CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — You probably have noticed all the oak pollen that fell from the trees this weekend. Almost half of all Americans suffer from seasonal allergies.
For some it is a mild runny nose but for others it can trigger severe asthma attacks or other reactions that significantly affect their lives. These reactions are because of the body's reaction to pollen that is released by trees and or plants.
The body's reaction is one that is usually to protect us from parasites but in this situation are misguided. Additionally the reaction to the pollen is also much stronger than it would be to a parasite.
Genetics and the environment play a role in this. We do not yet have a way of modifying our genetics and so we can change the environment. This would be akin to moving to a high desert region where there is usually a lower pollen count or moving to a different geographic location that does not have a high pollen count of the specific allergen.
Allergic reactions can range from runny noses and itchy eyes to asthma and occasionally to shock.