Clouds of Doom
The pollen... It is coming... It's all I can think about these days. It's all Japan can think about, too. Every time I turn on the TV, I see clips of sinister looking cedar forests shedding massive clouds of pollen, like locusts setting out to lay waste to Japan's nasal passages. It's a horrible sight. They say that the pollen count this spring is going to be up to thirty times higher than last year. I can't even imagine. There's hardly any pollen at all in the air now, and my nose is already completely blocked up.
From what I can gather, two major factors are contributing to this year's allergen hell: last year's unusually long growing season, and the fact that most of Japan's cedar trees planted after WWII are reaching maturity now.
At least I am not alone. "Allergic rhinitis is the most prevalent chronic disease in the United States, affecting approximately 35 million people, or nearly one- fifth of the American population."
Also, "Ragweed is the most important cause of allergic rhinitis in the US, affecting about 75% of allergy sufferers. One plant can release one million pollen grains a day. Ragweed is everywhere in the US, although it is less prevalent along the West Coast, southern Florida, northern Maine, Alaska, and Hawaii. The effects of ragweed in the northern states are first felt in middle to late August and last until the first frost. Ragweed allergies tend to be most severe before midday."
And, "The American Academy of Allergy says that some of the best places to escape ragweed are: the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon, San Francisco, San Diego, Hawaii, the mountainous areas of Idaho, upper Maine, the Great Smoky Mountain area, the Virgin Islands and the northern edge of North Dakota."
I also learned that people born in autumn tend to be the most severely affected by seasonal allergies. Babies that are exposed to large amounts of pollen within the first six months of their life are more apt to develop an immunity.
I've incorporated into my diet large amounts of garlic, calcium, onions, yogurt and Taiwanese tocho (凍頂茶） oolong tea. It hasn't helped. Andrew Weil suggests taking quercetin, a plant pigment that acts as an antihistamine and anitioxidant. It can be found in foods such as apples, onions, raspberries, black and green tea, red wine, red grapes, citrus fruit, cherries, broccoli, and leafy greens. Might as well give it a go.
I'm even seriously considering buying an air cleaner for $200.