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Allergy by rieke-b Allergy by rieke-b
Acrylic paints on canvas, 40x40cm.
Allergies belong to the greatest chronic sufferings of our time – they spread across the world like an epidemic and can be life-threatening.
The portrayal on my painting is exaggerated, but more and more children are so allergic to pollen and spores that they have to shampoo their hair every time after they’ve been outside. (The climate change will most probably extend the phase of intense pollen concentration in the air in Europe.) I find the idea of some children not being able to play in the nature without protective clothing very sad and alarming…
(When there’s a cross-reactivity, the mislead immune defence can also react on foods, since the proteins of some pollen that create allergies resemble those of certain sources of food.)

The biochemical processes behind allergies have been well researched, but their extreme spreading and control is still a mystery to research. Many persons suffering from allergies that were treated badly or not treated at all are in danger of suffering from consequences like asthma. Since there’s a great number of protein and chemicals in everyday products, but also metals and light etc. that can cause allergies, scientists assume that every second European might be affected within the next few years.

When I was in primary school, almost every girl in my class took riding lessons. How proud I was when I finally was able to visit a riding school regularly, too! Unfortunately, a few months later, I couldn’t visit the farm anymore without turning into a sneezing, panting mess… Apart from animal hair, I’m also allergic to dust, but it’s not too bad. My cat’s saliva makes my hands itch. I could never have a tomcat or another short-haired pet that sheds a lot of fur. Luckily, our two small terrier mixes hardly lose any hair…

Conspicuously, children who grow up on farms have asthma and hay fever five times less rarely than city children. The extreme hygiene in households, which developed while the environment got polluted more and more, seems to have enhanced the development of allergies within the last 50 years. Whoever had constant contact to farm animals and siblings during childhood, though, lives with the smallest risk of becoming allergic. However, making a trip to a farm now and then doesn’t help against existing allergies at all.
Many people will certainly be bound to a hygienic civilization without parasites, since there will most probably never be a miracle cure that would allow them to live close to nature without sneezing…

(Source: GEO magazine, German edition, May issue 2012)
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Acryl auf Leinwand, 40x40cm.
Allergien sind eines der größten chronischen Leiden unserer Zeit – wie eine Seuche breiten sie sich auf der ganzen Welt aus und können lebensgefährlich sein.
Die Darstellung auf meinem Bild ist zwar übertrieben, doch immer mehr Kinder reagieren so allergisch auf Pollen und Sporen, dass sie sich nach jedem Aufenthalt im Freien die Haare shampoonieren müssen. (Der Klimawandel wird die Pollenflugzeit in Europa wohl auch noch verlängern.) Die Vorstellung, dass manche Kinder irgendwann nicht mehr ohne Schutzkleidung in der Natur spielen könnten, finde ich traurig und erschreckend…
(Durch sogenannte Kreuzallergien kann die irregeleitete Immunabwehr zusätzlich noch auf Lebensmittel stark reagieren, denn die Allergie auslösenden Eiweiße mancher Pollen ähneln bestimmten Nahrungsmittelproteinen.)

Die biochemischen Prozesse hinter Allergien sind gut erforscht, doch ihre extreme Ausbreitung und Bekämpfung stellt die Forschung vor ein Rätsel. Viele schlecht oder gar nicht therapierte Allergiker drohen deshalb dauerhaft an Spätfolgen wie Asthma zu erkranken. Da eine große Vielzahl von Proteinen und chemischen Stoffen in alltäglichen Produkten, aber auch Metalle oder Licht u. a. Allergien auslösen können, gehen Wissenschaftler davon aus, dass innerhalb der nächsten Jahre etwa jeder zweite Europäer betroffen sein könnte.

Als ich noch in der Grundschule war, nahm fast jedes Mädchen in meiner Klasse Reitunterricht. Wie stolz war ich, als ich schließlich auch regelmäßig zum Reiten konnte! Leider konnte ich mich nach wenigen Monaten nicht mehr auf dem Hof aufhalten, ohne mich in ein niesendes, keuchendes Häuflein Elend zu verwandeln… Neben Tierhaaren reagiere ich allergisch auf Hausstaub, wenn auch nicht übermäßig schlimm. Der Speichel meiner Katze sorgt an meinen Händen für Juckreiz. Ich könnte nie einen Kater oder ein kurzhaariges Haustier haben, das viel Fell verliert. Glücklicherweise haaren unsere beiden kleinen Terrier-Mischlinge kaum…

Auffällig ist, dass Kinder, die auf Bauernhöfen aufwachsen, fünfmal seltener Asthma und Heuschnupfen haben als Stadtkinder. Die übertriebene Hygiene im Haus bei gleichzeitig zunehmender Umweltverschmutzung scheint die Entstehung von Allergien innerhalb der letzten 50 Jahre angefeuert zu haben. Wer als Kind dagegen ständig Kontakt zu Nutztieren und Geschwistern hatte, lebt mit dem kleinsten Allergierisiko. Nur ab und zu einen Ausflug zum Bauernhof zu machen hilft leider überhaupt nicht gegen bestehende Allergien.
Viele Menschen werden wohl ihr Leben lang an eine hygienische Zivilisation ohne Parasiten gefesselt sein, denn ein Wundermittel, das ihnen ein naturnahes Leben ohne Niesreiz ermöglichen würde, wird es wohl nie geben…

(Quelle: GEO Magazin, Ausgabe Mai 2012)
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:iconenoa79:
Enoa79 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2013
Beautiful work. Very well done.
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! :hug:
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:iconenoa79:
Enoa79 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013
You're welcome.
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:iconart-fromthe-heart:
ART-fromthe-HEART Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
That's an adorable and humorous painting! :D

The underlying message is understandably more serious. :nod: Being farm raised myself, I have no allergies. The cleanliness of our house...wasn't the greatest and remains so, but mainly in the way of lots of dust, dander, and animal hair floating in the corners and under furniture. Cleaning is a chore...we do it when we get tired of seeing the dustbears attacking our ankles. XD The near constant exposure to the natural world, and daily for many hours of exposure to every kind of animal you can think of (reptiles, amphibian, goats and livestock, cats and dogs, birds and other fowl, you name it) beefed up our immunities to the world. We know for a fact that children not exposed when young become compromised. That's why it was my parent's goal to share with us as much of nature as they could. Not only so we could enjoy it and experience wondrous things, but the healthier you are, the more can enjoy it too. All the household chemicals used to clean and disinfect...they're doing as much harm as good. Not all germs are bad. Some bacteria is needed for our everyday living!

I even heard that the obsessiveness with the antibacterial gels used nowadays (the stuff at all cash registers and such), can be bad for us. While yes they do kill germs that could give us the cold or make us sick, but natural bacteria on our hands that are meant to fight such viruses in nature are killed to. We're destroying our own skin's ability to defend ourselves! An amazing part of evolution is being eradicated because we're afraid of what we can't see. We need to calm down and believe in our own body's ability to survive. There are lots of reasons to use cleaners and anti-bacterial things, but too much of a good thing isn't good anymore. :shrug:
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, being that separated by your surroundings must be sad...

Sure, you must be used to living with a great microbial variety! You're really lucky! I wish I were as robust as that and could surround myself with more animals...
But you still should be careful with chemicals. There are many industrial products that could cause allergies.
Of course! There are actually more bacteria cells in a human body than human cells! We're a walking universe that nurtures countless little helpers and enemies. :D

Extreme hygiene makes sense in public places, where sensitive people could pass by, and in laboratories, but you can't really prevent catching a cold because it's being caused by viruses that change constantly. Unless your immune system has fought one of them already, the illness will surely break out...
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:iconpakstadi:
pakstadi Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2013
My husband's friend, who is a scientist working in CERN, suspects that widespread use of antibiotics since 1960ies might have affected us in more ways than we can guess. Considering the fact that we are pretty much made up of bacteria - they have an important role to play our digestion, nervous system, immunity, tumor growth/self-destruction, even brain activity and emotions - our kill-them-all tactics may have wiped out some lines of bacteria we badly need for survival. His idea is that the human species is an ecosystem of its own. Over the millions of years of our evolution, we may have developed strains of bacteria that can exist only inside of us. If those particular bacteria happen to be extinct in outside environment, and we are killing them now with our antibiotics in our bodies, we have no chance of regaining them from nature. So, that leaves us with inability to survive in our habitat, of which allergies may be just one symptom.

My husband has suffered from dust allergy and asthma for years. It subsided completely after he divorced his first wife and moved out of city into a small town with me. :-) The change of environment had another funny effect on him: his balding head (at the age of 38) grew back a nice shock of new hair. :D
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:iconart-fromthe-heart:
ART-fromthe-HEART Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:nod: I'm sure it has, I hardly know anyone who doesn't have some sort of allergy or reaction to things. Heck, I know for a fact that when I seven I had a very VERY high dose over 2 months of antibiotics (chronic strep throat) and it stunted the growth of my teeth. And may have even messed with my hormones which are very off now. We're playing with fire trying to control a world we don't even understand. Not all bacteria is bad, if only we knew more. :shrug:

That's amazing! A good reason I prefer country over the city. ;)
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:iconmayeaux:
Mayeaux Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice work and concept!
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks a lot! :)
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:iconmayeaux:
Mayeaux Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome, Rieke!:)
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:iconwaracki99:
Waracki99 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013
that's pretty scary, 100 years ago was Allergy rareness, today have Allergy is normal. I happy nobody from my family have Allergy!
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
That's true... Oooh, you're so lucky! Allergies are so annoying...
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:iconkael1030:
kael1030 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I so need one of those suits... :tears:
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh no! :( Do you have hay fever?
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:iconkael1030:
kael1030 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I actually have a cold for the hundredth time this year (or seems like) but yes, I suffer bad with hay fever too. :(
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:iconmetalwolfdraakje:
metalwolfdraakje Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Actually, my little sister used to be one of those kids that was pretty much allergic to anything you can think of... including horses and hay and dust. But, she loved going to the horse farm so much, she didnt care how ill it made her. My mum just gave her some antihistamines and hoped it would help.
But now, some +/- 9 years later, going to the stables hardly bothers her at all. She only really gets a reaction if shes already been in contact with other allergens (loke chocolate) i guess she built a tolerance over the years. To be honest, i think people nowadays are too clean! I think that if parents just let their kids expose themselves, they would build resistance naturally. :)
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Building a tolerance truly is an interesting subject! Some allergies can vanish over the years. Immunotherapy is even a kind of treatment during which people get exposed to small doses of the allergen for desensitization...
I'm glad your sister can enjoy being with horses now! :) I wonder if I still reacted as much if I visited a farm again... After all, I got more tolerant towards my cat over the years.

I think so too - children should play in the mud! :D But you can't generalize it, of course. My mother used to play outside all day when she was a child, but she's still allergic today...
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:iconmetalwolfdraakje:
metalwolfdraakje Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Well, yes, it depends on the situation ofcourse. Like peanut allergies get worse whenever the patient is exposed too peanuts. And my sister is also allergic to a type of antibiotics; last time it was only a rash, but if she is ever exposed again it could threaten her life... and my own hayfever only got worse over the years ;.;  
You should try it! Who knows? 
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
That's true... Oh, no!! Antibiotics are apparantly becoming a big threat for more and more people who are allergic or resistant to them. :( Does your sister carry a document that says she's allergic? And how's your hay fever now?
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:icondesertdarlene:
Desertdarlene Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Love it.  And, yes, it seems like kids nowadays are more allergic to things than ever before.
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Glad you like it! :) Yep, allergies started spreading about 50 years ago, when hygiene became more and more important. It's a good thing that people don't die of infections and parasites that often anymore these days, of course, but more and more children grow up in cities instead of living on farms, so they're prone to developing allergies. 
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:iconchiisai-hane:
Chiisai-Hane Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013
My mom has this thing on different kinds of grass that grows aroud in Summer, and it's hard sometimes. But fortunately, she takes anti-allergic pills and it quite helps :)
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh, so she has hay fever, too? That must be really annoying... The pills can't cure the allergy, can they? But they can ease the symptoms, of course...
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:iconchiisai-hane:
Chiisai-Hane Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013
Yep, I didn't know that this is called hay fever, but yes this is it. And pills can only mute the symptoms, though it helps well :)
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:iconslipping-star:
Slipping-Star Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I think the increase in allergies has been contributed to a lot by our no longer having the physically toughest breed, it's just anyone now.  While medicines are great, we're becoming more and more dependant on them (myself included).  It's a vicious cycle.
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
So true. When you grew up in a clean environment, you won't survive very long in a rainforest without medication. :(
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:iconsturmvoqel:
Sturmvoqel Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Traurig aber wahr..
Sehr ausdrucksstarkes Bild, du hast es perfekt auf den Punkt gebracht! 
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Danke schön! *schnäuz* :sick:
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:iconwatsz:
Watsz Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
allergy lol i know XD
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, allergies are so annyoing! :sick:
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:iconmeroe1313:
meroe1313 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So much grass and flowers!  Sometimes I feel like I need a suit like that outside, just to keep the mosquitoes and ticks off me.
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:D It surely could be helpful against those insects, but imagine you'd need it because of extreme hay fever. :-O
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:iconmaijasg:
MaijaSG Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
And amen to that. Same allergies that you have plus few more, like fresh fruit (though the reaction isn't extremely bad, but loads of itching). I'm also one of those WEIRD people whose skin reacts to temperature change ---> if I go into a sauna and I haven't taken any antihistamine medication I get really itchy little spots mainly on my face and chest. Guess the reaction is mild version of urticaria in my case. Hate being allergic to many things -.- Keep up the good work.
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
Can you eat dry fruit, then? Or do you have to take food supplements?
Oh, that's truly an interesting reaction! But it doesn't make you a weird person, of course. ;) Allergies surely are annoying. I've been sneezing and blowing my nose nearly all day again today. :blownose:
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:iconmaijasg:
MaijaSG Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, dry fruit is perfectly okay :) at least.. -.- But I do take some food supplements because I can't eat much of "fresh" food, some vegetables also bring out some symptoms - I still try to eat some fresh stuff in little quantities so maybe someday all these allergies could get better.. :')
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:iconrieke-b:
rieke-b Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh, I see. The main thing is that you get all the nutrients and vitamins, so if you're allergic, food supplements are really a good invention. (I just don't understand why some healthy people take them... to become even more healthy? :no: )
Good luck to you, then! :thumbsup: I really hope you'll get better in the long term. Just don't overdo it. :)
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Submitted on
August 25, 2013
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Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
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Aug 3, 2013, 10:38:59 AM
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