Pollen Allergy – Understanding and Fighting Pollen Allergies
Pollen allergy (hay fever) is the most common allergy in our latitudes. Typical symptoms: rhinitis, sneezing fits, watery eyes.
The editorial staff of Premium Anti Pollution Mask offers you a dossier on allergies.
Allergy sufferers experience the following symptoms: sneezing attacks, runny nose (rhinitis), stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes, itching of the palate, nose and ears. Pollens are used to fertilize plants. A distinction is made between plants that are pollinated by insects and plants that are pollinated by the wind; it is the latter that trigger the pollen allergy.
Origins and triggers of pollen allergy (hay fever)
Pollen allergy (hay fever, pollen allergy, allergic rhinitis, seasonal rhinitis), which is often hereditary, is a reaction to one or more types of pollen. It is a reaction of the immune system to the inherently harmless proteins in pollen. Inhalation or direct contact with pollen causes the allergic person to release histamine, which leads to inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eyes and the nasal mucosa.
The three main groups that can trigger a pollen allergy are:
trees: hazelnut, alder, ash, birch, hornbeam, oak
grasses: e.g. timothy grass, cocksfoot, English ryegrass, etc.
herbs: sagebrush, ambrosia, plantain
Symptoms of a pollen allergy
Allergy sufferers experience the following symptoms: sneezing attacks, runny nose (rhinitis), stuffy nose, difficult nasal breathing, red, irritated and watery eyes (conjunctivitis), itching of the palate, nose and ears, hoarseness, irritating cough. Mucus accumulated in the paranasal sinuses can induce a feeling of pressure in the sinuses, as well as pain in the jaw and headaches. A pollen allergy left untreated for a longer period of time can develop into allergic asthma (the “floor change”).
Diagnosis and differential diagnosis
Pollen allergy rarely appears before the age of three, and the disorder usually begins at school age or later. The diagnosis is made by means of a detailed history, a skin test and a blood test. Similar symptoms may occur in the case of allergies to house dust mites or mold. The differences are mainly in the place and time of onset. Therefore, it pays to observe the symptoms carefully.
Therapy and treatment
Various medications available in nasal spray, eye drops or tablets/drops can be used to treat the symptoms of a pollen allergy. Antihistamines, corticosteroids (cortisone preparations), leukotriene antagonists and mast cell stabilizers are among the most important groups of active ingredients. You can find more information on these groups of active ingredients on the page “Treatment of Pollen Allergy”. To date, specific desensitization/immunotherapy (SIT) is the only possible causal treatment for a pollen allergy. It requires an allergological clarification by a specialist doctor. Some complementary medicine therapies can also successfully relieve symptoms. The appropriate form of therapy must be determined with the corresponding therapist.
Tips and Tricks
Data on pollen flights in USA are published in different languages under https://allyscience.ch/en/home/
To reduce disturbances during the pollen season:
During the pollen season, aerate briefly; aerate thoroughly only during rainy periods.
Vacuum daily. Use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter or a model without a certified filter.
Clean carpets and furniture regularly.
Install a pollen filter in the car and maintain it properly.
Pollen protection grids can also be used, e.g. in the bedroom.
Wash your hair in the evening to reduce the amount of pollen “carried” into bed that can disturb sleep.
Do not undress in the bedroom.
Do not dry laundry outside.
Rinse your nose morning and evening with a sea water spray or salt water solution.
Wear a pollen filter for the nose.
On windy days, when the pollen concentration is higher, it is advisable to limit your stay outdoors and wear sunglasses.
Adapt outdoor activities to the pollen season: practice indoor sports, water sports, etc.
Take into account the current pollen flights when choosing your vacation destination.
Avoid raw foods that are not tolerated in case of cross-reactions to pollen.
Avoid tobacco smoke, as the continuous irritation of the respiratory tract by smoke increases the sensitivity of the mucous membranes to pollen.
Wear an anti-pollution mask when doing sports activities to protect yourself from pollen.
Facts and figures
20% of the population in Switzerland is affected. The bloom of a single grass contains about 4 million flower pollens. Pollens from conifers do not trigger allergies. They are clearly visible as yellow dust in the spring and cause at most an irritation of the conjunctiva.