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Air Pollution and "the Gauntlets"

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*Air Pollution Score Card and "The gauntlets"- This is an Email that I sent to The Friends of DogtorJ with a link to a Website that can help you all see the pollution issues in your area ( ). The letter also discusses the four seasonal medical gauntlets that we all go through, hopefully lending some insight into why certain times of year can be so devastating to our health. Yes, it sounds eerily familiar to the one I wrote a few years ago.

Hi Everyone,
I hope you're having a great weekend. If you are, you might want to wait 'til later to check out this Website. ( )  Some of you will be very disappointed to read this information, I'm afraid. If you want to see why I got into this critical topic of air quality (and how it can dramatically increase cancer risks and worsen neurodegenerative diseases), put "36609" in the zip code area provided. Ugh!
Once you put in your zip code, click on "See how your county stacks up" under the Toxics, Air, and Water headings. You can then click on "the top chemicals released in your county" under Toxics and then check out the individual pollutants and what they do, where they come from, and how your county stacks up when compared to others (e.g. Mobile is 22nd out of the top 100 for benzene...a bad, bad dude...but a whopping 6th out of the top 100 in manganese compound, which are "suspected" neurological, reproductive, and respiratory toxins). 
I really dislike bringing this subject up. It brings me no joy to do so. BUT, we should be aware of this very important health issue, if for no other reason but to recognize its role in the ups and downs of our health. Now that I have been on my strict diet for nearly 7 years, I have been able to better see what my cities air is doing to me, my family and friends, my patients, and my clients. The seasonal patterns I have witnessed in certain health conditions over the past 5 years have been astounding, including epilepsy, cardiopulmonary, and immune-mediated ("autoimmune") diseases. The old question of "Isn't it funny how things happen in three's?" asked by people in the medical professions is not so "funny" anymore. There are good reasons for these patterns and air quality issues play a big role (as do seasonal allergies and variation in sunlight). 
There are 4 medical "gauntlets" that we and our pets must go through- April/May, October/November, the dead of winter, and the "dog days of summer". April ushers in the Spring allergens, more sunlight, and the first hot, sunny days in many of our American cities, with the latter generating the first ground level ozone spike. What I have now seen is that April is the month for acute symptoms (e.g allergies) but May is when those chronically ill individuals who were decompensated by the ongoings of April start coming in with immune-mediated diseases and cancer. This pattern is repeated in October and November, with October representing the onslaught of Fall allergens and November being the month that we the really sick pets (and people). The dead of winter is an understandable gauntlet, with man and animals just not able to do their medical best under the extremes of temperature. Plus, the north wind brings air pollution into many cities from plants that are often intentionally positioned north (and south) of the city so as to minimize exposure during the rest of the year. Mobile is a good example of this.
The most amazing health patterns I have seen involve the "dog days of summer"- from July 3rd to August 11th- the hottest days in the northern hemisphere. During this time, ozone levels peak in most industrialized cities as do many of the other associated pollutants. This time has been marked by increased allergies, gastrointestinal symptoms, and neurological problems at my veterinary practice as well as in my clients' lives. This past year, I saw more immune-mediated diseases and cancer in a short period of time than I have ever seen. This was partly due to the rather unique combination of two major hurricanes last year followed by a serious drought. The hurricanes brought in new allergens and also set us up for a record mold challenge. The drought kept us from our fair share of thunderboomers that normally do such a nice job of (temporarily) clearing our air of pollutants, especially ozone. So, we ended up having one of the worst allergy seasons in more than a decade, making this "gauntlet" a memorable one.
What happened in the month following the "dog days" is the frightening thing, however, following the pattern seen in the April/May and October/November gauntlets. Once again, the dog days brought out the acute symptoms and in the month(s) after...still ongoing...we have medicine at its worst. I have never seen more cases (or more serious cases) of immune-mediated diseases and cancer in my 27.5 year career. I had numerous cases that exhibited multiple manifestations of immune disorders, so many that I started writing about them. I was truly wow'd by what I saw this past August and September, stimulating me to write this piece and award to "the dog days" the dubious distinction of being the worst of the 4 medical gauntlets.
But is it? Serious illnesses skyrocket in October and November and this year will be no exception. As the Fall allergies hit, the days get shorter and colder, and the cold and flu season hits, we can expect some major medical tragedies. The teetering immune systems that barely survived the pollution-laden "dog days" will be challenged again. My own family has suffered greatly in late October/early November with strokes and heart attacks.
Man, this is a depressing Email, isn't it? :)
Well, it doesn't have to be because things don't have to be the way they are. Certainly, it will take a major effort to change our air and water quality but it CAN be done. For those in need of rapid change, a relocation may be in order. That may sound drastic but it wouldn't much longer if we would fully grasp the impact of pollution on our health. 
In the meantime (yes, here it comes), we MUST pay attention to our diets and to the water we drink. These are under our immediate control and by eating healthier, we can better withstand the onslaught of the pollutants. Many of our medical conditions are "syndromes", with multiple factors coming together to produce the pathological result. Epilepsy, autism, and even cancer are good examples (e.g. Sunlight does not "cause" skin cancer. Viruses do. But, if an individual is unhealthy enough and their immune system has become incompetent, the ultraviolet radiation from the sun may be enough to trigger the virus into action, even those embedded in our very DNA. But if we were not doing soooooo much wrong...eating horrific diets, living crazy lifestyles, losing crucial sleep, and living in such polluted environments, we would not have to lather up in SPF 1 million before taking a stroll on the beach. The fact is that many in this country are suffering from clinical vitamin D deficiencies due to lack of exposure to the sun which CONTRIBUTES to the incidence of cancer. Yep, another thing upside-down.)
We can get better...and stay better.  
I hope this helps,
John B. Symes, D.V.M. ("Dogtor J")
Read- "Food Intolerance- Man and Animals versus Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn OR How We Won the Battle of Helm's Deep"

I hope you enjoyed your time here and got something important from your stay. It is my goal to help all of mankind navigate through the jungle of medical information now available on the Internet and find the truth about the origins of what we call "disease" as well as discover the natural solutions for these conditions.
We do have our health's destiny in our own hands more than we've ever imagined, certainly more than most have ever been told. Think naturally and the answer will come.
Dogtor J
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The New is done! Yes, the time has finally come for this homemade Website to go the way of the buffalo. I know that you all join me in looking forward to using a site that is better organized and more accessible....prettier, too! I've even corrected most of those annoying typos (I hope).

Feel free to check it out now at I am still working hard to populate all of the pages so don't worry if a link does not work. They should all be active in the near future. In the meantime, this current site will remain on-line until I get all of the bugs worked out.

Let me know what you think! It's not too late to make some changes.
Dogtor J

would still like to hear from you personally, though.
I used to have a nice little form in this space that would allow readers to send me a quick comment or testimonial. Unfortunately, as the Interent goes, I started getting 50-100 junk emails through this form and had to remove it. 
So, until the new Website is up and running (soon!), I will have to ask people to formulate an Email of their own and send it. I do want to hear from you so I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to do this.
Simply title your Email "Visitor Comment" and include your name, occupationcomment/testimonial and return Email address (if you want to be contacted) and send it to:
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Please do not use this form to ask medical questions. See the Contact section for instructions for sending DogtorJ an Email inquiry concerning a medical condition. 

Great News! will be getting a major facelift in the very near future. Yes, the time has finally come for this homemade Website to be taken over by someone who actually knows what they are doing. I know that you all join me in looking forward to having the site better organized and more accessible. It'll be prettier, too!
This is taking place for a number of reasons, the most of important of which will be revealed in the upcoming months. Yes, the book is finally in the works but there will be a major awareness project to go along with it.
So, please stay tuned. Anyone who would like to get on my mailing list can do so by simply using the visitor's comment area (like the one above) found at the bottom of each page.
Onward and upward!
Dogtor J