Spring is in full swing, and to some, that may be a good thing. The flowers are blooming, the weather is getting warmer, and the fun is just beginning. To others, Spring is the time of year when they’re constantly “under the weather” due to seasonal allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), researchers predict that nasal allergies affect 50 million people in the United States alone. Every morning the news forecast dictates the pollen count, but why is it so relevant for allergy sufferers?
Pollen is the male gametophyte of a plant that is produced in reproduction (“Pollen Grain”). Since plants are reproducing the most during the Spring due to optimum conditions, it makes sense for there to be an abundance of pollen in the air. But why is it that so many people are allergy sufferers? People living in more industrialized nations tend to be allergy sufferers. Also, if a parent has an allergy it is more likely to be passed on to the child, and often the child’s symptoms are more severe.
Once the pollen count is high, allergy sufferers know that they should be wary and stay inside. However, sometimes staying inside fails to do anything, and people must carry on with their daily routines instead of stopping their lives for the entire allergy season. One possible technique to avoid enduring the wrath of pollen would be to wear a surgical mask. This technique is also good for asthma sufferers because it prevents small particles such as pollen or dust mites from being inhaled (“Surgical Masks”).
Once pollen is inhaled, the body releases a chemical called histamine which is what causes common allergy symptoms like itchy eyes and runny noses. One way to histamine uptake is by taking an antihistamine, which blocks the histamine chemical from creating allergy symptoms. Other ways to manage allergies include getting a steroid shot which mimics the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol (“How Does Steroid Shot for Allergies Help?”, 2015).
AAFA. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2017, from http://www.aafa.org/page/allergy-facts.aspx
Pollen Grain. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2017, from http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Pollen_Grain
Surgical Masks. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2017, from http://www.diethealthclub.com/allergy-relief/surgical-masks.html
How Does Steroid Shot for Allergies Help? (2015, December 25). Retrieved May 15, 2017, from http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/Steroid-Shot-for-Allergies.html
Edited by: Michelle Li and Daryn Dever