Allergies… Why Do We Say Gesundheit When Someone Sneezes?

It’s easy to forget that oak trees are like a big broccoli floret. This year in California, we’ve had so much rain, the trees are not just bursting forth their greenery, many are bursting with pollen. The timing of the rains, interspersed with intervals of beautiful weather, have enabled pollen and flowers on the trees to remain intact, bringing better assurance that the trees will bear fruit. Whether it’s fig, apricot, almond or oak, the trees in my neck of the woods are the healthiest I’ve ever seen them. Let’s hope there will be an abundance of acorns. I’m hungry for some acorn chocolate cake and there are several squirrels with big bushy tails that are probably eyeing them too. Don’t worry little fellas, I will only take a few.

Beware of the beauty of oak trees in full pollen mode. Even if you don’t regularly have allergies, this year might be different. After several years of drought, mother nature is making up for lost time. Gesundheit!

Why do we say that after someone sneezes? Gesundheit is a German word that means health.  Auf ihre gesundheit means, “to your health.” A sneeze might be a reaction to dust or pollen but it can also be a sign that someone is coming down with a cold. In office environments, it has become almost an obsession to say, “bless you” or “gesundheit” after someone sneezes.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973