Let Me Help You Sneeze Less (slightly crude)

Spring is arguably the most beautiful season of Shanghai. Those boring brown skies of pollution have been blown away by that long lost warm air to reveal those baby blue skies in the day and that gorgeous red orange sunset in the evening. The birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming. It is absolutely gorgeous! But then.. a huge chunk of pollen decides to fly right up your nose or straight into your eye. I’ve only been in Shanghai for a few months, but the pollen here is something different. If the kid pictured below is you 24/7 then you're gonna want to read this.

Do you want to know the main reason why you keep sneezing? Let me give you a hint. It's literally everywhere in Shanghai. Long ago when the French were still occupying parts of this beautiful city and apparently didn't know what allergies were, they started planting these pollen demons all over the place and China eventually took it upon themselves to continue the spreading of these otherwise very useful trees. THE LONDON PLANE TREE has these brown balls hanging off of them that produce a whole lot of "prehistoric pollen" - allergic coworker. Here's a digitally rendered picture of your culprit.

hairy aren't they?

Now, let me tell you how to stow your allergies at bay!

If you're like me and have eyes then you've probably experienced a pollen invasion at one point.

  1. Get a stylish pair of non-prescription glasses to help block off all the ball hairs from getting into your eyes. If you already wear glasses then well, I gotta admit, you're better prepared than me.

If you have a home/place to live indoors, head this expert advice.

2.  Keep your windows closed. If you have AC, run that and not the fan or else you’ll stir up all the pollen already inside. Wash your bedding with hot water every week and vacuum at least once or twice a week.

Those hairy bastards love to fly around in the morning.

3.  5am-10am equals maximum pollen/dust exposure. Got leftover masks from the polluted days? Wear them on your way to work, and you'll be better prepared than your allergy ridden coworkers to show your boss that you mean business.

Sun + wind = dried clothes...but

4.  If you dry your clothes outside, don’t. They collect tons of pollen, dust, and even mold! Imagine having moldy clothes? Nasty.

Touchy topic here in China but, smoking.

5. Smoking triggers allergies very quickly. Second hand and first hand, so if you feel allergies creepin' up on ya, wash up! Rinse your hands and face thoroughly.

Lookin' for a steamy time?

6. Rather than throwing hot water up your nose, drink some hot flavored water (tea) or hot regular water. The steam helps thin out your mucus filled nasal cavities so you don't feel like this guy at night.

Apple. Cider. Vinegar.

7. All those health fanatics preach apple cider vinegar that, apple cider vinegar this. Turns out they're right! Mix it up with some water or down it straight like a boss to cleanse your lymphatic system and reduce mucus production.

Kimchi, kombucha, kimchi flavored kombucha..

8. Both of those delicious food/beverages contain a sh*tload of probiotics. Probiotics are great for combating allergic reactions and generally just lessening the impact of allergies.

Get your blood pumping!

9. Moderate exercise. I'm talkin' 15 minutes worth, not a whole gym session, will get your blood flowing to open up your nasal passages! Your blood will de-flame your inflamed membranes.

Orange you glad this cute ball is edible?

10. Citric fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and tomatoes all provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. They might not cure your allergies, but Vitamin C is a key player in helping your body fight off those allergy symptoms.