Flowering trees, grasses and
weeds often bring with them
runny noses, sneezing and
itchy eyes, commonly known
as hay fever or ‘allergic rhinitis’ (not
a stuffy rhino). The culprit? Pollen!
But before we label this the ultimate
enemy to our mucous membranes,
let’s have a closer look at some
interesting facts about pollen, its
link to allergies and a few possible
Hay fever affects one in five people. It usually begins in childhood and appears to be more common in boys. Pollen enters the upper respiratory tract when you breathe and stimulates your immune system to launch an attack against this foreign invader.
Antibodies are released and our
white blood cells produce histamine. If
you imagine your body as a membersonly
club, histamines are the bouncers.
Histamines dilate the blood vessels
in your upper respiratory tract, which
results in a runny nose, itchy eyes and
coughing, basically to help get rid of
whatever’s bothering you.
But only in spring, right? Actually, the pollen season lasts all year round (hooray). It appears more prevalent in the warmer months, but different varieties of plants spore at different times throughout the year. Mould can be particularly pervasive in the colder and rainy seasons.
|Trees:||Cypress, Oak, Plane, Eucalyptus, Acacia, Port Jackson and Yellowwood|
|Grasses:||Johnson, Rooigras, Thatching grass, Kikuyu and Rye grass|
|Weeds||Goose foot, English plantain and Khaki weed Pollen can give us clues to the past and fossilised pollen allows paleobiologists to learn about extinct vegetation.