Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Get your tissues ready, because spring has sprung! - Hey guys, Tara here for Dnews - and it is officially that time of year! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and if you're anything like me - your nose is a disgusting faucet of neverending liquids. BUT- before you go blaming pollen for those pesky seasonal allergies - remember, you have no one to blame but yourself. So, what's happening inside your body, when you experience allergies? Well, it's basically one giant misunderstanding. The first time you're exposed to an allergen - your immune system investigates that allergen and produces specific antibodies for it, which are special cells designed to detect and stop foreign invasion. Typically, this is a good thing. It's what prevents you from getting sick. But in the case of allergies, your immune system mistakes innocuous things like pollen and cat dander - for a serious threat. And in response to that threat, your plasma cells release a flood of these antibodies that attach to the surface of your mast cells, causing them to burst open and release a flood of histamine. Histamine is what causes the swelling that leads to various allergy-like symptoms, like runny nose, sneezing, or hives. But why do some people have such bad allergies, and others not at all? There's no cut-and-dry answer to that question, but genetics and environment seem to play the two biggest roles. Research, for example, has shown that children with one allergic parent have a 33% chance of developing allergies; and with two allergic parents, that number goes up to 70%. Genetics are also the reason African-American children experience three times as much sensitivity to food allergens, as Caucasian children. In science, we're always taught that early development is the most crucial stage of life - and early exposure to allergens is no different. Research from Henry Ford Hospital shows that having a pet in the house during your child's first year of life may protect him or her from developing allergies. That same group also found that babies born via c-section were six times more likely to be sensitive to dust mite allergens, than babies born via natural birth. Presumably, because they're not exposed to the microbiome of bacteria present in the mother's birth canal, which teaches their immune system the difference between good and bad bacteria. This goes hand in hand with something called the Hygiene Hypothesis, which aims to explain why allergies are more prevalent in wealthy, industrialized nations, than developing countries. Again, the idea is that a lack of early exposure to parasites and bacteria typically found in developing nations - prevents our bodies from being able to develop the appropriate immune response to them. So in the event we're actually exposed to dangerous agents, our bodies simply don't know how to deal with it. So, what can we do about seasonal allergies, if our bodies just refuse to cooperate? Anti-histamines can alleviate the symptoms - but they're not gonna make you any less allergic to a substance you're already allergic to. Some studies tout alternative remedies - like acupuncture, or eating locally grown honey - but most of those have anecdotal effects. The only proven treatment for respiratory allergies - is immunotherapy, where you receive increasing doses of whatever allergen you're sensitive to, either orally - or via injection. That slow build-up of allergens, allows your body to acclimate to them, which in turn, improves your long-term tolerance. Not only is this an expensive option - if you don't have insurance - it's also a time-consuming process, that can take months or even years to build up a sufficient tolerance. In the most extreme cases, people with severe allergies can resort to rush immunotherapy - which is the same thing, but on a much tighter timeline. So instead of spreading out your doses over several months or years, you receive all of them. In a week. One long, miserable, neverending week. Still better than a lifetime of sneezing, though - that much I can tell you. I got tested for allergies my first year of college - and discovered I was allergic to all 71 allergens they tested me for, including both American and German cockroaches. So, yeah. I'm pretty wordly. I know there's weirder stuff out there, though - so let us know what YOU'RE allergic to, in the comments down below - or hit us up on Twitter at @Dnews.