Spring Fever & Allergies

Science Chunks

March is kick-off for spring – yay! – but it also comes with spring fever and allergies for many of us. Here are some facts about pollen, allergies and springtime lethargy.

Tired?

60 – 70% of the Germans suffer from spring fever. Two hormones, the production of which depends on the daylight we get, are responsible for our lethargy: “sleep hormone” melatonin and “happiness hormone” serotonin. Due to the darkness of the shorter winter days more melatonin is produced and we get tired and lethargic. The more (sun) light we get, the happier and more active we are.

Not quite a rosy future

Scientists from the University of Massachusetts found out that over the next 100 years grass pollen production and allergen exposure will increase due to the predicted rises in carbon dioxide and ozone due to climate change.

Common cold or allergy?

Tired, stuffy or running nose? Not sure if it’s a real allergy or a cold? A common cold is characterized by yellowish or greenish mucus, whereas the mucues released due to an allergy is transparent. Plus, itching in eyes and nose typically indicates an allergy, not a cold. Another hint: Allergies return annually, at the same time of the year.

Go green

We all know that going for a walk is healthy. Chiba University in Japan did some research to find out whether a walk in the urban jungle and a walk in the park have different effects on us. The results were pretty clear: The heart rate drops significantly more when strolling through a green oasis than when walking along sidewalks and surrounded by buildings. The test persons who took a walk in a green environment felt better, more at ease and more relaxed than those who walked in an urban setting.

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