Showers, Flowers and Handkerchiefs
An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person’s immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen — tiny grains released into the air by trees, grasses, and weeds for the purpose of fertilizing other plants. When pollen grains get into the nose of someone who’s allergic, they send the immune system into overdrive. Mild allergies like hay fever are very common in the human population and cause symptoms such as red eyes, itchiness, and runny nose, hives, or an asthma attack.
Pollen can travel for miles, spreading a path of misery for allergy sufferers along the way. The higher the pollen count, the greater the misery can be. The pollen count measures the amount of allergens in the air in grains per cubic meter. You can find out the daily pollen count in your area by watching your local weather forecast
Many allergens such as dust or pollen are airborne particles. In these cases, symptoms arise in areas in contact with air, such as eyes, nose, and lungs. For instance, allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, causes irritation of the nose, sneezing, itching, and redness of the eyes. Inhaled allergens can also lead to asthmatic symptoms, caused by narrowing of the airways and increased production of mucus in the lungs, shortness of breath coughing and wheezing. We’ve known for a long time that air pollution and smog in urban areas can trigger respiratory allergies.
Rural climates tend to have more foliage for those with seasonal allergies, and urban allergies have more pollution triggers. A lack of rain can cause allergies to be more severe and linger due to the accumulation of pollen and pollution in the environment. You may think that moving to a desert environment will decrease allergies, however, that will not necessarily be true. Although much of Arizona and New Mexico is arid, most people in the cities, suburbs, and small towns grow grass for lawns. Plus, the land has been disturbed by construction and landscaping, so weeds are widespread. Las Vegas, Tucson, and Phoenix have very high rates of allergies and asthma. Indoor allergens, such as mites, molds, and cockroaches, are also common in desert homes, especially when swamp coolers are used instead of air conditioning.
People get allergies because they’ve become sensitized to a different set of allergens, and the allergens to which you will be exposed vary considerably from one location to another. Pay attention to the landscaping in your environment. For years, the tendency has been to plant male trees because they do not produce seeds, pods, or fruits which will drop on the ground. The result is an abundance of male trees producing pollen, with no female trees to receive the pollen. This forces the pollen into the air, and into our sinuses and lungs!
There are supplements that can see you through your allergic reactions. Remember to wash your clothes, towels, and linens in hot water. Keep your environment clean and humidified. So, whether you are North, South, East, or West, you should make sure to nourish your immune system, support your sinuses and lungs in addition to watching the weather and understanding your environment.