Bees use it as a source of food, trees rely on it for reproduction, but why does pollen make so many people sneeze? If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffers from seasonal pollen allergies, it might be hard for you to enjoy outdoor activities this time in year. In addition to making us sneeze, pollen allergies can contribute to a number of other unpleasant symptoms like watery eyes, coughing and sinus pressure as well. Antihistamines can help to reduce these symptoms, but wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to take allergy medication every day in the spring?
With this in mind, let’s get to the bottom of why pollen can make us sick in the first place.
In reality, it’s not actually then pollen that makes us sick, but rather our body’s response to it. When grains of pollen enter the nose, they are sometimes mistaken by our immune systems for harmful bacteria that need to be expelled from the body. At this point, our confused immune systems release chemicals such as histamine that trigger sneezes and mucus production. Allergy medications like antihistamines are designed to suppress these immune responses so we can be in the presence of pollen without suffering a sneezing fit.
Although scientific research has been somewhat inconclusive, some research suggests that eating raw local honey can help combat seasonal allergies by familiarizing our immune systems with the pollen in our area. At the very least, a spoonful of honey in our tea can help to relieve sore throats caused by pollen allergies.
Have you used honey as a treatment for allergy symptoms in the past? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!