JUN 30, 2016 10:29 AM PDT

Why Do People Have Seasonal Allergies?

WRITTEN BY: Julianne Chiaet

Do you suffer from allergies? Researchers estimate about 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from allergies. About 40 percent of all children and 30 percent of adults are affected. A person is more likely to suffer from allergies if they live in a highly industrialized area or if their relatives suffer from allergies. Symptoms of seasonal allergies include sneezing, itchy and swollen eyes, and a runny nose. The cause of these allergies has do to with your immune system.

Seasonal allergies occur when your body has a hypersensitive immune response to environmental substances that aren't actually harmful. For instance, pollen is a fine powder produced by trees, flowers, grasses, and weeds. It's not harmful. Yet, when pollen finds its way into your mucus membranes, your body may attack the tiny spores and treat it as infectious bacteria. Your immune system has then tagged the foreign spores as threatening, and your white blood cells produce customized antibodies that fight them anytime they come around. The antibodies turn on mast cells, which release chemicals like histamine that cause swelling and other allergy symptoms.

Sources: WebMD, Ted-Ed
About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to Jchiaet.com
You May Also Like
DEC 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
The Surprising Way Honeybees Protect Hives from Hornets
DEC 10, 2020
The Surprising Way Honeybees Protect Hives from Hornets
"Murder hornets," more commonly known as giant hornets, might be new to North America, but in their native ran ...
JAN 08, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
JAN 08, 2021
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
Comedy-news shows such as those by Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee on the rise and are especially popular amo ...
JAN 17, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Discover Planet with 3 Suns
JAN 17, 2021
Astronomers Discover Planet with 3 Suns
Having just one star in our solar system makes us an outlier in our galaxy. However, while most solar systems in the Mil ...
FEB 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
FEB 06, 2021
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
Two scientists from France have figured out why Saturn sits at a tilt. And they say that over the next few billion years ...
APR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Celebrating National Pet Day
APR 09, 2021
Celebrating National Pet Day
Sunday, April 11, is National Pet Day! From pandemic companions to viral videos, pets are a huge part of our lives. Even ...
MAY 15, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Earth's Core has 70 Times More Hydrogen than the Oceans
MAY 15, 2021
Earth's Core has 70 Times More Hydrogen than the Oceans
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have found that under certain extreme conditions, hydrogen particles can bond s ...
Loading Comments...