The birds and the bees leave you sniffing - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

The birds and the bees leave you sniffing

Spring is here, and love is in the air - quite literally if you're an oak tree.

"Pollen is the male portion of the sexual transfer of material between two flowers," said Clegg's Nursery owner Scott Ricca.

That's right, the pollen floating through the air, falling on your car and getting in your nose is all part of, well, the birds and the bees.

"Pollen has to be transferred from the male organ of the flower to the female organ of the flower and it can be done either by transfer of water, wind or some type of animal," explained Ricca.  

While animals and insects do most of the work when it comes to transferring pollen between pretty flowers, trees depend on the wind so they produce that lightweight pollen in excess. 

It then goes up in the air and into our noses.  For most of us, the gesture is anything but romantic.

"The trigger will come into the nasal passage and it releases many chemicals. One of those big chemicals is histamine. Histamine triggers a response of drainage, it's a response of congestions, redness people notice and itching," said allergy specialist Dr. Sandhya Mani.

That process is an allergic reaction, basically your body's way of saying there is a bad substance that needs to be removed.

Allergy sufferers in this region are especially out of luck.  According to Mani, there are only about two months out of the year that are pollen free in the South. 

"Tree season actually starts in January for us. So, if you can imagine there is tree allergy now, summer allergy will be grasses and then fall allergy will be the weeds," said Mani.

Doctors say that chemical reaction can be controlled with anti-histamines, or prevented by using saline nose spray nightly.

"Another thing is please make sure your remove your clothing after coming in from the outside. Put on new clothing, washing off that can remove allergens from the surface," said Mani.

Also, Mani says that allergies change overtime.  That means even if you never showed symptoms as a child, that you can still develop new allergies as an adult. 

An allergy specialist can do testing to determine what you are allergic to specifically.

However, Ricca is quick to point out that pollen isn't all bad.   He says that without pollen, we wouldn't have the flowers or fruits that so many people enjoy.  

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