We’ve been hit a few times, but with nature finally giving the plants an opportunity to wake up (and stay up), another pollen attack is almost definitely on the horizon. There must be some kind of trade off for the beautiful weather and scenery; that trade off comes in the form of microscopic foreign bodies that hit that panic button in your immune system. With all the dangerous and terrifying stuff in the world, it is ridiculous that we are so burdened by such a common occurrence. We should either accept that it is just an inconvenient aspect of life or (more likely) that the plants have been secretly waging war against us, weakening our forces and devastating our fellow man over generations in the spring time. The end goal, you ask? Something to do with generators powered entirely on snot and the sound of sneezes (I don’t know, I haven’t developed the theory that far). No matter the situation, experts seem to agree that if you do have allergies related to pollen, the symptoms are mostly unavoidable. Fortunately, there are some ways to cut down exposure so the suffering doesn’t have to last. Grab some tissues and sniffle that nose a couple times, because it’s time to get educated!
What are allergies, exactly? You may notice that the symptoms are just a mild version of common symptoms that occur when you have some microbe wreaking havoc on your insides. The body’s immune system responds by flushing that bugger out, through every orifice available. This works the same way; it is an immune system response to a foreign object, but not one that is particularly dangerous. I had a friend that would describe allergies as ‘the immune system being bored;’ She was right in a sense. For some strange reason, the body may start to treat common non-pathogens as if they were a virus or bacteria that needs to be expelled from the body. The pollen is inhaled or you have exterior exposure, so the immune system goes on high alert to destroy the stuff. It reminds me of the Roman Emperor Caligula who ordered his army to stab the ocean because he was at war with Neptune. Completely useless, but I guess it works out the troops. Caligula’s men brought home baskets of sea shells for their victory. You get to save money on tissues and headache medication. Success?
Dealing with those symptoms is so obvious, it barely requires a section at all (I said barely). Aside from a hot beverage and some Netflix, there are a few more little-known treatments that will help relieve the suffering a bit. When I was a kid, I would run the shower hot and let everything get steamy and warm. Sitting in the bathroom for about ten minutes in this environment cleared up my sinuses so well, I had relief for hours. I would enjoy this treatment thoroughly, but my father wasn’t exactly happy with the electric bill. For sinus pressure relief, there are a few points on the face that, with a simple massage pattern, will clear things right up. Start by rubbing the sides of your nostrils in a circular motion, with just enough pressure where you start to feel relief. After doing this, move up to the bridge just below the eyes and do the same thing. Move on to behind the earlobes and then the earlobes themselves. Repeat. I was skeptical at first, but it’s success for me each allergy season has proven its reliability. Dealing with the problem is simple enough, but what about preventative measures?
Your home is the haven. Your domain. The land where you escape the mundane aspects of working life for the general mundane aspects of regular life. You would think that the inside of your house is the ultimate shield from the perils of the outside world. Just know that wherever you may trek, pollen is sure to follow you. As Darth Vader would say, there is no escape. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to cut down on the pollen exposure. The most effective (but certainly not in regards to cost) would be to replace all the carpeting with hardwood floors. Not only is it a breeze to clean, it looks fancy. Carpet traps dirt, pollen, and pathogens so it increases your exposure. You may also want to change up your routine a bit and shower at night instead of in the morning. If you have a furry friend, make sure to give him or her a bath weekly to keep the pollen down. The ultimate tool that you have at your disposal is the pollen count. You can find this on major weather sites and it gives you an idea of what you can expect for the day. If the day has a high pollen count, you may want to limit outdoor activities.
Pollen may seem like the great enemy, but it is just another aspect of life. The plants need the stuff for more plants, and more plants are great because food and oxygen and beauty. Think of your suffering as an act of piety toward the great forces of nature and as a sign that your immune system is ready for battle!