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Airborne Allergens: Small Assailants

Authors: Melissa Bright, BA


Allergies are signals from the body’s immune system that a harmful substance is present. Airborne allergens, while not deadly like food and chemical allergies, can still cause a chain reaction of uncomfortable symptoms for allergic people. In most cases, the only form of control is avoidance, but airborne allergens make that very difficult.1 When identifying plants with high pollen output, watch for the “plain-looking” ones, such as trees, grasses, and weeds.1 As an alternative to producing fragrant, colorful flowers and fruits, many of these plants generate small, light, and dry pollen grains that travel easily in the wind.1 These grains travel so far and wide that some have been found 400 miles offshore and 2 miles above the earth’s surface.1 Mold spores, the other airborne allergens, only need moisture to grow. Knowing that these allergens are so pervasive, it is not surprising that most miss their target and end up on cars, windows, and, unfortunately, inside the human body.

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