Ways to deal with allergies
Spring is the time when all nature awakens to life. Trees, shrubs and other vegetation produce young leaves and start the pollen season. For allergy sufferers, this is an extremely difficult time, which drags on almost until the beginning of winter. What causes pollen allergy? How do you alleviate your symptoms?
Pollen allergy. What’s the reason?
Most plants, in order to reproduce, produce pollen, which contains male cells that bond with female cells. For this to happen, the pollen must be transported in some way. Some plant species use animals for this process, including bees or bumblebees, which collect nectar from the flowers and, by the way, transfer the pollen on their legs and abdomen to the next flower.
However, there are plants that use the wind to transport the pollen. It is thanks to them that the concentration of pollen increases rapidly in certain months, which contributes to the occurrence of pollen allergy symptoms.
Typical symptoms of inhalation allergies
Allergy to pollen is classified as an inhalation allergy. Why? The allergen, in this case pollen, enters the body via the airways. Allergy symptoms appear rapidly and often occur from early spring to early winter.
Typical symptoms of inhalation allergies are:
- allergic rhinitis – commonly referred to as hay fever – is manifested by abundant and watery nasal discharge. It is accompanied by frequent sneezing, rhinitis and unpleasant flowing down the back of the throat,
- allergic conjunctivitis – when the eyes are in contact with the allergen, redness and visible swelling appear on the eyelids. Eyes start itching and tearing heavily, and this can cause rhinitis,
- allergic asthma – contact with the allergen can lead to a sudden cough that makes breathing difficult. Frequent symptoms are dyspnea and wheezing.
These symptoms are not dangerous to health, but so annoying that they cause tiredness and weakness. In rare cases, contact with pollen may cause stomach complaints (similar to food allergies), skin symptoms (urticaria, redness, swelling) and increased body temperature. If we observe similar ailments, we should visit an allergologist – an allergy specialist.
Which plants are allergic?
Pollination of plants starts in spring and, in favourable weather conditions, even in February and lasts until the end of November. The first ones start pollinating trees – hazel and alder (alder). At the same time, spores of the microscopic fungi Cladosporium and Alternaria appear in the air and persist until the end of autumn.
In the following months, pollen starts to be pollinated by other trees (birch, poplar, ash, oak), but the biggest nuisance for allergy sufferers is the pollen of grass and weeds. The beginning of the pollen season falls in May and lasts until the end of September. An allergy to grass pollen and weeds is a nuisance that cannot be avoided. These plants are not only found in meadows and forest areas, but also in city centres and suburbs.
How to deal with an allergy
A pollen allergy can be very troublesome. Few people are able to work efficiently with their eyes ached, their nose permanently clogged, sneezing and coughing every now and then. With such ailments it is best to go to an allergologist, who will determine which allergen is responsible for the reaction of our body and will coordinate appropriate treatment such as desensitization.
With mild symptoms of pollen allergy we can deal with on our own, with the means available in the pharmacy. So-called antihistamines, which are designed to reduce histamine secretion, will help. This substance is responsible for allergy symptoms. Reducing its secretion should bring about a significant improvement and alleviation of the nuisance symptoms.
In the case of hay fever, the solution is antiallergenic drops, which irritate the nose, reduce mucosal congestion and reduce the production of nasal secretion. If you are suffering from conjunctivitis, it is worthwhile to reach for anti-allergenic nasal drops. Not only will they relieve itching and burning of the conjunctivitis, but above all, they will rinse out the allergen that is harmful to us.
How else can you fight your allergy symptoms?
By following certain rules during an intensive pollen season, we can significantly reduce contact with allergens and thus avoid unpleasant allergy symptoms. How to do this?
- In times of increased pollination, let’s avoid places where pollinating trees and plants are the most pollinating.
- Plan to ventilate the apartment in the evening, with more pollen in the air during the day.
- During the day there is more pollen in the air. Walking outside the house is best done in the morning and evening, and also after it rains.
- When we come back from the walk, take a quick shower to remove the pollen that has settled on our skin. Clothes are best thrown into the laundry.
- Remember to clean the apartment regularly to get rid of accumulated pollen and other allergens (dust, mites, animal hair).
- When driving a car it is better not to open windows and use air conditioning. However, you should remember to service and clean it regularly.