food sensitivity include frequent headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pains, chronic skin problems, diarrhea and constipation, postnasal drip, hyperactivity, and several others. To effectively treat your allergies, some kind of allergy testing may need to be done. There are several different testing methods. First, there is a blood test which measures how much allergy antibody called IgE is present against various things you might inhale or ingest. Food Allergies and Sensitivities One of the most important elements of allergy medicine is learning how to avoid things that trigger symptoms or add to your total load. This is something we emphasize in our practice. We also try and help make your body better able to handle exposures by supporting other systems of your body that contribute to better tolerance. For more information please refer to our food allergy page for more information. A note about Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Some patients find that certain chemicals in their environment cause them problems. These associations can be difficult to prove, especially when no one else is affected in the same way. Such proof usually requires highly specialized booth testing which is not readily available in most places. The basic treatment for chemical sensitivity is optimizing total wellness factors, optimal nutrition, hormonal balance, massive total load reduction of as many allergens as possible, and by specific avoidance of the offending agents. Our office is not always able to successfully treat highly chemically sensitive patients, and we may refer them to the Environmental Health Center in Dallas, Texas. Also, the antigens we use for skin testing do contain preservatives. Please note that we will not get involved in any legal disputes regarding chemical or mold sensitivities including work-related issues or reimbursement for residential remediations, etc Dr. Epperly is a fellow in the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) and a past member of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM). The extensive training he has received through these organizations has enabled him to more successfully treat a wide variety of the most commonly experienced chronic health problems.