Musings of a Beaverton Teen: Combat those seasonal allergies

By Lani Garcia (11th Grader)

Here in Beaverton, spring and summer can seem like the perfect time of year. For once, it’s actually sunny out, and over 50 degrees! However, those of you with allergies see right through this disguise. Warm weather means more flowers and blooming trees, which means more of that yellow powdery stuff. And right when trees are done releasing pollen, in late spring and early summer the pollen from grasses will take over and make your eyes water (in the fall it’s weed pollen, and in the winter it’s mold and dust mites). There are many ways to deal with seasonal allergies, but first, why does pollen make so many people suffer?

Pollen blows around in the air due to winds, birds, and insects. The purpose of the spread of pollen is to fertilize plants. When this pollen (antigens) enters your sinuses, your immune system wants to get it out as soon as possible, and produces antibodies. Your body starts to release histamine, which causes runny noses and sneezing to expel the pollen. It may seem like your body hates you when you have allergies, but really, it’s trying to help.

In order to combat your seasonal allergies, it’s important to keep yourself, and your space, clean. Change your sheets and pillowcases often so pollen doesn’t collect. Washing your face after you’ve been outside can help keep pollen out of your eyes and nose. Having air filters throughout your house can purify the air around you to keep it free of irritants.

An interesting way to deal with allergies is to eat local honey. Because it’s local, you’re ingesting pollen that you’re around all the time, and you build up immunity to those specific types of pollen. So as you eat more honey, you may experience less symptoms.

Similar to this, getting allergy shots gives someone immunity to specific antigens. If you’re allergic to pollen, each shot contains a small amount of it, so your body gets used to it. After months or years, most people will have complete tolerance to the substance, or at least have less symptoms. My sister gets allergy shots every week, and they seem to be working.

Even if you have bad allergies, just know there are things you can do to help deal with them. Think on the bright side, and thank your body for trying to help you, even though it’s making you miserable.

Lani is a junior at Beaverton High School. As a ZooTeen, she volunteers at the Oregon Zoo during the summer. She plays piano & guitar, and enjoyed doing dragon boats this past year.