In Russia, people who suffer from pollinosis symptoms do not look forward to the arrival of warm weather in the end of March-beginning of April. Pollinosis (hay fever, spring catarrh, seasonal rhinitis) is a seasonal disease triggered by hypersensitivity to pollen. In this article I will cover some of the issues involved and offer simple recommendations that will help you to live through the pollen season as comfortably as possible.
Pollens are tiny particles, which are invisible to the naked eye, but contain large amounts of allergenic proteins. They can be carried by both insects and by the wind. It is the pollen of wind-pollinated trees (alder, birch, willow etc.), which causes the most problems, as trees produce large quantities of pollen that can be carried by the wind over long distances.
Typical pollinosis symptoms are sneezing, watery nasal discharge, frequently also asthma attacks, watery eyes, unpleasant painful feelings in the mouth and throat, and sometimes swollen eyelids. Hay fever affects about 0.5-15% of the population.
All it takes is for 10-20 pollen grains to be present in a square meter of air to set off a hay fever attack. Weather conditions greatly influence pollen concentrations in the air. Generally speaking, the drier and windier the weather becomes, the more pollen there is in the air.
It is essential to consult an allergist two or three weeks before your seasonal problems usually begin so that you can be prescribed the right prophylactic drugs and receive individual recommendations. Early specific anti-allergic (desensitizing) therapy, which traditionally includes second or third generation antihistamines is also very useful. Prophylactic drugs should be taken until the end of the pollen season.
If you experience lachrymation (watery eyes), photophobia (hypersensitivity to light), a sense of âsandâ in the eyes, itching eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, then using eye drops and nasal sprays is recommended. If you have more severe reactions such as coughing, laboured respiration or swelling, do not delay making a visit to an allergist. The doctor will assess your health status and adjust your treatment.
Pollen is something that is carried in the air, so it affects you whenever you are outside, however pollen can also get into the air inside buildings fairly easily, through open windows and doors. When the pollen season arrives it is crucial to reduce contact with pollen.
The vast majority of people with hay fever have âcrossâ allergies with food products. We recommend that you maintain a diet that excludes certain foods, which can produce a similar affects on your body and thus potentially worsen your health.
One needs to remember that none of the drugs used to alleviate allergy symptoms can change the bodyâs reaction to allergens. Allergic diseases often rapidly progress: at first you may have only light manifestations and later they become more pronounced. Another feature of hay fever is that drugs that at first used to relieve symptoms quite well eventually no longer help. Furthermore, the response season may extend. For example, if at first your body reacts to pollen when concentration in the air is the highest, in the future the symptoms will bother you during the whole of the blossoming period. If you are already sensitive to one allergen, it is likely that you will also become sensitive to others.
Hay fever patients are recommended to take courses of allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) once a year (usually in winter). Today ASIT is the main treatment that may change the bodyâs response to allergens and prevent further progression of allergies. This method has been used for a long time all over the world, and has been proven to be highly effective. The patient is injected with micro doses of allergens he or she is sensitive to in gradually increasing doses, as a result his resistance to the allergens is enhanced.
Please, remember that only a personalized and integrated approach formulated together with an allergist can ensure maximum effectiveness in fighting against this disease.