Patient's Complete Guide to Pollen Allergy

Overview of Pollen Allergy

Pollen allergy also known as  (جرگ کی الرجی / jirgh ki allergy). Pollen is a vital part of a plant and it can cause allergic symptoms to some people. Not everyone is allergic to pollen.

An allergic reaction stimulates inside the body when some people inhale it during the growing season of plants. It is also termed as Seasonal Allergies or sometimes called Hay fever.

Prevalence of Pollen Allergy

According to the study which was conducted on the Pakistani population in 2018 revealed that the prevalence of inhalant allergens due to pollen is 20.3%. From which about  19.36% suffered from allergic asthma.

Signs and Symptoms of Pollen Allergy

Some of the common symptoms of the pollen allergy are as follows:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Sinus pressure( may cause facial pain)
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Cough
  • Swollen, bluish-coloured skin beneath the eyes
  • Reduced sense of taste or smell
  • Stimulates asthmatic reactions

Types of Pollen Allergy

Numerous plant species can release pollen into the air that can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Depending upon the various types of allergens, here are some of the common types of pollen allergy.

  • Birch Pollen Allergy

Birch pollen is the airborne allergen. As the budding process of the trees takes place, it will release the tiny grains of pollen into the air. People having this allergy would inhale birch pollen and end up having an allergic reaction to it.

About 5 million pollen grains can be produced from a single birch tree. It can travel across up to 100 yards from the parent tree.

  • Oak Pollen Allergy

Oak trees also release pollen into the air during the spring season like a birch pollen allergy. It shows mild allergic symptoms as compared to other trees. Its duration of stay is longer than others that's why it causes severe allergic reactions in some people.

  • Grass Pollen Allergy

In summer months, grass acts as a primary stimulator of pollen allergies. It causes severe symptoms that are difficult to treat. Allergy shots and tablets can be a highly effective treatment of grass pollen allergy.

  • Ragweed Pollen Allergy

Ragweed plants are the weed pollen which is considered as the main target of allergies among all. They are actively spread by the air between the late spring and fall months. Sometimes it depends on the location of ragweed, however, its pollen may spread in the last week of July to the middle of October. The wind-driven pollen of ragweed can move hundreds of miles and survive through a mild winter.

 

Causes of Pollen Allergy

As you know, it is an allergy caused by pollen. That pollen can be the part of any plant i.e. ragweed, grasses, and oak trees, etc. They are light enough to travel all over the air. Thus, these plants grow and reproduce on their own. 

A large number of Pakistanis are allergic to pollen. Some people are allergic to tree pollen in spring. Others have a grass or weed pollen allergy, which is in summer or autumn respectively. 

Risk Factors of Pollen Allergy

You are more prone to an allergy if you have:

  • Someone from your family history with asthma or allergies
  • The risk of pollen allergy increases with age 
  • Unsafe intercourse

Health Complications of Pollen Allergy 

Following are the health complication caused by Pollen Allergy:

Asthma – People with allergies are more prone to asthma.

Infections – You are at risk of developing ears and lungs.

Anaphylaxis – Having severe allergies means that you have chances of a serious allergy-induced reaction.

Prevention

Prevention is as important as treatment is, so avoid the allergen as possible. However, It's difficult to minimize exposure to pollen but a person can try it through these ways:

  • Staying inside on dry or windy days.
  • During peak seasons of pollen allergy, avoid going to gardens or yards.
  • Wear a mask when going outside.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are closing when pollen is high in the air.

Diagnosis

A general physician can initially diagnose the pollen allergy by taking a complete history of the patients and asking about the time and duration of symptoms.

After evaluation, a general physician may recommend the allergy skin test to determine the specific allergen. During this procedure, a doctor will prick on the different regions of skin then put a small number of various types of allergens into it. This stimulates the allergic reactions to any of the substances that are inserted and cause redness, swelling, and itchiness within 15 to 20 minutes.

Treatment of Pollen Allergy | When to Consult a Doctor

Once your pollen allergy has been diagnosed, there are few means to treat the pollen allergies spending upon the severity of your condition.

  • Home Remedies

By opting for the best home remedies, you can reduce pollen allergy symptoms. Here is how you can do it:

  • Using a squeeze bottle to remove the pollen from the nose.
  • Use herbs and extracts, such as PA-free butterbur or spirulina.
  • Wash and remove all the clothes after coming back from the outside. 
  • Drying clothes in a dryer instead of the outside clothing line.
  • Using an air conditioner in cars and homes.
  • Place a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or dehumidifier to clean the air regularly.
  • Medications

If the individuals are experiencing the symptoms then they can take medications with a doctor's consultation that includes: 

  • Antihistamines: It helps to relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose, and watery eyes such as:
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec) 
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Decongestants: It opens up the nasal passage that is:
  • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) 
  • Oxymetazoline (Afrin nasal spray)

A combination of antihistamine and decongestants are also used such as:

  • Actifed (triprolidine and pseudoephedrine) 
  • Claritin-D (loratadine and pseudoephedrine)
  • Allergy Shots

If a person is not treated properly from the medications then allergy shots are also recommended.

It is an immunotherapy process in which a range of injections of allergens is used for the patients. The quantity of allergens is gradually increased over time. These shots are very effective to boost up the immune system's response to the allergen. This therapy will give complete relief within one or three years.

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