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Pollen Allergy

Allergy

An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance (called an allergen) that causes the body’s defense system (the immune system) to overreact when defending itself.

Normally, the immune system would only react if a harmful substance, such as bacteria, attacks the body. For people with allergies, their immune systems are working too hard and react even when relatively harmless substances, such as pollen, are present. The severity of an allergic reaction can vary from mild discomfort to life threatening situations.

treeAllergies can be seasonal (worsening during certain times of the year, such as pollen allergies in the spring).  Common allergens include weed or grass pollen, dust mites, animal dander, mold, insect stings and a variety of food types, such as eggs, shellfish, nuts and grains. If you come in contact with something to which you are allergic, your immune system considers it dangerous and releases a chemical called histamine to counteract it.

The release of histamine can cause a variety of symptoms, including a skin rash, headache, sneezing, runny nose, swelling, nausea and diarrhea. The most severe reaction, known as anaphylaxis, can be life-threatening.

If the allergen is something you breathe in, your reaction will most likely affect your eyes, nose and lungs. If the allergen is something you consume, you’re more likely to have symptoms in your mouth, stomach and intestines.

Pollen

leavesA fine powdery substance, typically yellow, consisting of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower or from a male cone. Each grain contains a male gamete that can fertilize the female ovule, to which pollen is transported by the wind, insects, or other animals.

Pollen grains are released from different trees, weeds, and grasses.

Symptoms                                                                                                                                         

The symptoms of pollen allergy include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy throat or inside of ears, hives, swollen eyelids and itchy eyes, coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing.

Things which can provoke the condition

Unnecessary exposure to irritants such as dust, insect sprays, tobacco smoke, air pollution and paint as these could aggravate the pollen allergy.
Eating spicy food, use of perfumes, walking in garden and using carpets on the floor, could also worsen the condition.

How to Avoid

  • Limit your time outdoors when pollen counts are high.
  • Don’t wear your outdoor work clothes in the house; they may have pollen on them.
  • Clean and replace air conditioner filters often.
  • Use a clothes dryer rather than dry clothes outside, where they can collect pollen.
  • If you take a vacation, choose places and times of the year when pollen counts won’t be high.
  • Keep windows closed at night and use air conditioning, which cleans, cools, and dries the air.
  • Keep car windows closed when traveling.
  • Take the medications prescribed by your doctor.
  • Don’t rake leaves during pollen season.
  • Don’t hang bedding or clothing outside to dry.
  • Wear face mask
  • Use wet cloth for dusting and use vacuum cleaner instead of broom.

Who should treat pollen allergies?                                                                   

Allergists/Immunologists are experts in treating allergies and can treat your allergy or asthma symptoms.

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