You know that time of year where you can’t help but sneeze about a zillion times a day. Yup, i’m talking about allergy season. Allergies are a pain and there is no question about that. Some people have worse allergies than others and it can almost be unbearable at times. I am someone who has extremely bad allergies and cannot stand it. Of course the most common cause of allergies is related to pollen but it got me thinking, what else causes a bad case of allergies?
According to Dr. Mercola, spring allergies affect an average of 25 million Americans. (This article was written in 2013 so the numbers might be different now but it is just a general representation how allergies affect people). As I previously mentioned pollen in the air is the most common cause for allergies. The reason why large amounts of pollen may be present in certain years compared to others is because of the pollen’s early arrival after mild winters. When the arrival of pollen happens early following mild winters, there is more pollen in the air and allergy seasons tend to last longer. While there is a correlation between pollen and allergies, pollen is NOT the only cause of allergies. As we know, correlation does not equal causation.
Our immune systems basically work to target unhealthy and uncommon bacteria and get rid of them. To learn more about how our immune systems work in causing allergies go here. When it targets a harmless environmental protein called an allergen, this is how allergies occur. The immune system then sends out a protective substance called immunoblobulin E (IgE) antibodies to target and fight the allergens. Everybody has these IgE antibodies in them, but people who experience worse allergies than others more amounts in their body. Therefore, there is more going on as far as targeting and attacking these allergens in a person’s body with allergies. We also have these cells called mast cells in our body that play a role in causing allergies, more specifically allergic reactions. These mast cells send chemicals into the blood and tissues of our body and it is one chemical in particular called histamine that causes the problem. The chemicals that are sent cause itching and swelling, and can be very irritating. Also, they cause some fluid to leak from our cells and all of these play into why we itch and scratch so much during an allergic reaction.
Of course allergic reactions can become very serious leading to tightening of the throat and loss of voice which is also because of these chemicals. My overall take from this research is that pollen is a very popular cause for allergies to occur, but a lot more goes on than we think. I never really though about how much our body goes through to cause something as “simple” as allergies. There are many more factors and confounding variables that play a part in causing allergies, that most people do not really think about.
Do you guys think all these factors play a legitimate role or it’s just something as simple as pollen that causes allergies?