Springtime: Your Worst Enemy

Caroline Cook

Yes it’s that time of year again, the dreaded season of allergies. The sun is out, the birds are chirping and you are itchy, congested, and sneezing your socks off. Although we can’t prescribe you the allergy medication to end all allergies, we can cushion the blow of your allergies by giving you a laugh. The goal of the Mirador is to alert the Miramonte community to common, uncommon, and just downright weird allergy triggers.

According to a research study by the Mayo Clinic, an allergy is any abnormal reaction of the body’s immune system to a particular substance, called an allergen. The immune system produces proteins known as IgE antibodies which protect the body from harmful invaders. If a person has an allergy, these antibodies recognize the specific allergen as a threat. As a result, histamines and other substances are released causing allergy symptoms. The threat level posed by allergies differs from person to person, ranging from minor irritation to anaphylaxis—a life-threatening situation. The fact that allergies cannot be cured is an unfortunate truth for a fifth of the American population.

Animal hair
Although we all love our cats and dogs to death, we don’t love the oily secretions coating their hair. Sadly, animal dander can be threatening enough to end the relationship between man and his furry best friend. Simple solutions for any dog or cat lover who desires to preserve this relationship is to: pull a Dr. Evil and shave your pet Mr. Bigglesworth style, adopt the attractive Mexican Hairless Dog, or live in a plastic bubble like Jake Gyllenhaal in Bubble Boy. Side effects to the given solutions may include blood-curdling screams from your neighbors as you walk your hypoallergenic friend down the block, and alienation from the world because you live in a bubble.

On a more serious note, peanut allergies present no laughing matter. Peanut allergies are extremely common, yet deadly. Allergic reactions usually appear in the early years of life but most kids don’t outgrow them as they get older. Reactions mostly occur within minutes of exposure, causing the common symptoms of: hives, redness, swelling of skin, itching and tingling in the mouth or throat, shortness of breath or wheezing, digestive problems, and tightening of the chest. The best way to prevent allergic reactions is recognizing and avoiding foods that could trigger symptoms, considering the fact that in some foods, peanuts are well hidden. To deal with your peanut allergy at school, train one of your friends to spot peanuts or peanut traces. Then, convince Ms. Bartlett to show your trusty compadre the ropes at patrolling the lunch tables and using a walkie-talkie to ensure utmost protection from your enemy, the peanut.

Worst thing to be allergic to. However, to some people, going to the bank is not a pleasurable experience. According to the Mayo Clinic, money allergies stem from a negative reaction to the nickel used in coinage, and is one of the most common instigators of allergy-related dermatitis (inflammation of the skin). Symptoms include: rashes, redness, blisters, bumps, itching, and dry skin 12-24 hours after exposure. Although staying away from money seems impossible, victims can curb their allergic reactions by wearing gloves when handling coinage and resisting the urge to happily rub money on their faces.

Pollen is the number one allergy trigger in the United States according to the Mayo Clinic’s study. Produced by vegetation, pollen is an airborne allergen and a nightmare to victims who inhale it. Unfortunately, the repeated offenders (trees, flowers, and grass) never relent as they continue to release pollen each season. You may be tempted to walk around with a mask covering your nose and mouth, but a more sensible alternative is to ask your doctor about allergy medications such as Zyrtec, which cannot cure you, but can help fight pollen.

Believe it or not, your number one method of communication is an allergen. The Mayo Clinic’s study reveals that some mobile phone allergies come from reactions to nickel, while other attacks result from negative reactions to low levels of radiation and microwaves. Although some people believe their cellular device to be mandatory to their business success and social status, little do they know that electromagnetism, microwaves, and radiation await to attack their sensitive skin. Redness, itchiness, and welts can be stopped by utilizing hands-free devices such as Bluetooth, speakerphones, antihistamines, and corticosteroids. In addition, many cars such as the Nissan Murano have computers on the console with cell phone capability. However, the only tried-and-true prevention tactic is to live without a cell phone. Unfortunately, for the majority of us who live in a world dependent on technology, this may not be a realistic or effective method.