Monday, January 14, 2013

Folk Wisdom for Kids: 40 Causes of Allergy - a Checklist (Twelfth of a Series)

Folk Wisdom for Kids:   40 Causes of Allergy - a Checklist (Twelfth  of a Series)
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) 
with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday
Cigarette photo credit: Internet

Let me present some cases of allergy often encountered. These were gathered from our radio listeners on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid, and my students at UST, DLSU-D and SPU-QC.

1. Smoking.  Drivers, office workers, mechanics, farmers, writers, teachers, name it, and the habit is widespread. I know one whose only  bisyo is paninigarillo. He didn’t live long.

2. “Canned entertainment” such as parties in fastfoods predisposes kids to various ailments and psychological trauma, and to certain kinds of allergy. It is devoid of the natural environment that builds resistance to allergy as the children grow up.

3. Some common allergens are flowers of kasoy, Bulacan wonder, kupkupyes, macopa, and tapilan. Lipang Kalabaw, a very itchy plant that grows into a tree.

4. Mushroom Allergy. There are spores of fungi like Auricularia or “tainga ng daga” and wild tree mushroom even when they have dried up.

5. Fowls and wild birds are common causes of allergy, from their feathers and parasites, to their droppings. The filthiest bird second to the vulture is the crow carries vermin from carcasses of animals and garbage.  Allergy from reptiles – from skin casting to vermin attracted by their food and waste.

6. Don’t play with spiders. Spiders cause allergy with the hair coverings of their body, and web or silk of certain species. The Black Widow is one of the few poisonous species.

7. Allergic to trees like ipil-ipil (Leucaena glauca)? It’s due to “plant lice” like Psylla, a minute insect pest that wiped out ipil-ipil plantations in the seventies and eighties. They build dense colonies on a single tree, sapping its vitality until it dies.

8. Mealybugs and scale insects (Order Homoptera) produce waxy covering layer for protection and camouflage, as well as casing of their eggs and young. Cottony mealybug (Pseudococcos) on guava leaf; the insect without waxy covering.

9. Pesticide Residue in fruits. Fruits may carry pesticide residues of dangerous chemicals like Folidol, BHC and Malathion. Pesticide residues on vegetables, particularly on crucifers – cabbage, lettuce, pechay, cauliflower – register above allowable levels. Lack of monitoring may predispose consumers to the effects of pesticides.

11. Kapok or Cotton Tree (Ceiba pentandra L) releases seeds covered with lint from the mature pod The fiber is gathered mainly for pillow. It is cool and preferred over synthetic fills. Dehiscence period is towards the end of the year.

12. Fire Tree (Delonix regia) Both flowers and caterpillars attacking the tree may cause allergy. Higad or the hairy caterpillar of Tussock moth causes irritation of the skin which may last for days. A common remedy is to apply vinegar on the affected skin. If the sharp hairs are embedded, apply candle drops and allow to solidify. Then peel off with the encased hair. 

13. Allergic to Termites? It may be the termite or the mushroom in farms in its chamber - or both - that cause the allergy. Termites work with lignin-breaking fungi that soften the wood. Inside their guts are protozoa that break up cellulose, aiding digestion – a classic case of symbiosis.

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Global Warming and Climate Change increase incidence of Asthma and Allergy cases around the world.
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14. Pesticide Residues. Poisonous hydrocarbon and phosphate compounds find their way through the food chain – in the case of frog from sprayed insects that serve as its prey. Pesticide residues accumulate in its tissues and transferred to the its predators, including man.

15. Are you allergic to native delicacies? Sinanglaw is a favorite Ilocano dish from internal organs of carabao or cattle cooked in slow fire and heavily spiced with hot pepper, paminta and ginger. Pinapaitan and kilawin prepared from goat’s meat are a native delicacy in many parts of the country. Other delicacies include kaldereta and soup “number 5.”

17. Tulingan  and tanggigi  is a common cause of allergy to many people. It is a practice to drain the blood by cutting the tail, and carefully removing the entrails before the fish is cut and served raw or cooked. The danger worsens when the fish is no longer fresh. There are people who are also allergic to tuna.

18. Shellfish – tahong, talaba and halaan may harbor the red tide dinoflagellate is large quantity that may lead to Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) in man. PSP symptoms may first appear as allergy, and may be lethal if not treated immediately.

20. Allergy is caused by insects Banana and mabolo (left) attacked by fruit fly (Dacus orsalis. Dacus cucurbitae). It attacks dozens of popular fruits and vegetables, including mango, citrus, guava, macopa, cucumber, ampalaya.

21. Mosses, algae, ferns and short growing annuals may cause allergy, including their substrates that undergo transformation by weathering.

22. The domesticated honeybee (Apis melifera) normally does not sting unless provoked, unlike the notorious African honeybee which threatens the US honeybee industry today. There are as many deaths due to bee sting as snake bites. People vary in reaction to bee sting, from swelling to difficulty in breathing.

23. Millipedes (Class Diplopods) exude Cyanide gas to stun their prey as well as repel their predators. Thus children should warned not to play with the “diken-diken,” playing possum by curling its body into a tight ring.

24. Avoid obnoxious and annoying insects - all kinds of bugs, plant lice, aggressive Insects such as wasp and hantik ant. Hemipterans - the bugs – exude an obnoxious odor which is caustic to the skin and eyes, a chemical offensive that wards off would-be predators attracted by their brilliant colors and attractive designs.

25. Perfectly camouflaged, these insects lie surreptitious to their prey and predator and people may be unwary of them. 

Stink bug (Nezara viridula); Papillio butterfly pollinates flowers and in effect spreads pollen grains over a wide area.

Lepidopterans – butterflies, moths and skippers – are covered with scales of of chitin, a very resistant cellulose-like compound. The practice of releasing butterflies in place of throwing rice on a newly married couples has been discouraged because of the danger the chitinous scales that cause irritation of the skin and eyes.

26. There are various allergic reactions to fowls and birds, not only for their feathers, but mites and lice belonging to two Orders Anoplura (suckling lice) and Mallophaga (chewing lice) - that reside in their bodies and nests.

27. Ngarusangis is a very small bivalve that occurs in colonies in estuaries. The shells are gathered for food and for ducks in raising balot. Allergy cases have been reported by eating this favorite soup of the Ilocanos.  Increasing lead pollution has forced the shutdown of many salt beds in the country. Salt made near cities and industrial sites may pose danger to health.

28. Does radiation cause allergy? Radiation emitted by radio transmitters have been found to be the cause of a number of ailments from insomnia to sterility. It is also associated with cancer, abnormal blood levels and heart conditions which may be related to allergy or allergy symptoms.

30. Danger lurks in murky water – diseases, vermin, etc. Heavily polluted waterways such as the Pasig River contain high levels of Hydrogen Sulfide, Ammonia, Methane, other gases, and toxic metals.

31. Allergy to plastics and other synthetic materials. Stuffed toys may cause allergy, so with many things put into the mouth.

32. It might be aldelfa or yellow bell flower. The sap may cause paralysis of the pharynx leading to asphyxiation.

34. Aflatoxin in peanut, corn and others go unnoticed with the preserved food.

35. Believe it or not – bad spirits like the kapre lives in old balete tree. Naan-annongan is different from nakasagsagid , but the symptoms are quite similar - profuse sweating and feeling of general weakness.

36. Allergy from yeast and young wine.

37. Are you allergic to fireworks, and on New Year’s Eve?

38. Allergy to dust and dust mites in bedrooms and unkempt dwellings.

39. Milk is the number source of allergy in infants and young children. Peanut is the most common source of energy among legumes.

40. Genetically modified food may contain foreign genetic materials unsuspecting to be the cause of allergy, Example: gene from flounder spliced with tomato gene. Anti-freeze property of flounder makes tomato resistant to frost in the field.

Trivia
Pollen Allergy is often the cause of sneezing fit and asthmatic symptoms.
It is true.  It is called allergy rhinitis There are people who are highly sensitive to pollen grains. And their allergy is specific to certain plants, and at certain seasons these plants are in bloom. Plants belonging to Family Poaceae or Graminae which include rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, talahib, cogon, and the like generally bloom in the last quarter beginning October when dry season the habagat season is about to end and dry season starts. 

Here are tips to prevent or minimize pollen allergy.

·         Keep away from flowers and flowering plants
·         Stay home to prevent exposure to pollen
·         Avoid touching eyes and skin to prevent spread of allergy.
·         Don’t bring in flowers and plants inside the house.
·         Use mask and proper clothing.

There is a pollen calendar developed by the late Dr. Lolita Bulalacao of the National Museum, a pioneer in palynology (the study of pollen grains) in the Philippines. The calendar warns us people who are susceptible to allergy to keep away from pollen coming from certain flowering plants in season and from specific areas that may cause allergy. The symptoms of allergy rhynitis are generally relieved by antihistamine, which comes in different preparations and brands, as tablet or ointment.~


 
 Top, clockwise: Hantik (green tree ant) nest, web spider, 
termites, aphids, honeybee, a pair of cotton stainer 

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