With weather change, you can expect to go through sneezes, coughs and itchy eyes. Allergies always come with season changes. But while allergies are a pain to deal with, they may not be the misguided immune responses we thought them to be.
Scientists have a new theory suggesting that they may have evolved to protect us. Many immunologists think that allergies from peanuts to pollen are misdirected bodily responses. The result: our body attempts to purge the non existent invaders by sneezing, coughing, itching and more.
A researchers from Yale university has a different idea altogether. Ruslan Medzhitov points out that parasites and the substances that trigger allergies, have nothing in common. He thinks that allergies are an evolved trait, which help protect humans from toxic substances in our surroundings. He explains, in Nature:
"How do you defend against something you inhale that you don't want? You make mucus. You make a runny nose, you sneeze, you cough. Or if it's on your skin, by inducing itching, you avoid it or you try to remove it by scratching it."
Further to that, he's got evidence to back that up. An allergic response example for instance, seem to degrade and detoxity snake and bee venom, while others seem to prevent pests from biting or stinging again. Could be evolutionary made to protect us?
Whether the theory turns out to be adopted by the entire scientific community remains to be seen. But what do you think? Could you be having that sneeze or cough because your body is protecting you from something much worse?