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Aug 12, 2011

Does your child have an allergy?


There are many ways you can help your child deal with allergies, especially if you recognise the early warning signs and prevent them from becoming more serious.

RUNNY nose, itchy skin, watery eyes. Your child is not sick, but he gets these symptoms, and becomes uncomfortable and miserable. No matter what you do, these symptoms keep coming back, and may even be getting worse. You are at your wits’ end, trying to figure out what is wrong with him.

The answer could be an allergy. Allergies are becoming increasingly common among Malaysian children. Sometimes, these allergies are mild and cause only minor discomfort. But often, mild allergies can develop into more serious ones, and become dangerous to a person’s health.

It is thus important that you recognise the early warning signs and implement the necessary preventive measures.

Understanding allergies

What causes allergies? Blame it on the things called allergens. These are things that your child could be hypersensitive to, for example house dust mites, pollen, animal dander (dead skin flakes) or insects. If your child is allergic to these or other things, like certain foods and medications (e.g. penicillin), he could develop a reaction.

Nobody really knows why some people are sensitive to allergens and others aren’t. Heredity could be part of the reason. If you or your spouse have allergies, your child has an increased risk of developing allergies himself.

Family history is not the only risk factor. Any member of the family who smokes around the child increases his risk of allergies.

Even a pregnant mother who smokes can put her unborn baby at risk of allergies and other conditions.

Some children may be predisposed to allergies and the signs appear as early as infancy. Allergies tend to develop in a certain pattern, which experts call the “Allergy March”. It means that the allergy will affect one part of the body, and move on to another part, as your child grows older.

Some experts believe that the “Allergy March” usually begins with infantile colic. If your baby is suffering from abdominal pains, it could be due to a food allergy. The next sign could be eczema (sometimes known as atopic dermatitis), which appears as skin rashes (see explanation below).

The other allergic reactions usually appear when your child is between seven and 15 years old. He may develop allergic rhinitis (sometimes known as hay fever) and asthma.

The good news is that the “Allergy March” allows you to recognise the signs that appear in infancy, or at least early toddlerhood. You may recognise some of these symptoms in your child, but you don’t know what exactly they are, and what is causing them.

If you suspect that these symptoms are due to an allergic reaction, take your child to the doctor for an examination. The doctor will be able to help you take the necessary steps to prevent any further allergic reactions from developing.

Common allergic reactions affecting the nose and airways

Allergic rhinitis

“Nose running like a tap” is usually how parents describe it. In temperate countries, allergic rhinitis is also described as hay fever.

You will find that your child sneezes, has a blocked, runny nose, and watery eyes all the time. This results from an adverse reaction to common allergens, for example pollen, dust mites, animal dander or feathers.

It can be easy to mistake these symptoms for that of a common cold. However, if they last longer than a week, occur repeatedly and are not accompanied by a fever, your child probably has rhinitis.


Asthma affects 10% to 15% of Malaysian children, and can be dangerous if allowed to persist without treatment or prevention. In asthma, the child’s airways become narrowed.

This reduces the airflow and causes breathlessness, coughing and wheezing. Frequent coughing at night and tightness of the chest are important early signs.

Children who have eczema or allergic rhinitis, due to allergic reactions, are quite likely to develop asthma when they are older.

If you do not want your child to be plagued by asthma, keep his environment dust-free! The house dust mite is the biggest trigger of asthma.

It lives in our carpets, curtains, mattresses and soft toys. Dead skin particles from animals are also a common trigger. Cigarette smoke is another allergen that can be easily removed.

For a child who has asthma, the doctor may prescribe quick-relief drugs, which are used to relieve an asthma attack, or preventer drugs, which are used to help prevent asthma attacks. Depending on the severity and frequency of attacks, your doctor will prescribe one or both these medications.


Eczema appears as rashes on the hands, as well as in skin creases in areas such as the wrists, the backs of knees, and the insides of elbows. The child may have red and swollen skin, small, fluid-filled blisters, and develop an intense itch (especially at night). He may also have dry, scaly and cracked skin.

Again, the common allergens could trigger eczema. Quite often, your child could also be reacting to something he ate.


Hives (urticaria) is also an itchy rash that appears as smooth, lumpy areas on the skin that are red or white in colour. It could affect just a part of your child’s skin, or his whole body.

Your child may develop hives as an allergic reaction to a certain food, medication, plant or insect bite.


Swelling (angioedema) is a nasty and severe allergic reaction. Usually, the child’s face, lips, tongue or genitals will swell up. His airways may also become constricted. This will cause difficulty in speaking, swallowing or breathing (the most dangerous condition).

Swelling is usually triggered by certain foods, drugs or insects. In severe cases, it may require an immediate injection to reduce the swelling.

Dealing with allergies

If your child has an allergy, take him to a doctor for proper medical treatment. Self-medication will not solve the problem, and may worsen it.

Even with treatment, living with allergies can be tough on your child. He can ease his discomfort by learning to avoid situations where he might be exposed to known allergens.

On your part, it may be as simple as ensuring that his environment is clean. Even if the allergies never go away completely, at least your child will be able to enjoy the journey of learning, discovering and playing.

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Dec 22, 2010

Wintertime skin most asked questions

When the temperature outside drops and the temperature inside rises, your skin is under assault. Low humidity, coupled with heavier clothing, and longer, hotter showers and baths can leave your skin feeling dry and itchy. Most people start slathering on lotion and hope for the best, but there are more effective ways to prevent and combat winter skin.

The winter months give our skin a beating. The endless dehydration of heaters, the bad food and alcohol throughout the holidays. November through January we neglect our skin. With holiday stress and heater dryness our skin gets abused. Its time to counter this damage.

Dry skin is a very common skin problem and is often worse during the winter when environmental humidity is low (i.e., "winter itch"). It can occur at all ages and in people with or without other skin problems.

# My skin gets red every time I step outside, how can I help reduce that and what causes it?

* Cover up. The cold constricts the blood vessels while outside and there’s a rebound effect when the skin warms back up and the vessels dilate, creating excessive redness.

# My skin gets very blotchy in the winter, how can I help reduce that and what causes it?

* Very often dry skin is the cause of blotchiness. Avoiding hot showers can help, as can frequent use of moisturizer and using non-soak cleansers. Running a humidifier in the bedroom while sleeping is also a great way to replenish the moisture in your skin.

* Another cause of wintertime redness can be Rosacea. If you have broken blood vessels, bumps, and recurring flare-ups in the same area, you should consult your doctor, as you may be suffering from Rosacea.

# What ingredients should I look out for/avoid when buying skincare products in the winter?

* Avoid anything containing agents that strip the skin of its natural moisture. In the winter we typically decrease the strength of the retinoids we give to patients.

# My skin gets very dry and itchy in the winter, why and what can I do to treat and prevent that?

* See blotchy above…

# My acne get worse in winter/why and what can I do?

* It’s not that acne is worse in the winter, it’s that it improves in the summer due to sunlight on the skin. The bacteria that cause acne flourish in the winter in the absence of UV light. UV and other light-based therapies can help keep acne-causing bacteria in check.

* Also, many people go off their acne medication in the summer. It’s important to get back on it in the fall before the winter hits and acne regains the upper hand.

# Are there certain foods I should be eating in the winter to help reduce dull skin and minimize acne/foods to avoid?

* Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds will help combat acne and make your skin look terrific. Of course drinking plenty of water is also critical for healthy skin. When acne is bad, avoid simple sugars and excessive dairy intake. So ice cream = bad, especially for adolescents.

# My feet, hands and cuticles are very dry, what do you recommend I use?

* Frequent hand washing, especially in winter, can lead to excessive dryness. Avoid hot water and stringent soap, and try to moisturize hands right after washing, before they are fully dried. For the feet, applying moisturizer right after getting out of the shower should help lock the moisture in. Also, rubberized shoes that don’t breathe well can make feet sweat, which leads to skin irritation, which leads to dryness. Avoid shoes that are sealed and make your feet sweat and wear thicker, absorbent socks that wick moisture away from your feet.

Dr. Mitchell Chasin

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Oct 14, 2010

Healthy Medicine : Birth Control, Women & Aging

People have used birth control methods for thousands of years. Today, we have many safe and effective birth control methods available to us.All of us who need birth control want to find the method that is best for us. And each of us has different needs when choosing a method. If you are trying to choose, learning about each method may help you make your decision. Use the list of birth control methods above to read about the methods.

There are many unanswered questions when it comes to fertility and the most effective birth control method. In order to ensure that the birth control method chosen is suitable for a woman’s needs she must be well informed about the variety of birth control methods available. She must also take into consideration how her fertility influences the type of contraceptives she decides to use throughout her lifespan.

Practitioner Ian Wahl, DAC, LAC, CH from, informs women on what they need to know about aging, sex and birth control at every age.

Women in their 20’s :

Sex Drive & Fertility :

· This is a time when fertility peaks, which is why women in their 20’s are more likely to conceive a baby the natural way.

· During her 20’s, a woman is more likely to have a higher sex drive than any other time in her life. This is contributed to high levels of testosterone produced within her body.

Birth Control :

· The only way birth control pills will work is if the woman takes them every day on a regular basis. If she skips a day, it decreases their potency and increases her chance of becoming pregnant.

· Another birth control method women in their twenties should also use is condoms. Not only do condoms help prevent conception, they also protect women from sexually transmitted diseases.

· It is important to invest in two methods of birth control

Women in their 30’s :

Sex Drive & Fertility :

· Women in their 30’s reach their sexual peak

· As a woman ages, the amount of eggs in her ovaries decrease each year by a significant percentage.

· Sexual activity increases; however, there is a slight decrease in the levels of testosterone in her body.

· While women may lose interest in sex, the type of relationship they have with their partner also influences their sex drive and desire for sex. Since it is more common for women in their thirties to find a more fulfilling and stable relationship with their partner during this time, she will engage in more sexual intercourse than she did when she was in her twenties.

Birth Control :

· Birth control pills can be affective as well; however, since her chances of conceiving are less likely during her thirties, a woman still should take precautions against sexually transmitted diseases.

· Since women may be participating in more sexual activity during this time, she will want to invest in spermicidal foam and condoms.

Women in their 40’s:

Sex Drive & Fertility :

· Eggs are released from the ovaries less frequently, which make conceiving a baby less likely, but it is still possible.

· Women in their 40’s may begin to lose their sex drive because their level of testosterone is about half of what it used to be during their 20’s.

· Although women in their 40’s have lower libidos, many are more sexually active now that their children are getting older.

Birth Control :

· Women in their forties can use many different contraceptives. They can use contraceptive sponges or a vaginal ring along with spermicidal lubricant. They should also make sure that their partner uses a condom. The condom helps to protect both partners from STD’s.
For more information please contact Ian Wahl, DAC, LAC, CH at .

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Sep 29, 2010

Healthy Medicine : Halloween Healthy Pumkin Foods...

It's nearly Halloween again and that means: candy, costumes, and carving pumpkins....When you think of pumpkin, what comes to mind? Many people think of carving and smashing them. Others think of Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pie and pumpkin seeds; but did you know that pumpkin is a superfood?

IT’S hard to imagine a vegetable that is as versatile as the humble pumpkin....Pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A and potassium. They are also high in fiber. The conclusion you should now be reaching is that they are therefore good for you. Your conclusion is absolutely correct.....until you start adding other ingredients that make up many pumpkin recipes.

The brilliant colors of Fall are in bloom. With Fall comes a variety of nourishing hearty fruits and vegetables including the great pumpkin. This is the best time to find fresh pumpkin so take advantage of it! Fresh fruits and vegetables will always provide you with the most nutrients and natural enzymes that the body can use more readily. Pumpkin and its seeds provide many important nutrients, on top of loads of fun for family and friends.

Dr. Helen Lee, DC the Practitioner, offers the following nutritional benefits of pumpkin and its seeds.

Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkins:

# Organ Health: The nutrients in pumpkin and its seeds help support the health of your kidney, bladder and prostate.

# Vitamins: Pumpkin and its seeds contain nutrients such as vitamin C, E, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, both beta & alpha carotenoids (anti-oxidants which help prevent cell damage), and lutein (support healthy eyes).

# Sickness Prevention: Helps with minimizing osteoporosis, increases digestive health by helping with parasites & tapeworms, and lowering cholesterol.

# Protein: Pumpkin seeds are high in protein.

# Important Fact: Organic, raw pumpkin seeds will provide you with the most nutrients and enzymes.

# General Benefits: Pumpkin seeds help the body get rid of parasites and other unwelcomed digestive inhabitants, and they contain healthy essential fatty acid oils.

Dr. Helen Lee, DC recommends four ways to incorporate pumpkin into your everyday diet.

Easy ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet:

# Pumpkin seed butter spread on toast

# A handful of raw pumpkin seeds as a snack or mixed with trail mix, on top of cereal

# Pumpkin baked or browned with spices in risotto, chili, rice, spaghetti

# Pumpkin pie/desserts/pancakes/waffles

Pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse whose benefits are still being discovered. Pumpkin is filled with vitamins, nutritional value and tremendous health benefits. Few people actually know about the health benefit aspect that pumpkin offers.

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