Pollen drama | Day 35

It’s here. Spring.

I know because I’ve spent today wheezing, blowing my nose, and feeling a general blergh.

Here’s a dramatisation of the happenings of my immune system when pollen finds its way into my airways.

Pollen flies through the air, without a worry in the world — except for searching flower lady bits to attach itself to. I inhale a breath of lovely, fresh springtime air. Said pollen travels up my nose.

Pollen: Whoa, this is not right… it got all dark all of a sudden. I think I’m lost.

Meanwhile Immunoglobulin E  is hanging out on the surface of some mast cells.

IgE: Wait a minute, who are you?

Pollen: Er, I don’t think I’m supposed to be here… You look like a friendly protein, could you please tell me where the nearest exit is?

IgE: Hey, I know you… INTRUDER ALERT! Hey, mast cells, wake up!

Mast cells, snoring: Hrrr… Wha?

IgE: INTRUDER! We’ve seen this kind of particle before!

Pollen: I’m sorry, I don’t mean to intrude… Hey, why are you grabbing me?

IgE binds to the pollen and yells: Come on mast cell, release THE HISTAMINES! I’m holding the intruder!

Mast cell: Oh, right… ok, there we go.

Mast cell dies, releasing all it’s symptom-triggering chemicals. I start to experience an itch in my nose and sneeze a couple of times. The next thing I know, I’m wheezing and rummaging in the drug cabinet for an antihistamine pill. Thanks, silly overreacting immune system.

Bonus: this is a scanning electron microscope image of pollen. I blame the spiky bits for my allergy. I know, totally fair.

Pollen from a variety of common plants, 500x magnification. | Public domain, find out more at Wikimedia Commons.
Pollen from a variety of common plants, 500x magnification. | Wikimedia Commons.

3 thoughts on “Pollen drama | Day 35”

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