Pollen allergies

What is an allergy?

Allergy occurs as an interaction of hereditary factors and environmental influences. An allergy is an overreaction of the defense system to various environmental factors, otherwise harmless substances that we inhale, touch with the skin, inject with or eat. In repeated contact with these substances, the body's defense system becomes disrupted and reactions occur between the protein's side - the allergen and its own protein - of the antibody, with unnecessary and excessive antibody production. The antibodies responsible for the allergic reactions belong to the immunogolulin E (IgE) group. Immunoglobulins bind to acceptor molecules (receptors) on mast cells, which contain a special substance - histamine. When IgE binds to the mast cell, histamine is released, circulation and increased circulation through the blood vessels, smooth muscle contractions and the onset of symptoms occur. Allergies most commonly occur in childhood but can occur at any age.

In Croatia, it is estimated that 7-10% of the population suffers from hay fever, and 3-5% suffers from asthma.

What Causes Allergies?

Causes of Allergies - Allergens are numerous. The most common allergens include pollen, dust mites, house dust, animal hair, mold spores, food, insect poisons and UV rays. Thus, inhaled allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, house dust, animal hair, feathers, molds and the like, most commonly cause respiratory symptoms and diseases such as allergic rhinitis and asthma. Food allergens can cause digestive disorders, as well as systemic and skin reactions. Insect bites, as well as medicines and vaccines cause systemic or only skin reactions.

Allergy tendency is hereditary, so it is important to know about an allergic disease in the family, for example, in a child whose parent is an allergic parent, the risk of allergic disease is about 30%.

What is pollen?

Pollen are microscopic beads that produce plants to reproduce. Important to us is the pollen that is transmitted by the wind because it can then be inhaled and cause allergy in a sensitive population. The pollen grains are light and wind-borne and can be carried over distances of up to 100 kilometers. Most pollen, about 90%, remains at the point of release. In larger settlements and cities, due to the particular microclimatic conditions, pollen grains are most dense in the air layer up to 10 m from the ground. With favorable weather conditions, warm and dry weather (30-40% humidity), high air pressure releases large amounts of pollen.

What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of A Pollen Allergy?

A characteristic of pollen allergies is their periodic occurrence, related to the season of occurrence of a particular type of pollen in the air. The hay fever, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, is the most common form of allergy. It is an allergic upper respiratory tract disease that occurs seasonally, at a time when particles of a particular pollen are in the air. Characteristic symptoms are:

a) conjunctivitis - itching, burning and narrowing of the eyes

b) rhinitis - itching of the tip of the nose, feeling of obstruction and fullness of the nose, sneezing and copious watery discharge from the nose, and occasional disappearance of smell.

What is the difference between hay fever symptoms and a cold?

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish symptoms of seasonal allergies from common colds or viruses. Seasonal allergy (rhinitis) most often occurs at the time of year when pollen (pollen production) of various plants begins. Colds are indicated by symptoms such as fever and cough, however, they disappear spontaneously after a short period of time, unlike allergy symptoms that last much longer and usually calm down only with the use of appropriate medications.

How to identify an allergy?

if there is a diagnosis of allergy within the immediate family, there is a greater possibility of developing allergy in children;
if the symptoms occur frequently, each year for the same period of time (spring, summer, autumn) it is an allergy;
if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is probably an allergy;
allergy causes itching of the eyes and nose, while the cold does not itch;
in allergies, the mucus present in the nose and throat is watery and translucent, whereas in colds the mucus is usually thick and yellow-green;
there is no relief in allergic rhinitis after sneezing, and in infectious rhinitis, sneezing leads to relief;
Symptoms of year-round rhinitis are somewhat more difficult to recognize: they do not occur seasonally but occasionally throughout the year, regardless of flowering season, and sometimes are year-round with changes in the intensity of symptoms; the symptoms appear depending on when and with which allergen the person comes in contact (dust mites, house dust, cat or dog hair, feathers, molds ...).
Can the allergy go away on its own?

Allergen information remains forever "written down" in the body. If the body is not exposed to the allergen for an extended period of time, the antibodies may disappear. New contact with the same allergen may have a different clinical intensity, but theoretically will not disappear. Therefore, prevention is a permanent avoidance of allergens.

Where and how to test yourself?

Testing is mainly carried out by specialized institutions, ie. hospitals and clinics for the treatment of pulmonary diseases.

The term "allergic testing" means skin allergy testing in which very small amounts of standardized solutions of purified allergens are applied to or on the skin and a local allergic reaction to the skin is observed and measured.
Testing can be performed using several methods:

Intradermally, by applying allergens to the skin with a needle,
Using an allergen by scratching the skin ("scrach test"),
The prick test,
Skin contact (test for skin allergens-metals, formalin, etc.).

How to cure or alleviate an allergy?

Today's science is making tremendous efforts to find the right cure for allergies. The most common mistakes are when the patient is treated independently by taking sprays and drops without first consulting their doctor. Only when the allergy is confirmed can it be treated or alleviated.

Key parameters for successful treatment and reduction of allergic disease symptoms:

patient education
allergen avoidance
adequate drug therapy
immunotherapy (hyposensitization)
Treatment should be started on time and should last until the end of the allergen (eg, hayfever treatment should be started at least 15 days before the start of pollinating and should last until the end of pollination. It is unusually important to monitor the pollen concentration in the air - see Pollen forecast.

What are tips for people allergic to pollen?

it is necessary to examine what the person is allergic to;
follow the hay forecast
regularly take the treatment prescribed by your doctor.
during high pollen concentration that a person is allergic to in the air:
Avoid staying and exercising in the area of lush vegetation at a time of high pollen concentration in the air;
Avoid drying and ventilating outdoor clothing and bedding;
rooms in which you stay must be ventilated briefly
stay indoors and air-conditioned;
if, however, a person must remain outdoors, upon returning home, it is necessary to wash their hands, take a shower, wash their hair, and change their clothes to prevent the introduction of pollen into the apartment;
How can I find out about pollen concentrations?

In order to allow people allergic to pollen to be "prepared" for the increased concentration of pollen they are allergic to, our Department performs measurements of pollen concentration in the air. In our county, there is one haymaking device for the time being, and it is located on the roof of Medarev General Hospital.

We show the results of measurements in the colors of traffic lights - this is the so-called pollen traffic light, look at the pollen forecast. So green indicates low pollen in the air, yellow is moderate, and red is high. Symptoms of the disease at low pollen concentration in the air will be found only in people with a high pollen sensitivity, in a moderate number of allergic people, and in a high majority. Also, it should be said that the pollen concentration can also be 0 (zero), which means that the pollen in question is not in the air at all.

Concentrations of three pollen species are measured: pollen of trees, grasses and weeds. In our area, weeds, wormwood and ragweed are the most important weeds. It is interesting to say that pollen flowers have very little because the flowers are pollinated by insects. As we know, most pollen occurs in the highest amounts in the spring, while in the winter these quantities are much smaller.

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