Article #2: Allergy by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
The press of the country has recently been full of items and articles about what is called allergy, which is defined as an abnormal sensitivity to substances which are harmless to most people. Hay fever, asthma and hives are among the most common forms of suffering that are said to be due to allergy. Migraine headache is also classed as an allergic phenomenon.
The American Weekly, a Sunday magazine supplement of the Hearst papers, once carried a lengthy article on allergy.
We learn from this article that most microscopic fragments of a woman’s hair, specks of skin, or powder and dandruff scales may cause cold symptoms, sneezing and other discomforts, and are told that cold water (as in cold bathing) can bring on allergic reactions.
The author of the article informs us that approximately one in ten of our population in the United States have hay fever or other allergic symptoms. Many of these people “have been suffering since early spring from the pollen of successive plants which have come into bloom, such as the grasses, trees, and weeds. The peak of misery has come to them since the middle of August.” In August, ragweed and cedar trees begin to shed their pollens.
The writer tells us that while the rich can get away to less pollen-infested regions, or install air-conditioning units with pollen filters in their homes and go “into virtual retirement during the annual hay fever season, most of the victims of hay fever have been tied to their jobs and to their everyday way of life and have sneezed and suffered and cursed their fate.” Others, he reminds us “have tried the nose filters which cut down the amount of offending pollen inhaled at each living breath.”
The article contains a brief outline of a fantastic and chimerical theory of the cast of allergy, which seems to be taken from a book, Your Allergy and What To Do About It, by Dr. Milion B. Cohen and his daughter, June Cohen.
Briefly stated, this theory is that the body manufactures antibodies to destroy germs and the toxins these produce, so once the body has discovered the ability to produce antibodies, it will supposedly react to any foreign substance—whether “dangerous living disease germs,” or “substances that are inanimate and of themselves harmless”—by the production of antibodies, and thus make us sick. The article says:
Whatever the reason, it is unfortunate that in certain people some nonliving harmless things cause the cells of the body to release a substance which is poisonous. This kind of poisoning, resulting from the action of antibodies on harmless nonliving things, is called an allergic reaction.
In hay fever, the harmless thing attacked with ferocity by the body is the pollen of various plants, particularly ragweed.
What has been said about the development of immunity from a disease like typhoid fever applies in the development of an allergy, except that it is the second—rather than the first—exposure to the allergic material which creates the symptoms.
Let us go back to Mr. Smith again—or to you— and see what happens if it develops that you are allergic to eggs. You eat some eggs and absorb some of the protein called albumen into your bloodstream. This is a foreign protein. Ordinarily it would do nothing, for it is nonliving and will not grow and propagate itself.
However, the antibodies of the body against this foreign protein begin to be created. But, by the time they have been created, the albumen has disappeared and they have nothing to contend with. They are ready to fight but have no opponent.
When a dose of egg albumen is absorbed a second time, however, your cells are ready to act for they have attached to them the antibodies that attack egg albumen. Pouncing on their harmless foes, they produce poisons which cause the well-known allergic shock. This type of reaction can occur in anyone.
In one of his syndicated articles, Dr. Irving S. Cutter says: “almost any plant along the roadside or in the woods may affect you or me.” It seems man does not belong on earth. His whole environment seems to be opposed to him.
Now, “for the first time,” says the article in the American Weekly, “science really knows what happens when you have ‘allergies’.” We are to understand that the above absurdities constitute this knowledge possessed by “science.” There is no science about it—it is a mass of baseless speculation. No doubt this theory will stimulate the production of “cures” that do not cure, and the so-called victims of allergy will not be helped.
No plan of care based on the theory that hay fever, asthma, hives, migraine, eczema, etc., are allergic manifestations has ever provided more than a temporary and questionable palliation. Dr. Cohen is “barking up the wrong tree” if he imagines he has tracked down the cause of allergy (sensitivity). His speculations follow the well-known medical pattern and this pattern has always been barren of worthy results.
Sensitivity is not cause. It is but a link in a chain. Even assuming that his fanciful theory is correct, it must be recognized that the production of antibodies to fight harmless things is abnormal, and this abnormality is not causeless.
Let us quote again from the article in the American Weekly:
There is a famous case reported to the American Medical Association in which a husband went into a severe and real fit of coughing from asthma whenever his wife came near him. His physician reported: “His attacks are of the severe asthmatic type, which require epinephrine for relief, and this he must lake nightly if his wife is at home. For a few years, it has been impossible for them to sleep in the same bed at night. It has been suggested that the wife’s hair might be the offending cause. Is this likely?”
The A.M.A. suggested a continuation of skin tests for allergic and offending materials and said that several hundred materials ought to be studied as the possible cause. That was over a year ago. No report on the case has been brought to public attention since that time.
How futile is this study of “several hundred materials” to find what the “offending” materials are. It has been repeated in thousands of cases and nothing more than evanescent and more often than otherwise, harmful palliation, has come from it.
It is more important to know what makes one sensitive than to know what he is sensitive to. Let us dismiss the nonsense with which Dr. and June Cohen have filled a book, and look for a minute at a case of hay fever.
Examining the case, we discover that the lining membrane of the nose is inflamed, hence very sensitive to irritation. It is inflammation that renders the membrane abnormally sensitive—that is, sensitive to the normal elements of man’s environment.
Continuing with our investigation, we learn that the sufferer has chronic catarrh and had it, in fact, for several years before hay fever symptoms developed. We find that when the hay fever season is over and the symptoms characteristic of this trouble are no longer present, the sufferer still has catarrh. Frequent colds are suffered through the winter.
Carrying our investigation still deeper we find indigestion (gastritis) with constant fermentation and putrefaction in the digestive tract. The first development of acute gastritis came in infancy following a period of overeating, or following upon the heels of too much excitement or other enervating influences. Due to wrong care and imprudent feeding, gastritis became chronic, and frequent nose colds were followed by chronic nasal catarrh and, finally, hay fever.
The sufferer from asthma has followed practically the same line of pathological evolution except that frequent chest colds and bronchitis have finally developed into chronic bronchitis with the same inflammatory sensitization of the bronchial membranes that is seen in the nasal membrane in hay fever.
To get rid of asthma and hay fever, get rid of the chronic catarrh that forms their foundation. To get rid of the catarrh, remove its cause. Toxemia is its cause and toxemia has many causes.
Six years ago a resident of Brooklyn, New” York, who had spent five years in Arizona in a vain effort to cure asthma with the magic of climate, came to the Health School. After he had been here less than three weeks, his boy entered the solarium, where the man was having a sunbath. The boy was carrying a cat. The man took the cat in his hands and stroked it a few times then handed it back to the boy. He took a deep breath and then, with a sigh of relief said, “Before I came here, if that cat had merely entered the room where I was, I would have had an attack of asthma.”
How much better to get rid of the cause of sensitivity than to spend your whole life running from cats, dogs, horses, flowers and trees! Even if you can afford to air condition your home and put in special pollen filters, do you want to spend the rest of your life in the house? Or, do you want to wear a filter on your nose for the next ten to sixty years? Can you afford to leave your work or your business each “hay fever season” and go away to the mountains or to the sea.
Only the rich can afford most of these programs, and these, by palliating their symptoms and ignoring their causes, allow their whole bodies to give down before these causes. While the writer in the American Weekly assures us that “it is sheer fate which makes them (hay fever sufferers) suffer their tortures where normal people are completely well and untouched,” we assert that abnormality has definite and ascertainable causes.
In 1918, I cared for my first patient with hay fever. It was summer in San Antonio and she was suffering with a severe form of hay fever. She had so suffered for several years prior thereto.
She made a speedy recovery right in her own home, with no attention given to pollens, cats, dogs,” feather pillows, face powders or her husband’s dandruff. She has remained free of hay fever to this day and has spent all these intervening years in San Antonio. All cases of bronchial asthma and hay fever may recover in the same permanent manner by overcoming their chronic toxemia. How do we know this? We know because we have seen it done in hundreds of cases, even in cases of asthma that had persisted for twenty years.
What about “egg allergy?” It is due to impaired digestion, or to eating beyond digestive capacity. The normal digestive tract, if not overloaded, will not permit any undigested egg protein to enter the bloodstream.
All proteins must be digested before they can be used by the body. After they are digested, they are transformed during their passage through the intestinal wall into human therefore no longer foreign) proteins. All proteins are foreign proteins and are poisonous if they get into the body without undergoing these digestive and transforming processes.
All serums are foreign proteins, and they can produce anaphylactic shock, which is just another name for serum poisoning or protein poisoning. The “allergic” symptoms produced by serums are worse than any ever produced by eggs that are eaten.
We do not consider eggs good human food and do not advocate their use, but we know that when toxemia is eliminated and nerve energy restored, so that digestion and metabolism are normal, former sensitivity to eggs ceases to annoy. To restore good health ends all the annoying symptoms arid reactions that are based on impaired health.
The normal man is adjusted to his natural environment. The normal elements in man’s natural environment become sources of discomfort only after resistance has been broken down. When resistance is restored to normal, the former discomforts come to an immediate end.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Allergies
- 3. Bronchial Asthma
- 4. Eczema
- 5. Hives
- 6. Gastrointestinal Allergy (Food Allergy)
- 7. Allergy And Hyperactivity In Children
- 8. Hay Fever
- 9. What To Do If You Have Symptoms Of Allergies
- 10. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Hay Fever and Asthma By Dr. Robert Gross
- Article #2: Allergy By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #3: Why Suffer With Hay Fever? By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton