The Allergies and Case Work-ups – Allergy Case Study
WORLD WAR I had ended, and now the energies of the people were caught up in the maelstrom of fast fliers and speculation. And then, from Tennessee, came an interruption to the cadenza of the Twenties, and, for a brief respite, the attention of the nation focused on a debate argued by two men of brilliant minds—one a lawyer, the other a minister. Central to the debate was the question: What is man?
Stirring the country, this debate was carried into millions of homes where pros and cons were argued further. But, unfortunately, there was never a clear decision. The subject was doomed to oblivion simply because it was affected by “point of view.’*
On the one hand, there was a man highly regarded by the ministry and, on the other, a man equally respected by the legal profession. Whereas one argued from a spiritual standpoint, the other was more concerned with the physical or tangible.
In your own mind, you will probably decide that one factor is as important as the other, and your deduction is correct. The majority of us, however, have been inclined to favor the physical point of view, for surviving on spiritual food alone is practically like living on love. It is all right until you get hungry.
Everything is proper in its place. A fine attorney may save a client’s life in. a courtroom, but, given an operating room, a scalpel and a harem of nurses, he couldn’t remove an appendix to save the same person’s life. Or a bottle of cascara may do wonders for a constipated body, although it would decline to open a stuffed carburetor.
These are not absurdities. There are uninformed individuals who do things that are equally unreasonable.
There are, for example, all kinds of motor oils. To the average person, they all look alike. Perhaps we cannot afford oil that sells for 25 or 35 cents a quart. Ah, what’s this? A grocery store with a special on motor oil at 12 cents a quart. That’s just fine! We pour gallons of 12-cent oil into the motor, and the car apparently starts, runs and stops the same as it ever did.
Everything is fine until one day the car won’t start at all. A garage man (at $3.50 per hour) tells us that a gummy, tarlike substance has been accumulating in the valves and that new piston rings are needed. He suggests that the condition may be the result of using oil made with a paraffin base. Man as a physical being is a machine, too, and his reactions are very much like those of a machine. The similarity ceases when we realize that there is a tremendous difference between what can happen to a motor that has been fed improper oil and to a man who has been given improper food to eat and improper air to breathe.
So far as the motor is concerned, there are three alternatives: you may stop using the car, in which event the condition grows neither better nor worse; you may continue to use the car, but, sooner or later, you would have to stop; or you may call in that repairman to remove and replace the faulty parts, in which case the motor will very likely function again.
Let us see how the same alternatives apply to the human body. Mr. Smith may be very fond of sweet corn, but there is something about his internal chemistry that abhors this food. Smith has noticed the effect of corn on bis body. As a matter of fact, he had seriously considered promoting it as a palatable substitute for castor oil.
Smith is an average man, and does not realize that there are other reactions to his favorite delicacy. The fact that his body throws off sweet corn ought to indicate to him that it is not wanted, but his weakness for corn supersedes his consideration for his own health. He continues to pour the roasting ears into his internal mechanism until one day something goes wrong. What is he to do? Can he stop using his body? Hardly. Can he continue to take his particular poison? Not if he becomes seriously ill.
Unlike the car owner, Smith has but one alternative. He goes to see his doctor who, like the repairman, must give him an overhauling. He will turn out almost as good as ever, but there is one reaction he will have that a motor can never experience—a psychological alteration.
His illness will undoubtedly change Smith’s personality to a certain degree. He will remember how he felt. And he will have the power to observe, to report and to change.
What is this “mystic” power that common, ordinary sweet corn has over Mr. Smith? What is it that makes one man’s food another main’s poison?
These questions baffled the medical profession for decades. Some men believed that there was a logical answer, whereas others chose to accept such conditions as necessary evils.
The men with foresight stuck to their guns and began to prove that the word immunity could apply to garlic as well as to smallpox. It was with a great sense of achievement that they came to associate ragweed with hay fever.
As a normal outgrowth of thousands of experiments and years of research, came a new branch of medical practice, one that concerned itself with unusual reactions of the human body.
The pages to follow will present the incredible, the pathetic, the humorous, but ever significant, stories of everyday people with allergies. The interesting and unusual incidents of their lives could happen to almost everyone.
As an introduction, let us first present the true story of Dick W.
From the outset, he was an unlucky child—not from the standpoint of wealth or wisdom, but from that of health.
It was hardly 24 hours after the physician had slapped the infant’s breathing mechanism into action. The nurse had just returned him to his crib after his first feeding. An hour later, a slight rash developed about the infant’s scalp. The physician recognized it immediately as cradle cap—a visible indication that the child was sensitive to cow’s milk. The diet had to be changed at once.
Having taken the baby home from the hospital a few days later, the proud father hastily contacted the physician to inquire as to the cause of “sniffles,” especially since precautions had been taken to prevent the child from catching cold. After several questions and several replies, the doctor assured daddy that the “sniffles” were merely an inheritance from parents afflicted with hay fever.
The father did not wish to take any chances, so he wrapped the baby in an extra, 100 per cent wool blanket. Soon the baby developed a 100 per cent annoying rash due to his sensitivity toward wool. Result—nocturnal perambulating for daddy.
A few months later, the physician was called in to diagnose an asthmatic condition in the infant. Tests showed that the baby was now sensitive to fish and nuts, although he had not eaten these foods. Mother and father exchanged glances, then looked dubiously at the doctor. It didn’t seem to make sense until the physician explained that junior’s contact with these two items came indirectly through the breast milk his mother had given him. She had been eating these two foods, and indirectly he had too.
A year or so passed, and the child’s diet had been broadened to include many other foods. Immediately after the introduction of tomato juice into his diet, a nasty case of eczema occurred. Realizing that this condition had not existed until the child drank tomato juice, the doctor easily found the trouble.
The boy was soon old enough to play on the floor. Hardly a day had passed before the mother noticed that he was sneezing regularly. It was sufficiently warm in the apartment, and all precautions had been taken to shut out drafts. The physician, looking for other sources of difficulty, found that the cattle hair contained in the padding beneath the rug produced a reaction upon the boy’s body.
Believing that the child needed a companion, the mother one day came home with a cute little Chow puppy, which remained in the household just long enough for the doctor to advise that a sensitivity to dog hair had been causing the child’s asthmatic condition.
The following year, when junior was a bit older, his mother permitted him to play in the back yard. That practice soon had to be discontinued because his inherited sensitivity toward the grass pollen’s had caused an outburst of “rose fever.”
A number of difficult years passed. The boy, now in public school, took a liking to the gymnasium. After spending many hours there tumbling on the soft, large (but, unfortunately, dusty) mats, he found himself annoyed with fits of sneezing and of being extremely short of breath, both conditions resulting from dust.
Having finished high school, the boy, now a young man, enrolled in a local college. Dad would gladly have footed all the bills, but he couldn’t afford it. The next best thing for the young man was a night job, and, because bakeries operate through the night, that was just the thing. A brief, energetic search, and soon he was working nights in the mixing room of a local bakery.
All went well until the first time he attempted to mix dough himself. Hardly fifteen minutes after the first contact with wheat flour, his hands swelled to three times their normal size. The doctor across the street immediately diagnosed the difficulty as a sensitivity toward wheat.
Looking for another night job, the young man remembered that the morning newspaper was printed at night. Why not a job at the newspaper plant? The press room foreman was impressed with the lad’s ambitious program, and gave him a job cleaning the presses after the last edition came out.
This was fine. It lasted nearly a week, and then the young man’s face broke out in the worst case of dermatitis ever witnessed by the family doctor. A checkup indicated that printing ink was the offending irritant.
Fortunately for this young man, he had been aided in overcoming all his allergies because of the cooperation of his parents. They realized that a better way was available to control Dick’s recurring allergies. A specialist discovered the allergies and treated Dick for them.
In the following pages, the allergies will be discussed in sufficient detail to provide more complete understanding. Examples of allergens which cause some of these allergies will be cited. They represent just a few of the many on record. They have been selected for their diversity of nature, as well as for their universality of application. But first, let us trace briefly the history and background of allergies. Written By: Jack A. Rudolph, M.D. & Burton M. Rudolph. M.D., Continue Reading, History of Allergy