Why the Heck Do We Get Seasonal Allergies?

Why the Heck Do We Get Seasonal Allergies?

Eyes itchy to no end? Runny nose for no reason?

Sometimes allergies seem like a mass plan by the pharmaceutical companies to make enough extra dough to finance yet another summer house up on the lake, but there must be a reason for them.

As amazing as it sounds though, the explanation as to why a minority of the population’s bodies turn against themselves each year during pollenating season has yet to be figured out.

According to cbc.ca, why humans get seasonal allergies has been called “the $60-million question ” by Mark Larché, the Canada research chair in allergy and immune tolerance at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

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Scientists know that allergies often somehow run in families, and if your parents have or had seasonal allergies, you are more likely to have them yourself. Something in genetics is at play. But they’re not sure exactly what.

In a majority of cases, humans remain allergy-free, when it comes to pollens, for the first few years of their life. Kids don’t seem to display that many seasonal symptoms until they are about 5 or 6 years of age, barring some exceptions. But it remains a mystery as to why.

“Nobody’s really sure why it takes those first few years,” Larché said in an interview with CBCNews.ca.

Researchers have opened their minds to many possibilities. One of these is the idea that a connection may exist between viral infections and the development of an allergic reaction in the body.

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Some believe that the two are linked. The thinking goes like this: a viral infection develops in a child at the same time as they are being exposed to a high level of an inhaled allergen like grass or tree pollen.

The trouble starts here. The immune system reacts to the viral infection but goes too far in casting its net, and also labels the high amounts of ingested pollen in the body as an enemy.

Once the body labels the pollen once as an element that it needs to eliminate, the body becomes badly re-programmed, and develops what we call seasonal allergies from that point on, every time that same excess pollen is encountered by the individual.

So, science has some ideas brewing but no permanent fixes. For the time being, just don’t breathe and avoid any contact with the air. All kidding aside, see your doctor if your seasonal allergies are intolerable- they may have a few ideas up their sleeve, and cross your fingers for more developments.

 

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