What better way to celebrate than to **ACHOO!!**….wait, what were we saying?
Ah, spring! Grass growing, flowers blooming, trees growing new leaves, but if you get allergies, this explosion of new life probably inspires more dread than joy.
Step outside, and within minutes, you’re sneezing and congested. Your nose is running, your eyes are swollen and watery, your throat is itchy. For you and millions of others, it’s seasonal allergy time. So what’s behind this onslaught of mucus?
The answer lies within you. It’s your immune system. Seasonal allergies, also called hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, are a hypersensitive immune response to something that’s not actually harmful. Pollen from trees and grass, and mold spores from tiny fungi find their way into your mucous membranes and your body attacks these innocuous travelers the same way it would infectious bacteria.
The immune system has a memory. When a foreign substance gets tagged as threatening, white blood cells produce customized antibodies that will recognize the offender the next time around. They then promptly recruit the body’s defense team. But sometimes, the immune system accidentally discriminates against harmless substances, like pollen. When it wafts in again, antibodies on the surface of white blood cells recognize it and latch on.
This triggers the cell to release inflammatory chemicals, like histamine, which stimulate nerve cells, and cause blood vessels in the mucous membranes to swell and leak fluid. In other words, itchiness, sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose.
Allergies usually, but not always, show up for the first time during childhood. But why do some people get allergies and others don’t? Allergies tend to run in families, so genetics may be one culprit. In fact, errors in a gene that helps regulate the immune system are associated with higher rates of allergies. The environment you grow up in matters, too. Being exposed to an allergen as a baby makes you less likely to actually develop an allergy to it. People who grow up on farms, in big families, and in the developing world also tend to have fewer allergies, although there are plenty of exceptions, partly thanks to genetics. One theory is that as children, they encounter more of the microbes and parasites that co-evolved with traditional hunter-gatherer societies.
Called the hygiene hypothesis, the idea is that when the immune system isn’t exposed to the familiar cast of microbes, it’ll keep itself busy mounting defenses against harmless substances, like pollen. Another theory is that an immune system toughened up by a barrage of pathogens is less likely to overreact to allergens. Pollen is a common offender, just because we encounter so much of it, but there’s a long list of substances: dust, animal dander, insect venom, medications, certain foods, that can send your immune system into overdrive. Some of these reactions can be scary. An allergy can develop into full-blown anaphylaxis, which typically brings on severe swelling, shortness of breath, and very low blood pressure. It can be deadly.
But as we who suffer from seasonal allergies know, even non-life threatening allergy symptoms can make you miserable. So what can you do about it? Medications can help reduce the symptoms. The most common ones keep histamines from binding to your cells. These antihistamines stop the inflammation response. Steroids can help dial down the immune system. Another more permanent option is immunotherapy. Deliberate, controlled exposure to gradually increasing amounts of an allergen can teach the immune system that it isn’t dangerous after all.
Of course, you can always just wait your seasonal allergies out. The spring pollen onslaught dwindles by mid-summer…just in time for ragweed season!
IF YOU WORK IN FOOD SERVICE AND SOMEONE TELLS YOU “I CAN’T EAT <BLANK>, CAN YOU PLEASE SEND THIS BACK AND MAKE ME A NEW ONE WITH NO <BLANK>, “ DO NOT JUST FUCKING SCRAPE WHATEVER IT IS THEY CAN’T EAT OFF THE DISH AND RE-SERVE THEM THE SAME PLATE. BRING IT BACK AND MAKE A NEW FUCKING DISH.
YOU CAN KILL PEOPLE. YOU CAN TRIGGER A SERIOUS ALLERGIC REACTION. YOU COULD BE HURTING SOMEONE WITH AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES OR OTHER DIET BASED ILLNESSES DON’T. FUCKING. DO THAT.
One of the highlights of this elimination diet is that my chronic nasal congestion has finally cleared up after quite literal years of not being able to breathe through my nose. This has removed the constant sinus headache feeling, as well as removing pressure pain from my upper teeth.
Wouldn’t it be a hoot if after all the testing I did in 2016 for celiac and gluten sensitivity it turns out to be just a straight up wheat allergy that got missed cause they were only testing for gluten protein response and by some miracle I’m not allergic to gluten but another strain of protein that causes amylase-trypsin inhibitors or carbohydrate breakdown resulting in indigestible fructan?
New video for those who happen to give a F*ck. Flu season is passing but a ton of folks are still catching Colds and going to conventions getting Con Crud. And being sick is never any fun so I decided today to give you 4 steps to prevent colds, Flus, and illnesses of any sort. So pay attention today