As long as people have had noses and throats, they've had seasonal allergies. These plagues return year after year to wreak havoc on sufferers. Today, we have plenty of medications, remedies, and specialized products to prevent or alleviate symptoms, but what about our allergy-suffering forebears? How have people dealt with allergy symptoms throughout history?
While they weren’t busy inventing democracy or writing epic poetry, the scholars of ancient Greece turned their attention to medical maladies. Pretty much all medical knowledge at the time revolved around the concept of the Four Humors: a handful of fluids that needed to be kept in the exact right proportions if you were to maintain a healthy life. It was believed that everything from the flu to muscle pain was directly tied to an imbalance of your humors.
Each humor was associated with a season. Have springtime allergies? There might be something wrong with your blood levels. It was believed that all blood was produced in the liver. So, if you had the seasonal sniffles, your doctor might've recommended liver surgery!
The Middle Ages
If you thought the age of antiquity was bad, buckle up. Unlike previous eras, science and medicine in the Middle Ages saw few advancements for one very big reason—the Church. Throughout the modern world, the Vatican controlled pretty much every aspect of life. Any new findings, including medical research, that did not agree with the Church’s teachings were quickly disregarded as heresy.
So if you suffered from seasonal allergies, the best advice you’d receive was “deal with it.” You were most likely suffering as some form of punishment.
The Age of Discovery and The Enlightenment
Around the 17th century, people started asking questions about everything from geology to medicine. The great thinkers of the time wanted to understand the world in which they lived. Why do some people only show symptoms in the spring or fall? Why does a dog make you sneeze?
It was during the 1600s that scholars first made the link between pollen and allergies. Later, in the 1800s, scientists began performing experiments and publishing their findings on seasonal allergies. In 1819, John Bostock published an entire book laying out all the symptoms of allergies to help diagnose patients. Later, Morrill Wyman performed experiments like inhaling ragweed (leading to a severe allergy attack) and observing the effects of dust and coal smoke.
Today, we are lucky enough to have plenty of preventive measures and remedies to help with some of the worst allergy symptoms. There are also many steps you can take to prevent seasonal allergens before they even set in. Make sure to check out our extensive line of allergen-free bedding solutions to keep you breathing easy all spring!