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Allergies are definitely nothing to sneeze at.  It seems over the years that the occurence of seasonal allergies, as well as wood allergies are on the rise.  Over the next few days, I will look at both types of allergies – their causes and their treatments. 

 An allergy is a reaction of your immune system to what are usually harmless, run-of-the-mill substances, such as pollen, cat hair, or even a peanut. About 54 percent of Americans are sensitive to at least one allergy-inducing substance, according to a national survey conducted from 1988 to 1994 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That’s about two to five times higher, depending on the allergen, than the rates found by NIH between 1976 and 1980.

There are theories as to why allergies are on the rise.  First, there is the idea that those living in clean, urban settings are more likely to develop allergies than those raised in rural areas or farming communities. In cities, we are simply not exposed to allergens, and our bodies simply do become immune.  Therefore, suffering for allergies is the result of our sterile environment.  This is simply one theory, intriguing at best.

Second, there is the thought that as medical expertise and research continues – people are being diagnosed and treated more appropriately now.  This basically leads to a skewed increase in allergies, whereas these people have always suffered; now they are simply begin treated correctly. 

And finally, could global warming be causing these allergies? A 2005 study found that plants are flowering earlier in the year, and total pollen production is increasing. A more recent study in Italy found that not only had pollen levels increased in the area, but the populations’ sensitivity to pollen had increased as well. While genetics plays a large role in all allergies, a longer and more intense pollen season could exacerbate symptoms.

SO, after all that – what we know is actually NOTHING!  We don’t know why allergies are on the rise, but none the less many are suffering.  So, what are some home remedies, over the counter treatments, what works, what doesn’t.  Over the next few days, we will look at food allergies and seasonal allergies.  What can you do, if you suffer?  What do you do now?

Leave a comment about your allergies.  Remember, allergies are nothing to sneeze at!