Sore eyes, weeping, sneezing all day, constant nasal flow and difficult breathing. What's happening to you? Maybe it's just a cold, but if the symptoms appear when there is pollen around you, then it could be the hay fever, known also as seasonal allergic rhinitis. If this is the case, you should know there are many people in
your situation and their number is constantly growing each year.
Allergy is nothing more than an exaggerated reaction of the organism against a chemical considered harmful. The immune system of the allergic reacts against all those agents which they feel as foreign, even if they are not really dangerous. When the immune system reacts this way, all the annoying symptoms described before can take place.
The first to speak about this condition was the English medic John Bostock, in 1819, who described in detail the annoying seasonal symptoms which himself experienced. He believed that the cause was the recently cut hay, that's why he called the new condition "the hay fever", even if later it was found that the agents able to generate an allergic reaction comprised many types of pollen. At the beginning of the 19th century, Bostock did not find more than a few cases in the entire England.
In this case, why did this become an epidemic nowadays? There are two main hypotheses.
One blames the Diesel engines. It is believed that the allergens (chemicals able to trigger an allergic reaction) are activated by the particles released by the fuel when burning. Indeed, in the industrialized countries, the pollinosis (allergy to pollen) can affect up to 20 % of the population, being more frequent in the urban environment.
The second theory proposes the exaggerated hygiene as the cause. We are born in an incubator, we eat sterile food, wash countless time a day with antibacterial chemicals, we get vaccinated against numerous diseases and ingest tones of antibiotics. This does not stimulate the immune system during the childhood, and when the immune system is activated, it overreacts.