Why do we have allergies?

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

(phone ringing) – Hi, it’s Doug.
– Hi, Doug. – So, my friend Sarah was
telling me the other day that she walked out to
her car, and her whole car was covered in this
greenish yellow powder. She rubbed her hand through
it, it looked like this. Now, if you don’t know,
this stuff is called pollen, and Sarah was pretty worried, because she’s allergic to pollen. Right away, her eyes started watering, she started sneezing. Someone named Justice has
a question about allergies, let’s give him a call now. (phone ringing) – Hi Doug. – Hi Justice. – I have a question for you,
why do people have allergies? – That’s a great question. When you are allergic to
something, it often means your nose starts to run, you sneeze, your throat gets dry and itchy,
your eyes start to water. In the spring time, a lot
of people have allergies because they are allergic to pollen, that’s this color for the
powdery stuff I showed you. But what is pollen? And how do you think it causes allergies? Now would be a good time to
pause the video, and discuss. Okay, you’re ready? Well, you might know that pollen has something to do with flowers. Pollen comes from flowers when they bloom. Making pollen is part of
how flowers reproduce. In order to make seeds for the next year, flowers need their pollen to
get carried to other flowers. And it’s not just flowers like these, Many trees has flowers
too, here is one example of what the flowers on
trees often look like. Trees release a lot of
pollen in the spring time you can actually see some of the pollen coming off of these ones here. Check out this video
showing someone shaking one of these springs in the spring time. Look at that, all of that is pollen it’s like the tree is
exploding with pollen. Once pollen gets into the air,
people start to breath it in. Each tiny little grain of
pollen gets into their nose, their throat, their eyes. That sounds bad but if you
are not allergic to pollen, it doesn’t cause any harm. For people who are allergic
though, like this person, if they breathe it in,
or get any in their eyes, they don’t feel well, they
start to sneeze uncontrollably, their eyes water, maybe they cough. Why does this happen? Well, people’s reaction
is actually a clue. Think about the other situations, where you start sneezing or coughing. Your body reacts this way,
when you’re fighting off some kind of sickness. Some kind of germ. When a germ gets into your
body, your body naturally tries to fight it off. That means you get symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, a fever. These are all symptoms, of when your body is attacking germs, or trying to get the
germs to leave your body. But now pollen? Pollen is not a germ, right? Well, in the case of people
who are allergic to pollen, scientists have figured
out, that their bodies are reacting to pollen, as
if the pollen were a germ. That’s why people with allergies, get similar symptoms you
get, when you’re sick. Pollen isn’t really a germ,
but some people’s bodies don’t realize that, and
they attack the pollen, making someone feel as
though they are sick. It’s a mistaken response. Pollen won’t actually hurt
your body, it’s harmless. But your body’s response to pollen, can make you feel miserable all the same. It turns out, all allergies
work similar to this, they are all forms of the body, mistakenly responding to tiny things, as if those tiny things were germs. For example, people who
are allergic to cats, their bodies are reacting
to little flakes of skin in the cat’s hair, called dandruff. Or little bit of cat’s
saliva, found of cat fur when cat’s groom themselves. Or people who are allergic
to bee, of wasp stings. Their bodies react to
little beats of venom from a stinger. People who have food
allergies, react to things like tiny beats of peanuts, or eggs, or milk. Now, if someone is allergic to pollen, they may not feel very well in the spring, but at least their allergies go away once the pollen goes away. Like in fall, when there
aren’t many flowers blooming. But with allergies, to other things like pets or food, those
people have to be careful all year around, to
try to avoid the things they are allergic to. People with severe allergies may even have to go the the hospital, if they are exposed to those things. For someone with a severe
allergy, it’s really important that they stay away from the
things they are allergic to. So, in summary, when you’re
allergic to something, like pollen, your body responds, as if it were being invaded by germs. Even though these things
aren’t really germs, your body’s reaction, is
what gives you symptoms that make you feel bad. And is some cases, it
can even be dangerous. That’s all for this fixed question, thanks Justice for asking it. Now, for the nest episode I reach into my question jar, and found three question submitted to me, that I’m thinking about answering. When this video is done playing,
you’ll get to vote one one. You can choose from, why do you lose you teeth? If animals go to warm place in winter, why do they come back? Or, what is an eraser made out of? So, submit your vote
when the video is over, I wanna here from all of you watching. There are mysteries, all around us stay curious, and see you next week.

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