Bless you, modern technology

Spring! What a glorious time- the sun’s shining, birds chirping, everywhere you look, flowers are in bloom…  If you’re one of the 3.1 million Australians out there who suffer from hayfever, unfortunately, spring can be your worst nightmare. Listed as one of the top chronic respiratory condition by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, this annoying condition sends your immune system into a freakout!

Source : Flickr

Scientficially classified as “allergic rhinitis”, the croux of this problem lies with things called mast cells. When antibodies that match these mast cells bind to them, it causes ‘degranulation’, and a release of a multitude of biological components into the area surrounding the cells. One of these components that has a massive affect of the onset of hayfever is histamine, and once this is released, the body’s inflammatory response kicks in, giving us the telltale runny nose, itchy eyes and breathing difficulties

Mast cells (highlighted)

Source: Flickr

Now, what do we use to treat hayfever? Have you made the connection yet? That’s right, antihistamines! These drugs act on the receptors that histamine bind to cause inflammation to stop the binding and consequently stop the onset of allergic rhinitis. As most antihistamines are 24hour acting drugs, it is often suggested that they be taken before bed to ensure they’ve fully kicked in by morning. I’m not sure about you, but I personally can’t afford to take a tablet a day, so I’m greatful to have come across this little gem on Twitter.

@MelbournePollen is the Twitter account of Melbourne Pollen, run by the Botany department here at the University of Melbourne. Each afternoon, a record of today’s pollen count (pollen grass grains/m3) and a prediction of the next day’s pollen count, accompanied by a Low, Moderate, High or Extreme rating.

I can fully recommend giving them a follow, and look forward to living in hayfever-free bliss this spring and summer!


One Response to “Bless you, modern technology”

  1. katied says:

    Lovely post – thanks for the link to Melbourne Pollen. While I don’t personally suffer from hay-fever myself, I certainly know people who do! I shall definitely forward that on to them. 🙂